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Urbanism and future cities - Dec 2


Report calls for radical redesign of cities to cope with population growth

Alok Jha, The Guardian
Megacities on the Move report says authorities must start planning their transport infrastructure now for a future when two thirds of the world's population will live in cities

Moving away from car ownership, using real-time traffic information to help plan journeys and having more virtual meetings will be vital to prevent the megacities of the future from becoming dysfunctional and unpleasant places to live, according to a study by the environmental think tank Forum for the Future.

The report argues that authorities must begin to plan now in order to create easier and more sustainable ways of accessing goods and services in the world's ever-growing cities. Citizens must also be encouraged to change their behaviour to keep cities liveable.

By 2040, the world's urban population is expected to have grown from 3.5bn to 5.6bn. The new report calls for a radical re-engineering of cities' infrastructure to cope. "The future is going to look pretty urban ... with more and more people shifting to cities to the point that, by 2040, we're going to have two thirds of all the people in the world living in cities," said Ivana Gazibara, senior strategic adviser at Forum for the Future and an author of the report, Megacities on the Move.

"If we go on with business as usual, what happens is unmanageable levels of congestion because personal car ownership has proliferated," she said. "Cities could be a pretty nasty place to live for the two-thirds of the global population in the next 30 years if we don't act on things like climate change mitigation and adaptation, smarter use of resources and sorting out big systemic things like urban mobility."

...The report also highlights examples of good practice that are already in use. Vancouver, for example, has recognised that many of its inhabitants will use several modes of transport in one journey, so city planners have widened pedestrian crossings, built more cycle lanes and provided cycle racks on buses.

For the future, Gazibara pointed to innovative car-sharing schemes such as the CityCar concept, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with "stackable" electric cars lined up near transport hubs. These could be rented out for short journeys within city limits. They could also store power at night, when renewable sources might be generating electricity that would otherwise have to be dumped.
(3 December 2010)
The report can be found here.



Part 5: White Horse Village turns into a modern city
(video)
BBC World News America
China's eye-popping growth has become the envy of the world and nowhere is this march to modernity more evident than in White Horse village.

Over the past few years, the BBC has been tracking the community's transformation into a modern city. Carrie Gracie returns to see how residents' lives have changed and the high price some have been forced to pay...
(1 Dec 2010)
The article links to all the previous videos in this city


Russia considers biggest population redistribution since Stalin

Andrew Osborn, The Telegraph
Under the plans, which were leaked to the daily Vedomosti newspaper, the majority of Russia's 141 million-strong population would be concentrated in just twenty urban centres rather than sparsely spread out over one fifth of the earth's surface as is now the case.

At the moment, ninety per cent of Russia's towns are relatively small with a population of 100,000 people or less, many of them in remote locations. The leaked plan said such places had "no future" and were not worth developing.

Instead, it proposed relocating people to twenty giant agglomerations where Russia's main natural resources such as oil and gas were located.

..."There is no need to fight against the current and we need to develop big cities and urban centres," the plan said according to the newspaper.
(16 November 2010)

Editorial Notes: Photo credit: flickr/stuck in customs There is a great variety of opinion on whether mega- (or even regular-sized) cities are "sustainable" in a resource-constrained future. We published a post on this a while back, and Steph Bradley muses about the "transitionness" of large cities here. -KS

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