Hamish McRae, The Independent, on the Economy

Hamish McRae, Associate Editor, The Independent: there has been a huge shift from rural to urban around the world. This could be the tipping point. Why do we all cluster in London? because you can do an awful lot here.

Hamish is going to talk about 3 cities. What do cities in the developed world do to make them more sustainable? do developing cities make the same mistakes?

Copenhagen: in the centre there is an urban experiment. The market helps the centre be a power free zone. Gradually this was all extended and it is now a car free urban paradise. The way space is used has been imitated in places as far away as Melbourne.

Shanghai: a fascinating example of municipality that has ‘planned big’. There are environmental costs to this success. For example flattened areas. Beijing, simply ripped the city apart whereas Shanghai has done this with more sensitivity.

A city within a city – no unemployment (in Mumbai) societies that look a mess may not be a mess. There may be a range of systems that function perfectly.

What general conclusions can you draw from these 3 cities? sustainability and liveabilty are interlinked. A city that is not sustainable is not nice place to live.

Community matters. So easy to wreck yet so hard to build.

We have to work with what we have. In LA, we need to make LA work better. In London we need to make London better. One size does not fit all. People want sprawl in LA, in London that’s not possible so we have to work with what we have. Our transport needs to be efficient and modular.

Identity is important. We need to make our world better – and to ensue that the new mega cities of Asia and beyond – make the world better for the future.

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