Shrinking cities are a focus of growing concern. Globalisation has increased the vulnerability of cities to sudden adverse changes in their economic base. Austerity policies augment the problems. Loss of a key economic activity, can be followed by net out-migration of economically active age groups, falling tax revenues, an aging population but declining public services, “excessive” infrastructure that is expensive to maintain, empty property and gap sites. What strategies are being pursued in different parts of the world to address these challenges?
My article in January 2000 looked back and gazed into the future. How well did I do in anticipating change in British cities, planning and higher education?
Guest blogger, the distinguished Hungarian researcher and consultant, Iván Tosics, reflects on radical alternatives to address today's urban challenges.
A simple grid plan for urban extensions should be the basis for managing rapid urbanisation says a new UN-Habitat report.
China's slowing growth and rising debts have sent tremors through global markets. Urbanisation has been integral to the near double digit annual growth over recent years, so what does the slow down mean for regional and local development within China, and in particular for the local authorities?
A project that has resettled slum dwellers and given them security of tenure is being hailed as a model to be followed in the Indian sub-continent.
Mumbai has been a powerful driver of economic growth in India over the past couple of decades. It is a mega-city with an estimated population of over 20 million. Much of the growth has taken place despite rather than because of planning. A spate of building collapses in recent weeks has prompted new debates about how to regulate development in this boom town. Provision of affordable housing has not kept pace with housing need, resulting in illegal housing development on a massive scale. However, it is not only houses that are falling down. People are risking their lives in poorly constructed workplaces as they try to earn a living.
This piece was first published in Planning 21 July 1989 and is reproduced by kind permission of Haymarket Publications. Because it ran over 2 pages it has to be reproduced here as two separate items
The "Diary" tells of a week spent in meetings with planners in what was then Czechoslovakia. It was written just a few months before the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 which swept away the communist regime. The diary provides a first hand account of the tribulations of day to day life at the time which undermined the regime. It also shows how planners were working in the strange period of reform under perestroika led by Gorbachov and pressed on a reluctant Czechoslovak administration.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 17 July 2012.
The next generation is going to witness a staggering amount of new urban development as the world’s economic centre of gravity shifts towards Asia. Cities in both developed and rapidly urbanising countries need professional planning if they are to prosper. Companies serving consumer markets should grasp the significance of the growing urban middle class and its diversity. Urban analysis is increasingly necessary for business success. These are the main messages from a dramatic new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).
Věra Chytilová's film Panelstory is essential viewing for planners and housing professionals. Made in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1979, it shows residents (not) adjusting to life in a new high rise estate. While the prefabricated panels are swung by huge cranes through space against a blue sky, on the ground women struggle to push prams and buggies through the mud on their way to join the queue at the clinic.