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?
Around 8 million live in Afghanistan's cities today, but that number is expected to double by 2030.Yet, like many other rapidly urbanising countries, it has no national urban policy, no housing policy, and local planning is weak.
World Town Planning Day (8 November) was celebrated in Kabul by a national urban conference addressed by the President.
Here is a "Diary" article that I wrote inspired by my participation in the second Habitat UN summit in 1996, when I was there representing RTPI as President.
A new publication that can be downloaded for free sets guidelines for how to plan and manage metropolitan development.
I have referred to Chinese urbanisation several times in these blogs, but make no apologies for returning to the topic. What is happening in China should be of interest to planners, urbanists, environmentalists and economic development professionals everywhere. In part this is because of the sheer scale of the changes – a rural to urban shift on steroids!
The Foreign Ministers of the 28 European Union countries have called on Israel “to halt plans for forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure” in the village of Susiya in the West Bank. Eleven members of the US Congress have also written to Secretary of State John Kerry about the plight of the village.
I would like to award the prize for the best contribution to environmental sustainability for 2012 to Hurricane Sandy. Sandy single-handedly managed to convert more American citizens to the threats posed by climate change than any number of scientists, scientific publications or politicians. By dumping extreme weather on the US eastern seaboard, massively disrupting transport and business, and above all by providing great TV pictures, it made a strong case in many different ways.
Public spaces are integral to healthy and prosperous cities. This was the theme of a major conference last week in the run-up to next year's Habitat III global summit. Place-making needs to be seen as contributing to the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals.