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.
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.
Governing common shared resources such as water supplies relies on layers of resource management. Each level of management has different roles and responsibilities, from neighborhoods and cities through to regional, state, national and international governance. Currently, the way many cities approach water quality is inefficient because resource management is not regional. Water agencies ignore problems upstream, where water quality problems start. Applying funds to upstream problems is a marketing decision related to how we price our social goods. Fixing those upstream problems reduces costs downstream for water treatment.
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?
Pricing and payments are core aspects of marketing a product or service. For public and social sector marketers, pricing isn’t always straightforward. Often the buyer isn’t the user, and the goal isn’t about making more money or beating the competition. Putting a price on open space such as watersheds and parks is hard. It’s tough to determine a cost or value, let alone identify a buyer.
In the island paradise of Seychelles, marketers are collaborating to find a better way to price and pay for both existing national debts and new investments in commons with current funds.
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.
Here is an interesting notion for governing the commons–give natural areas the same legal standing as people.
New Zealand has converted Te Urewera from a national park to a person. Under the Te Urewera Act of 2014, the region is now recognized “a legal entity, and has all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person.”
New Zealand took this step to settle legal claims by the native Tuhoe for whom Te Urewera is their ancestral land and a living entity unto itself.
In his new book Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, noted biologist E.O. Wilson outlines the possibility and benefits of setting aside half of Earth for nature. Specifically, not for people. How can we create, manage and maintain commons on this scale?
Want to buy your local radio station? A bunch on them may be for sale soon, and cheap.