Many cities are fighting a losing battle against the ravages of nature, but is it possible to identify the world’s most vulnerable metropolis? Natural events are notoriously hard to predict – but the prospects for Malé do look particularly grim. For even if its new sea wall continues to be effective, the islands around the Maldives capital are going to disappear before too long. And if they disappear, so does Malé’s raison d’etre.
READ MORE HERE
With thanks to the Panorama of the Thames Project
An excellent 15 minute radio lecture concerning the impact of a rapid growth of high-rise luxury housing in cities, with London as an example.
Four Thought – Saving the Skyline
Coastal cities like Shanghai, Mumbai and New York have traditionally been centers not only of trade but also of commerce, culture, and wealth. They monopolize infrastructure investment and media attention, and occupy the longings of aspirational youth seeking stimulation and opportunity.
The world’s opportunistic inland cities are happy to take the development pressure off troubled coastal cities, and in the past two decades many have done so with the gusto of global ambition.
READ MORE HERE: China’s Inland Cities
When we think of urban expansion in the 21st century, we often think of ‘sprawl’, a term that calls to mind low-density, car-oriented suburban growth, perhaps made up of single-family homes.
Past studies have suggested that historically, cities around the world are becoming less dense as they grow, which has prompted worries about the environmental impacts of excess land consumption and automobile dependency.
A widely cited rule of thumb is that as the population of a city doubles, its built area triples. But our new study on urban expansion in East Asia has yielded some surprising findings that are making us rethink this assumption of declining urban densities everywhere.
Read this interesting article from Sustainable Cities and link to the full report HERE
Developers have submitted detailed plans for a 21st century garden city in north west Cardiff which they say will deliver the homes and community the capital needs, help fuel economic growth and be a ‘model for sustainable living’.
Plasdŵr is the £2 billion development planned for north west Cardiff comprising around 7000 new homes plus shops, offices, schools, health centres, leisure centres, pubs and restaurants. It promises “world-class, sustainable, contemporary community living in a country park setting”.
The plan for Plasdŵr takes its inspiration from the enduring garden city movement, founded on the principles of “fresh air, sunlight, breathing room and playing room”.
According to developer, Wales-based Redrow Homes, it incorporates the ‘successful elements of the garden city movement and existing areas of Cardiff such as Pontcanna and Rhiwbina. Characterised by plentiful green spaces with four distinct centres, Plasdŵr will be set within 900 acres of open countryside bordering the existing communities of Fairwater, St Fagans, Danescourt and Radyr.
The proposed development underpins the local authority’s Local Development Plan (LDP) which identifies residential development in north west Cardiff as key to the city’s economic growth. The LDP has been approved by the Council and is currently being considered by an independent planning inspector on behalf of Welsh Government, with a decision expected in October 2015. If both the LDP and the Plasdŵr plans are approved, work is likely to begin at the beginning of 2016 and will last up to 20 years.
Read More HERE
The environments in which we live, work and spend leisure time – both the physical nature of places and the social environment of communities – have a large impact on our health and wellbeing. The RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) have produced an interesting report on this topic.
Promoting Healthy Cities summarises planning and health challenges and provides examples of where planners, other professionals and decision-makers are leading responses to these health challenges.
In the twenty-first century, we need to develop a new urban agenda focused on healthy placemaking for all. Planning in the broadest sense – from development management and infrastructure to the location of health and community services – can play a central role in creating environments that enhance people’s health and wellbeing.
We need to develop more integrated strategies for healthy placemaking, gather greater intelligence on the social and economic determinants of urban health to guide decisions and investments, reform and strengthen institutions to develop systems of governance that urban populations need, and involve more professions and communities to promote healthy cities.
A copy of the Report can be downloaded HERE rtpi_promoting_healthy_cities
Abu Dhabi’s $18 billion experiment in high-tech, low-resource living–was designed to be the world’s first large-scale carbon-neutral development. In 2012, we wrote: “So far, there are a number of finished buildings, including restaurants, a library, retail outlets, and a handful of structures at the onsite Masdar Institute, a graduate institute focused on sustainability, science, and alternative energy. This is only the start.” Julien Eymeri went recently, and found a much different story. Read his account and see his eerie video of an empty city.
READ MORE HERE
British planning experts are heading to China to advise on building cities that do not wreck the environment.
They will address mayors on the need to avoid Los Angeles-style sprawl by building dense cities with low-carbon buildings and good public transport.
Their visit follows a report warning that the road-based US model could make climate change impossible to contain.
Europe’s densely-populated cities, with strong public transport links, are held up as an example for China to follow.
The report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate said more than two billion extra people were expected in cities in the coming decades.
READ MORE HERE
In September 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim launched the Low Carbon, Livable Cities (LC2) initiative at the Clinton Global Forum in New York City. Here we are, a full year later, with the UN Climate Summit upon us, and it’s clear that the Bank’s efforts are bearing fruit, strongly influencing or linking neatly with efforts being announced today.
READ MORE HERE