Issue 24: The Future of Cities

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In This Issue

Message from the Executive Director

Building Partnerships

As we design for the future of our cities, we have the opportunity to rejuvenate, reinvent and reimagine our well-worn urban planning paradigms.

For one, the growth of cities must be in harmony with nature, if we are to tackle climate change and for our cities to remain liveable..

Climate change will impact vulnerable groups disproportionately, thus exacerbating economic inequalities, to the detriment of social cohesion. In an interview for this edition of Urban Solutions, Claudio Orrego, Governor of Santiago, draws attention to how the poorest communities are most at risk of extreme heat stress, and emphasises that the benefits of smart city projects must be equitably shared.

Bambang Susantono details the approaches adopted by the Nusantara Capital Authority, in planning for Indonesia’s new capital. By embracing nature-based solutions, his team hopes that Nusantara will coexist with Mother Nature, while offering residents a pleasant living environment.

Secondly, the future of our cities lies in collaborative partnerships and data-driven transformations.

In the downtowns of Chicago and Los Angeles, Kenya Merritt and Richard Green sketch a future of urban planning that is consultative and achieves a high degree of citizen engagement.

Across the Atlantic, the Helsinki Energy Challenge brought together the brightest minds from around the globe, to design future-ready heating solutions. Carlo Ratti shares his experience designing Helsinki’s Hot Heart—a floating thermal basin that generates enough renewable energy to keep visitors warm and provide surplus energy to the City of Helsinki’s electricity grid.

Underpinning these extensive public consultations and crowdsourcing of ideas is technology. Yang Jung-Won shares how the data collected from pilot tests at the Busan Eco Delta Smart Village helped assess the viability of scaling up new technologies to other parts of the country.

Finally, cities can temper the potential disruptions of rapid technological advancement by being people-centred and retaining a sense of heritage.

Marcos Neto reminds us that technology is merely a means to improve human lives. Neto shares how the UNDP developed the Con Vos initiative in Argentina and helped to foster digital inclusion.

As Barcelona rapidly modernises its BlueTech Port, Javier Salsas recounts how it helps residents maintain an intimate sense of place and connection, by reaffirming the area’s rich maritime heritage.

The future can at times seem unpredictable and even intimidating, but it is my hope that this edition of Urban Solutions will stir your imagination and offer ideas as to how we can best harness the potential of technology, while mitigating against unintended consequences.

Reimagining a better future is both an act of faith and a commitment to seeing that the best days of our cities still lie ahead.

Hugh Lim
Executive Director
Centre for Liveable Cities


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