October 31 is earmarked each year as World Cities Day by the United Nations, prompting us to assess how cities can develop in a way that is beneficial to the environment and residents alike.
Two thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030, according to the United Nations. This puts increasing demand on a city’s resources and means it’s crunch time for authorities and urban planners to develop city models that are sustainable; make wise use of the latest technology (without compromising citizen’s data); and benefit and include all inhabitants.
In light of this, the United Nations has dubbed 31 October World Cities Day, which follows on from the recent Habitat III conference held in Quito, Ecuador. These events offer a timely chance to reflect and brainstorm and the motto for this year is ‘Inclusive Cities, Shared Development’.
Beyond the UN, a number of organisations, individuals and local governments are already implementing forward-thinking strategies that help put our cities on a sustainable path towards the future. Here are some of our favourite recent urban development ideas:
- the Van Gogh-inspired bicycle path in the Netherlands that is keeping cyclists safe at night;
- the company creating roads out of plastic waste;
- Ally, the app that is using crowdsourcing to build better public transport systems;
- the tower that is sucking polluting particles from the air and turning them into jewellery;
- the green architecture initiative that wants to turn concrete jungles into lush oases.