Trends, Threats, Challenges and Prospects for a Better Future
For billions proper physical and social infrastructures are literally non-existent. In developed countries the situation is much better, yet poverty persists for many. Slums and non-appropriate infrastructures are part and parcel of urban settlements in rich and poor countries alike. Hence many leave their homes to look for a better life either in towns inside their country or elsewhere. Immigration from undeveloped to developed countries is part and parcel of post- modern globalization and the international urban "game".
I will not expand regarding the interconnected social, economic, political and security related treats this situation may affect. Poverty will persist, both absolute and relative. Inequality will keep on, but, for the wellbeing of the poor and the rich, for the "south" and the "north" it is essential that we try to pursue more equality – quite the opposite to existing trends.
No magic solution to harsh dilemmas. Yet, ignoring severe problems, will not lead to any proper solutions. Who are the 90 percent this project intends to affect? Citizens of the whole world (excluding the very rich perhaps… or maybe both extreme rich and poor…)? Citizens of urban settlements and their vicinity? The civil majority in my neighborhood/ town/ county/ country? I do not know. Yet plans may and perhaps should impact 100 percent of the people who live today, and many in the next generations. I preferred therefor to try and address the whole humanity. Yet - I'm sure no solution I might suggest can tackle the real problem as I choose to define it….
This work tackles mostly the existing situation, treads and challenges.
What about the Future City ?
Well, in my view most future cities will be like the existing ones, just bigger and more complex, dynamic and conflict ridden. My artwork consists of 10 collages that portray the future Cities as an extrapolation of existing ones in both developed and developing worlds. Yet collages # 1, 9, and 10 portray better Cities then these that would develop without deliberate, compound intervention. These visual collages interconnect with a theoretic multifaceted study I conducted. This research ascertained trends and evaluated means that could be embraced in order to impact positively the future.
In the following I suggest few steps towards this aim.
1. Study local conditions, characteristics and trends.
2. Ascertain future scenarios.
3. Work in multidisciplinary teams.
4. Learn from other cities nationwide as well as from other nations – both rich and poor ones.
5. Composing databases of international knowledge, that include case studies of best practices, lessons from success and failure alike will bring forth efficiency and effectiveness.
6. Apply whatever you learn to local cultures, characteristics and conditions.
7. Flexible planning is a must nowadays. Ongoing follow-up, evaluation and updating of strategic and other plans are essential.
8. Participation of all communities is essential for good – appropriate planning, and particularly for proper implementation of programs. Fitting participation programs to local characteristics is essential.
9. Investments in empowering local communities and in capacity building seem to be the most effective investments we might imagine.
10. Integration of multipurpose correlated local and regional Mechanisms for internal and external Conflict assessment, prevention, resolution and management is crucial.
11. Each nation, each town, each community will have both similar and different solutions to both parallel and different issues. E.g. the need for affordable housing is a global issue. It must be tackled worldwide, but in different - site, cultural and community specific and appropriate ways.
12. The provision of appropriate physical and social infrastructures is essential not less, sometimes even more than proper housing.
In conclusion I propose building a mechanism to combat negative scenarios for the future cities, and hopefully – bring forward more positive/ optimistic setups for the future of humanity.