Earth already has a majority urban population. According to urban planner Peter Calthorpe, by 2050 our planet’s urban population will double. That means providing social goods and services to billions more city dwellers. How we accommodate that urban growth will say a lot about who we are and want to be. We can choose to design cities that fight climate change, instead of encouraging it.
As U.S. cities grow more gridlocked and Millennials adopt mobility services like Uber out of desperation, transit becomes a crucial social good. Without the ability to easily move people and goods, cities become paralyzed. We need a way of designing better transportation systems.
According to Credit Suisse, up to one-quarter of U.S. malls will close by 2022. During the past 60 years, malls served as a major public commons in the U.S. The design and stewardship of commons is a crucial component of public-sector marketing. Redesigning failed shopping malls could be an huge public-sector opportunity.
Light pollution at night is a growing urban problem. Most of us city dwellers can no longer see the stars at night, and this will only become worse as we become more urban. Dark skies at night is a common pooled resource that we can reclaim when we reduce light pollution though proper governance of the commons.
What, you may be asking, are dark skies good for?
From more than 60 years of experience and research concerning car-dependent suburbs, we now know that these environments create people and lifestyles with less social interaction: less civic volunteering, less participation in recreational team sports, even less voting. We’re uniquely social animals, wired to cooperate and interact with large numbers of our fellows in novel and unpredictable ways.
With urbanization, more of us are living in city environments, but this isn’t an automatic answer to the suburban blues. Living in a downtown residential tower can be just as isolating as the suburbs. How do we build denser places while also designing a happy, social city?
According to the United Nations, a majority of the world’s population now resides in urban areas. The trend towards urbanization shows no signs of slowing, either. By 2050, two-thirds of the planet’s population will be urban. Urban areas are organically connecting into megaregions that don’t always respect existing political or natural boundaries. Marketing in urban areas and megaregions demands that social and public sector marketers think in new ways about their markets.
Wired published an article at the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics showing how some of the games’ venues would be recycled once the competition ended. Parts of the aquatics venue (above) will be used to create two public pools. The beachside volleyball stadium will become four elementary schools.
I like this design concept. It reminds me of other innovations in public infrastructure, such as prefab bridges that cut both costs and construction times. But will Rio actually follow through on the promise?
Sidewalks are infrastructure and infrastructure is a reflection of our social nature. Sidewalks are, or can be, important public spaces. They might, or could, be the public space with which we’re most familiar. Sidewalks build community and promote the healthy lifestyle and walkable neighborhoods that many people say they want.
Consider what happens on sidewalks: chalk drawings, tricycle rides, dog walks, hopscotch, jump rope, lemonade stands, neighborhood conversations, holding hands.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently called for $100 million in the city’s 2016 budget to help change the homeless crisis in his city. At this point, this is just a budget proposal so it’s hard to know exactly this money, if eventually appropriated, would be spent.