Urban planning and cities of the future
Urban planning is a concept that has revolutionized the constitution of cities since the industrial age and World War II. Today it defines the organization, planning and structuring of cities. It is also increasingly aligned with the environmental, social and economic well-being of the inhabitants. What is all about?
According to Britannica, urban planning refers to the design and regulation of the uses of space that focus on the physical form, economic functions, and social impacts of the urban environment and on the location of different activities within it. Likewise, urban planning is understood as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
According to National Geographic, urban planning began to be considered in the 19th century, in London. A city on the rise and in a difficult stage, with the story of Jack the Ripper. Ebenezer Howard, a transcriber and inventor in the midst of misery, developed his ideas of how humanity should live.
In them the remoteness of the metropolis with happiness is mentioned, as well as the concept of self-sufficient garden cities as the ideal to inhabit. Some ideas were rescued half a century later by Lewis Mimford, critic of architecture and pioneer in urban planning. Critics’ opinion of history has ranged since then, considering cities from a cancerous metropolis to a promise to lift their citizens out of poverty.
Urban planning and economic development
Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard, indicated in his most influential books, such as The Triumph of Cities: “there is no urbanized country that is poor, and no rural country that is rich”. The Harvard economist also believed that the lack of space for people reduces the cost of transportation in cities and increases the benefit of being smart.
Urban planning and environmental impact
In the last two decades, the environmental impact of cities has been considered, and the idea of transforming them into cities with low environmental impact has been reinforced. The United Nations has been in charge of monitoring it, as well as promoting the practices of cities around the world that provide shelter for their inhabitants in a sustainable way, while offering them job and business opportunities, social balance and environmental quality.
According to the ranking of the most sustainable cities in the world published by El País, the first three positions are taken by London, Stockholm and Edinburgh. Sustainable infrastructure, air quality, green spaces and citizens as the center of the economy, are the predominant characteristics in the three cities. At the same time, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires are mentioned as cities that face great challenges to direct growth around citizens and control high pollution.
Urban planning in Colombia
Architecture and urban planning have been a key pillar for Medellín, positioning this city as an example of urban planning in our country and the world. The magazine Axxis, specialized in architecture and design, recognizes the city and its achievements as social urbanism, where education, mobility, culture and the citizen encounter play a fundamental role.
The public space, the landscaping, the pedestrian traffic systems and cycle routes, today prevail over the highways. It is all about adapting the city to the needs and calls of the present, in favor of social, economic and environmental well-being.
How far do we have to go?
Technology and science continue to advance as expertise grows significantly. Every time we will find more clues in the efforts that must be taken, always putting the social and economic well-being of a community at the center, as well as the environmental footprint that we leave on our planet. It is our task to align and adapt to a collective need, as well as carefully review our contribution to the community and the world.