"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Creative Cities

As cities continue to develop in the 21st century, they face age old problems such as pollution and traffic congestion, and more recent ones such as urban sprawling. Well-established cities in developed nations have to deal with constantly deteriorating infrastructures. On the other hand, growing cities in developing nations have to confront the effects of mass urbanization. Therefore the new city of the 21st century needs to redefine, not just improve the way we live. A creative city is such a concept.

Urban planning will go beyond implementing improved models of our current systems. Recently emerging issues such as mass urbanization and sustainability problems need to be approached in a non-traditional way. Therefore urban planners need to re-examine the fundamental problems of a city today. For instance, instead of designing better roads and traffic system, we can have communities that are completely transit oriented to eliminate the need for cars and even roads.

Multiple urban villages within creative cities is a new urban planning concept that has been proposed recently. Urban villages combine the efficiency of living in a large-scale environment with the sense of a small, close-knit community. The purpose is to create self-sustaining communities that allow people to live and work in. Not only do urban villages increase community development, they also eliminate the need to commute across town for basic necessities. If successful, a city made up of urban villages can expand indefinitely and still be sustainable.

Another possible attribute of a creative city is the idea of autonomous buildings. British architects Brenda and Robert Vale came up with the concept of a “house with no bills”. These self-sustaining buildings are capable of producing electricity, collecting water, and managing waste. While these capabilities are far from being realizable, efforts have already been made to materialize this idea. For example, the solar cells installed on Kyocera headquarters in Kyoto supply 54.8% of the building's power supply and 50% of its heat demand.

Wonderful concepts have been conceived by architects and urban visionaries, such as Megastructures – where an entire city is confined in a single enormous building – but the vision of a creative city is still essentially in the drawing board stage. People are still generally stuck in the mindset of a traditional city, and thus are reluctant to welcome change. But as time passes, technology will advance and lifestyles will change, so the concept of a creative city will seem less foreign and easier to accept.


"Autonomous Buildings." Wikipedia. .

"Kyocera's New Headquarters." .

"Megastructures (Architecture)." Wikipedia. .

"Urban Sprawl." Wikipedia. .

"Urban Village." Wikipedia. .

No comments: