Introduction to the Working Group on Flexibility, Liveability and Well-Being
by Ron Bakker, Founding Partner, PLP Architecture, United Kingdom
Cities around the world are growing relentlessly. Most major world cities are becoming more densely populated and cities in developing countries are expanding at a previously unknown pace. Many new city dwellers come from rural backgrounds and some find urban life hostile and unnatural. The well-being and quality of life of people in cities are struggling to keep up with the economic benefits that are causing the doubling of the world’s urban population over the course of the 21st century.
Most of the improvements to the quality of life that are conceivable in urban centres are of an environmental, technological or infrastructural nature. This Working Group focused on the people-centred opportunities for improving urban conditions, notably related to innovative ideas to address wellness, productivity and flexibility in the built environment.
One area of opportunity is the potential improvement that the internet of things (IoT) is bringing to the connections and communication between people and their physical environment. Many innovations and inventions advance the potential for more efficient and productive use of the available space and resources.
The development of construction materials and the growing use of natural and renewable materials were another focus, for their potential to have a direct and positive effect on health and well-being, both physical and spiritual.
A third focus was urban infrastructure and transport in the digital age. Most fast-growing cities around the world are nearing paralysis because of the reliance on polluting private vehicles.
Members of the Working Group feel strongly that it is increasingly important that cities around the world retain a sense of place that is consistent with the history and diverse cultural heritage of the people who inhabit them. Against a background of globalization and rapid exchange of information around the world, the unique nature of each urban centre is under pressure, and the strategic use of art, culture and community to create compelling and competitive cities should be a central concern to ensure an inspiring, liveable and loveable future for growing urban populations.
Please access all contribution of the Working Group on Flexibility, Liveability and Well-Being here.