Frustrations with urban conditions were a fundamental factor behind the popular uprisings in Egypt, according to Doug Saunders, author of a new book Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World. The book looks at neighbourhoods that are transitional between rural and urban. Across Africa and Latin America rural dwellers are moving to temporary locations for temporary or seasonal work. They form their own neighbourhoods on the outskirts of ‘urban’ areas, the first rung on the urban ladder. Once they get established, they want to move on, but find themselves blocked by housing policy and planning regulation. That’s when social unrest and political crises can be expected.
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I am one of Europe’s growing cohort of old age pensioners. In 31 European countries, even if life expectancy does not improve, the population aged 65+ would increase by 40 per cent to 2050. If life expectancy continues to grow, the number of persons aged 65+ will leap by between 87 and 111 per cent. However, with out-migration and low birth rates, many of Europe’s regions face the prospect of a population that is both ageing and reducing in numbers. Unless things change, 60% of European regions will experience population decline up to 2050. Demography is a key factor in the development and planning of cities and region: what are Europe’s prospects and what are the implications?
By 2030, one in every two urban residents in the world will be in Asia. Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, brings this dramatic urban transition into focus. Faced with a constant battle against water, inadequate infrastructure and sanitation, endemic traffic congestion and electricity shortages how are the planners faring?
Cities are invisible in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) review of UK aid. Yet only a year ago DFID were calling cities “The New Frontier” in a high profile document that proclaimed “Cities are the future of the twenty first century”.
Aleppo has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List. A historic crossroads location on trade routes that criss-crossed the Middle East and connected it to Asia and Europe generated the wealth to invest in the built environment.
It was great to see the Commonwealth Association of Planners given the President’s Special Award at the RTPI Awards ceremony in London recently. Retiring RTPI President Ann Skippers emphasised the work CAP does in supporting planners across the Commonwealth. She invited the audience to imagine that they were the only planner working in their office, and then reminded them that in some small Commonwealth states there may only be one planner in the whole country.