The broad scope of this study results in an unusual and crucial strategy for evaluating city form. This is a book that every architect, planner, and city inhabitant should read. The author's approach is both theoretical and practical, and the result is a guide to understanding cities as well as a set of tools for analyzing their physical forms.
He believes that "the image of the city" is essential for its survival and development. And he gives several examples to prove his point: "Cities are judged by how they look," he says. "If they are clean and pleasant, people will want to live there. If not, they will be replaced by developers who will build houses and shops. The image of a city can also have an impact on tourism; if it is bad, visitors will avoid it."
This statement reminds me of Paul Theodoratus's words more than two thousand years ago: "People judge a city by its monuments." Today, with the advent of modern technology, this principle is even more true than before. Without good transportation systems, competitive markets, and other factors included, a city could have all the modern amenities available, but if no one wants to live there, then it is doomed to failure.
Cities are seen as centers of culture, knowledge, and commerce.
The ideal city must be alive and current, combining history with energy and life. We imagine these cities as well-managed and administered, reasonably clean and free of congestion, with mobility, access, and the ability to participate in and enjoy urban life. They will offer a range of choice for consumers regarding schools, health care, and other services.
Cities are composed of people who create demand for different qualities in a city's infrastructure and environment. The demands of people influence what kind of city exists. A city can be described by its culture, economy, government, or any other characteristic that may be important to its identity.
A city is a complex organism. Its vitality depends on its ability to adapt to changes within its boundaries and beyond it. As populations increase, so too do the needs of cities. More housing must be built to accommodate them; transportation systems need to be updated to meet new challenges; and more space should be made available for public use such as parks and recreation areas.
Cities are considered to be one of the most effective means for reducing poverty and environmental degradation. Urban environments have fewer resources than rural ones, but they require many more people to exist successfully. By bringing people together in confined spaces, cities allow for trade to take place and for knowledge to be shared. This increases the quality of life for everyone involved.
Mumford puts forth his core principles regarding city planning and the human potential, both individual and collective, of urban life in "What is a City?", the text of a 1937 address to an audience of urban planners. In it, he states that cities are characterized by their ability to accommodate large populations with limited resources. They must do so without damaging the environment or the quality of life for those who live there.
Mumford argues that only by understanding this capacity and harnessing it can cities achieve true growth while maintaining their identity. He proposes three goals for any city plan: make space, make land, make people.
To accomplish this, Mumford says that cities need a central organizing idea that allows them to work together on a unified plan. This could be commercial district, transportation system, community center, etc.
Cities also need open spaces for public use. These should be located near population centers with easy access for people living in poverty who cannot afford housing close to jobs, schools, and other services. The parks should be beautiful, but they don't have to be; what matters is that they serve a purpose.
Finally, cities need buildings that fit in with their surroundings but are also unique. This helps prevent urban sprawl and creates more intimate neighborhoods.
Although urban planners are primarily concerned with the planning of settlements and communities, they are also responsible for the efficient transportation of goods, resources, people, and waste; the distribution of basic necessities such as water and electricity; and a sense of inclusion and opportunity for people of...
The need for development in cities is driven by economic activity and employment opportunities that come with it. In fact, over half of the world's population lives in urban areas, and this number is expected to increase to nearly 70 percent by 2050. The demand for food, energy, and other resources we extract from the environment; the changes our activities cause on climate and environmental quality; and the needs of an increasing number of elderly people and disabled individuals will require us to find sustainable solutions for city living.
Cities are important for human prosperity because they provide many benefits that go beyond their physical structures. They offer the possibility to work and learn from others; to enjoy cultural events and new ideas; and to be part of a community. However these same features that make cities attractive are also factors that make them vulnerable to climate change and other forms of stress. Urban environments are often characterized by high levels of traffic congestion, air pollution, noise, heat-island effects, and loss of open space. All of these problems are likely to get worse in the coming years due to climate change and the increased demand for resources and products produced in or transported to cities.
The philosopher, author, and founder of London's The School of Life identifies three characteristics of appealing cities: