Monday, March 29, 2010

Urbanisation is unstoppable

This is the Urban Age.

This ...

The newly released UN report "State of the World's Cities 2008/2009: Harmonious Cities". Its preamble: "Half of humanity now lives in cities, and within two decades, nearly 60% of the world's people will be urban dwellers. Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month. As cities grow in size and population, harmony among the spatial, social and environmental aspects of a city and between their inhabitants becomes of paramount importance. This harmony hinges on two key pillars: equity and sustainability"

leads to this ...

Justin McQuirk's design focused blog in The Guardian outlining the role that designers must play in creating livable urban spaces. He writes, "By 2050, three quarters of us are expected to be urbanites. But here's the scary part: most of this growth is happening in places where millions of people already live in slums: Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi, Shanghai, São Paolo, Kinshasa: these are the fastest-growing cities in the world, most of them destined to have populations of more than 20 million by 2025". In additional already large cities will over-run each other, becoming 'mega-regions'. Some of these will swell across national borders. The endless city.

leads to this ...

Meanwhile, an article by Simon Romero for the NYTimes draws us back to the scene of a large-scale urban crisis: the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. He describes the chasm between wealth and absolute poverty that has been exacerbated since the earthquake. He writes of the "surreal contrasts along the streets above Port-au-Prince's central districts. People in tent camps reeking of sewage are living in areas where prosperous Haitians, foreign aid workers and diplomats cone to spend their money and unwind. Often, just a gate and a private guard armed with a 12-gauge shotgun separate the newly homeless from establishments like Les Galeries Rivoli, a boutique where wealthy Haitians and foreigners shop for Raymond Weil watches and Izod shirts".

Equity and sustainability?

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