Urban Development. Urban World. Thoughts…
Much has happened in the last fifty years. The number of people on our planet is rising. But the distribution of people is changing. Almost half our entire human race now lives in cities.
Larger Cities. More People.
Urban Growth in Africa and Asia.
Looking at the global developments up to the year 2030 it becomes clear that most city dwellers will live in Africa and Asia.
In the coming years the three countries India, China and Nigeria alone will each see one billion people moving to their cities.
Comprehensive building projects will be necessary. To create living space. To create working space. To build leisure facilities. To improve mobility.
The rapid spread of urbanisation coupled with global population growth presents the entire human race with challenges, tasks and decisions.
At the same time, these challenges open up unique opportunities for us to develop smart and sustainable solutions that improve all our lives.
It is now the time for us to take up these opportunities. For our children. For our grand-children.
New Housing. New Living.
For instance, I passed by this wonderful example (see above) on the way back through the Dohány Utca to my hotel in Budapest. I ask myself…
“How is it possible that today we often commission architects to build soulless and badly insulated mass housing that often hardly lasts a generation?”
“In future how can we make the processes of our building more affordable and, at the same time, create beautiful, lasting and energy-saving houses?”
“As ‘citizens’ shouldn’t we have a say in which buildings go up in ‘our street or area’?
Some of us would be sure to welcome this.”
New Perspectives. New Opportunities.
For a long time now cities have offered opportunities for sport, recreation and leisure.
Public sports facilities, skating rinks, swimming pools, playgrounds, cycle paths and parks are omnipresent in most cities.
Many of the new urban projects also demonstrate how incredibly creative they are.
For instance, in Toronto a 1.75 km long plot of wasteland underneath a main road was regenerated to form the “Bentway”.
For some time now hitherto ignored urban spaces have come into the focus of innovative town planners. Local activists and entrepreneurs have an eye on this too.
In Glasgow, for instance, underneath a section of the M74 a sports park for young people is to be built.
This entire space was just wasteland for a long time – until someone recognised its vast potential.
And now this space under the M74 has been transformed into an aesthetic space. For new urban sport. For social contacts.
On an empty square in the Brooklyn area of New York City a children’s bike park has been built.
In Mumbai local entrepreneurs turned unused urban spaces into football pitches by covering them with artificial grass and cashed in on the popularity of 5-a-side football.
Major projects always require urban development licences and subsidies. This is the only way to ensure that these projects last the distance. In exchange, locals and visitors alike benefit here from the new developments long term.
However, we should never underestimate the smaller projects.
Many are locally inspired and extremely visionary.
For instance, urban gym projects can open up new perspectives and creative opportunities for the attractive use of space.
… is probably the oldest and best known of the new urban sports. It was originally developed in France. Inspired by military fitness training parkour involves an attractive obstacle course over natural and built structures. By uninterrupted jumping, running, hopping, rolling and climbing parkour offers a competitive environment and, at the same time, a great workout.
… boring looks nothing like this :-))
How do you keep fit in your city?
In any case, I am now off out for a half-hour run in the park.
Thank you for reading this blog.
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Best Wishes, Frank Mendel
The image rights in my blog feature on “Urban Development. Urban World. Thoughts…” are subject to the following copyrights ||| Images 01, 03, 04, 10, 11: (c) copyright by shutterstock ||| Images 02, 05: (c) copyright by Frank Mendel ||| Images 06: (c) copyright by dpa ||| Image 07: (c) copyright by urbantoronto ||| Image 08: (c) copyright by NYT ||| Image 09: (c) copyright by focus sports.