What it's about:
The recent rise of populist politics around the world has led Kris Hartley, a planning academic at Cornell University, to conclude that people's resistance to top-down political interventions is a trend that can also be translated to the sphere of urban planning.
Hartley argues that urban planning risks excluding the individual citizen and becoming dominated by politics and technocracy. Instead, he calls for city planners to ensure that urban growth is democratic, serves the public good and avoids capture by elite interests.
Hartley finds that although modern technological advances have created “smart cities” able to centrally measure and manage issues such as traffic, land development and energy consumption, cities should still be careful not to de-humanise planning and create social pushback.
Why it's noteworthy:
As 75 percent of the world's population is due to live in cities by 2050, how we organise and plan our urban environments is critical.
Although there is an increasing emphasis on environmental sustainability, community feedback and engagement should also be taken into account by urban planners and policymakers.
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