What has to happen to make a good city? Or a great one?
How can we urbanise while maintaining harmony – socially, economically and environmentally?
How do we balance short- term needs with long-term demands?
How do we ensure that we can go on building cities, while retaining a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren?
As we enter the first urban century, we start to realise that today‘s cities are not sustainable, no matter from which side we look at them. Cities, seen as physical expressions of urban systems, consist of people, buildings, infrastructure, and moving parts
and they need to transform towards liveability, sustainability and resilience. More than half the world lives in cities, and that figure is likely to increase to 60 percent by 2030, adding 1.4 billion more people than today. Cities are where the future is and urban environments need to evolve to match human aspirations.
The Future city will not be designed and built based on hierarchies, formalisms, or mathematics, but will originate from a dynamic system including global relations and local force fields. The cities of the future will differ from each other much more than those of the present, because they emerge in a globally networked consciousness and with having the knowledge of the importance of sustainability. At the beginning of the 21st century, the majority of the fastest- growing cities are in Asia and Africa. In the very near future, the majority of the population in the world will not only be housed in cities, but in Asian and African cities.
Asia & Africa
While in Africa and Asia a majority of the population still lives in the non-urbanised countryside, the urban population is growing much faster, through higher birth rates and internal migration, and is expected to exceed the rural population by 2050. Thus, the urban framework of living will dominate the coming centuries.
Indian PM, Mr Modi has spoken about 100 smart cities to be created in India and In China, the government has made ecocities part of its newest five-year plan
Dubai has created the infrastructure to make itself the world’s largest port, as well as an international business and tourist center. Entire new cities such as Masdar, Abu Dhabi and Energy City Qatar are being built with explicit sustainability goals.
USA & Europe
While the development in Europe and the United States is stagnating, the cities north and south of the equator are expanding as rapidly as European and North American cities did 150 years ago. Yet since then, the world‘s population has grown by a factor of 6, and the global networking amongst the urban centres has increased significantly.
The US Green Building Council has started a program, based on its successful Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for individual buildings, to evaluate the concept of sustainable neighborhoods. Known as LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), it is the first system of its kind; according to the council, the idea is to integrate the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building.
In June 2014, the Clinton Global Initiative and EcoDistricts began the Target Cities program. The idea is to revitalize neighborhoods in eight North American cities (Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Cambridge, MA; Denver; Los Angeles; Ottawa; and Washington, DC) and in the process to create models from which other communities can learn.
There are 3 integrated scales for us to consider:
Small – building and building technology;
Medium – neighbourhood and city;
Large –hinterland and territory.
Decisive parameters include: water, material, energy, design, capital, landscape, density and information.
Cities are essential to global economic growth and productivity. They are where most of the world’s population live, work, and play, and they are important to everyone else, too. They are the world’s economic engine, consuming the majority of global power and resources, while generating 80 percent of GDP and 70 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions. Making cities great is the critical infrastructure challenge of this century.