Too many cities face increasing traffic and pollution due to urban sprawl, which demands the use of vehicles and reduces the amount of public space that generates social cohesion. In turn, pollution reduces health and quality of life, people feel isolated and neglected areas are under developed and fail to reach their full utility.
Some say build up instead of out, while others promote the wide spread use of public transit. However, there is no one size fits all to urban planning. Context is critical, as always.
Urban designers face more challenges then ever, with globalization introducing an array of complex problems derived from social, political, economic and environmental issues. To tackle such a pickle, an interdisciplinary team that can consider all elements and perspectives.
Sure, there is no shortage of obstacles. However, this provides an opportunity to embrace new and innovative methods that incorporate community culture and context and veer from outdated industrial designs that focus on vehicles rather than people.
It is time for a bottom-up approach to urban planning instead of a universal, hierarchical process which oppresses historical influences, critical for ensuring cities have character. Concrete jungles filled of tall glass buildings that isolate workers and mitigates human interaction, perpetuates stress, burnout and depression. Additionally, in the long-run, it can be argued that this facilitates high levels of ethnic and class segregation, which fosters divisive and conflict prone cities.
Thankfully, incredible organizations like C40 are implementing creative and participatory projects that incorporate international and regional elements. More specifically, their reinventing cities program invites idealistic development specialists from all over the world to revive particular sites in 45 cities around the globe!
Opportunities like this allow individuals who embody community values to collaborate with likeminded specialists around the world to formulate environmentally friendly plans that propogate an array of social benefits! Furthermore, this breaks away from purely state efforts which can often have an agenda that differs from many demographics in civil society. However, small scale inititaves like Reinventing Cities, encourage a collaborative, cross-cultural approach that has potential to result in multi-use spaces that all community members can enjoy!
For more information, please see https://www.c40reinventingcities.org/en/sites/