The world is urbanizing rapidly. In 1960 30% of the world's population was living in cities, today that number has increased to over 55% and in 2050 66% will be urban dwellers. Cities are hot, but considering this fast growth and global urbanization, cities will also have many challenges to overcome.
But as time lapses, cities learn, adapt, and concur the challenges they are faced with. Just like living organisms, cities (and let’s not forget towns) evolve. And that flexible ability to withstand evolution has very much to do with these 4 simple facts. Not only have these facts brought to live Map Your City, they will continue to guide and improve (y)our product, (y)our team and, if it is up to us, (y)our bright future.
Fact number 1: Cities are people
Bricks and mortar do not interact. The thriving heart of cities is people. People working, living and playing in the place they love and the community they feel connected to. We created Map Your City because we saw a pressing need for people to become more connected to their own cities and towns.
Richard Florida takes a closer look at why people live where they do and concludes that people moving to cities are looking for the following key things that matter to them most about the neighborhoods they live in; housing costs, proximity to jobs, transit, amenities, open space, and quality of both built and natural environments. And this varies by age and stage of life.
To build a city infrastructure that can handle this growing influx and urban dwellers’ demands, city planners are faced with a challenge. As The Human Scale documents, city planners tend to show a social blindness here. But starting with grassroots initiatives and the growing interest in the effects of placemaking as a result, a more human centered approach is entering city development. Contributing to a more open sourced, collaborative way of city making.
Complete inclusion, fully engaging and connecting on a totally different level with the communities that cities and towns are made off, will build a strong multi structured foundation that keeps cities resilient and future proof.
Fact number 2: Cities are innovation
You probably heard of “Lean startup” or “Value Proposition Design”? These are the guidelines for us at Map Your City and our generation of startups that bring their creative and innovative solutions towards a scalable business.
These smart creatives acknowledge the need to test, validate and modify their innovations in market reality and with help of existing key players. In this creative reality key players open up their networks for and share their knowledge & challenges they are facing with startups. This is not only unbelievably important for the startup, but also a major factor for a thriving innovation culture.
So for innovation to prosper, proximity to a connected startup ecosystem is a major driver. Firms & startups want to be close to other firms & startups, universities and research labs. They want to be in hyper connected surroundings with great amenities. Good coffee places seem to be one of them ; ).
Cities are where we must implement the ideas and partnerships that build an innovation economy: new ideas in transportation, energy management, economic development, and resilient infrastructure that will build the future.
Fact number 3: Cities are also towns
As cities grow so do the towns surrounding them, forming larger metropolitan areas. Increased mobility & connectivity allow us to move continuously throughout our metros. Live or work in one place, play in another, enjoy nature in a third, but connected to all.
Fact number 4: Every city has a history
Look at the lay out of a city from above and it will tell you a great deal about its history and how power shifted in time. Buildings, structures and spaces each have a story to tell. But the true way to discover history is to live it. Unfortunately we are not able to time travel (yet). But technology has continuously proven itself as a great way to come really close to those stories.
So when you travel you make sure you get some of this history “in”, at home you probably are proud of some of the local stories & heroes in your town, and for your business you are looking for a cool place with “character”.
Understanding our city's history is important as it bridges cultures, it enables us to learn, adds to a sense of belonging and is a great selling point for business. History provides the foundation to build a new future.
There is is: Four facts that will drive cities forward. But remember: Whatever future (y)our cities will embark upon, it is (y)our future too.