101 Replies to “Blog”

  1. Jane Jacob’s assertion that cities must be looked at and examined as these organized complexities continues to be a ground breaking assessment. This idea of looking at cities through the scope of life science is a pretty modern approach to analyzing cities. People are as unpredictable as it gets so any choices they make can affect the outcome of a city greatly. When she had written this piece there was a movement of people going to suburban areas. It would be interesting to see how she would react to today’s trends. The movie Escape from New York, 1981 Director John Carpenter, depicts a dystopian future. Movies like this were extremely popular in the 80’s and usually depicted notable areas in ruins. This is one of many movies to depict the future in this manner – dystopic, draconian. John Carpenter wanted to take the most obvious problems facing cities, and turn them into something we all fear: a future that is not very bright. In the chapter by Pile he talks about the general idea of what should and should not be included in a city. When you ask someone to describe a city their answers will vary from person to person. This is just like cities. Cities are not all exactly the same instead they have city features that can be similar between them. For example, Piles talks about a skyscraper. He says that Skyscrapers are only found in cities but not every city has skyscrapers. This means that a skyscraper is a “city feature” but not a feature of all cities. He then goes on to explain that it is not necessarily the items that make a city a city but their social significance. In the article written by Robert Bevan, What makes a city a city – and does it really matter anyway, he talks about the significance of different things that lead cities to becoming cities. This article shows some of the different criteria set in countries that will allow places. One example is in the UK where they must home at least 300,000 people, have a distinct identity at the center of the town, and must have a good record of local government. This ties in with the chapter by Pile because we have to decide whether these are good requirements for cities that should be used as a basis for all. In the article by Moir, Moonen, and Clark, pp 7-20 The Future of Cities, two important decisions made. First, it made a very important distinction between the future of cities and future cities. Second, it explored why it is important to understand these two concepts. It is similar to the first articles we read about how difficult it was to define what a city even was. Because while people can recognize the importance of the future of cities, there is in-congruency between what different sectors believe the future of a city is. While the article broke down how cities are perceived to be successful by separate sectors, there was no conclusive term for overall success that combined, environmental, social, economic, and governance factors. However, maybe there doesn’t need to be an overall term because cities can be parsed out into interacting systems, where each system belongs in a different sector. The TED talk by Robert Neuwirth, The Hidden World of Shadow Cities, was about shadow cities and how they should be considered legitimate forms of urban development. The speaker argued slums, shanty’s, and favelas make up a significant portion of the urban development in the world today, and that this will only continue to grow as time persists. Many of the governments of the places where these slums are located, fail to recognize the slum neighborhoods or people as legitimate. Neuwirth claims that as the world ponders what “the future of cities” will be, that it must consider these people and places, as they too are also a part of the city. An article by Teemu Puutio, Five Predictions for the Future of Our Cities, starts by explain that even though cities are successful that there was a cost to pay for this. This cost is unsustainable consumption patterns, environment degradation, and inequity. This is something that is important for all people and future planners moving to cities and trying to create new ones most recognize. All of the articles up to this point have highlighted the importance of defining cities and creating them it is now time to focus on how to make them sustainable.

    1. I liked the reference here to the film “Escape from New York” (dir. John Carpenter, 1981), but I encourage you to think more about why films like this (?) might have been popular in the 1980s — in this case a summer theater blockbuster debuting in the earliest days of VHS and VHS rental (competing with beta and video disk), when the equipment itself was sometimes rented and ownership of this equipment not widespread by any means.

      The opening scene of the film describes a probable if dystopian near-future narrative for the US: a 400% increase in crime by 1988 (the US experienced its peak murder rate in 1980, and New York was incredibly violent and dangerous in 1981 — with apparently 2,100 reported murders and over 120,000 reported robberies that year, the highest in the city’s history). The film describes an approach to crime containment using military-grade weapons (land mines, M-16s, etc.), a national police force permanently encamped and equipped “like an army,” various monitoring technologies and walls — drawing from various global developments. The film then leaps another 9 years to an imagined 1997, with this US police state still in power and led by a right-wing president. The anti-hero (“Snake”) is introduced as a camo-wearing longer-haired veteran (before Rambo, and echoing the post-Vietnam era in the US) of an apparent war with the USSR, a likely scenario in 1981. Carpenter apparently wrote the script in the mid-1970s, inspired by the Watergate scandal and cynicism about the presidency. The film was further influenced by the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981 (violent hostage taking and treatment features prominently in the film), the Arab Oil Embargo and New York’s near bankruptcy and the severe decay of various urban areas in the mid 1970s through disinvestment (white flight), arson fires etc. — including East St. Louis where much of the film was actually shot.

      Additionally, the computer-looking graphics (especially the 3D modeling presented in the glider scene) and the notion of GPS and physical implants were way ahead of everyday life in 1981, buseemed possible based on the day’s (mainly military) technology advancements. Also to note, Carpenter chose to scrap an opening sequence providing more of a back story about Snake and an additional glimpse of the future US– via a bank robbery scene yielding billions in plastic currency, a bank patrolled by talking robots rolling close to the ground, worker uniforms advertising Colorado Solar (noting that Pres. Carter installed solar panels on the White House in 1979, which Pres. Reagan removed in 1981) and an underground public transit system linking Florida to San Francisco (and using the futuristic looking at the time MARTA system of Atlanta to shoot the scene).

      In an interview published in 1994 (available via Youtube), Carpenter describes the movie as a mix of film noir, darker New York street comedy and a modern Western / sci-fi take on Clint Eastwood. In other words, future visions of cities often reflect various concerns, conceits and materials from the present day and past. And maybe not surprisingly, an Escape from New York reboot is planned — what do you think it will include?

    2. Good question raised about how Jacobs would have reacted to today’s trends. Speculating what that might (based on her reading) would have made the summary rich.

      The summary comments about whether the criteria for cities discussed in the readings should be used “as a basis for all”. This was an opportunity to discuss the group’s opinion on these criteria/requirements.

    3. Good discussion across the course materials. You sum up with “All of the articles up to this point have highlighted the importance of defining cities and creating them it is now time to focus on how to make them sustainable”, but was this the consensus of the group? What other points came up among group members?

  2. Group 7

    Our summary showcases differing commentary and analyzes aspects of Jacobs, Pile, and Moir, Moonen, and Clark. Jacobs takes a unique approach to her analysis by comparing a city to the life sciences. She explains that cities are problems of organized complexity as they have “situations in which a half-dozen or even several dozen quantities are all varying simultaneously and in subtly interconnected ways” (3). As derived from Stewart Brand’s Ted Talk, “What Squatter Cities Can Teach Us”, a squatter city is an example of organized complexity. Many squatter cities are viewed as impoverished, and with one billion people living in squatter cities in places like India, conditions can be considerably poor. However, it cannot be denied that wealth is being created in these cities, and by viewing them through the lens of Jacobs, they can be seen as sanctuaries that serve as refuge for those attempting to escape poverty.
    In both of their writings, Pile and Jacobs discuss their perspective of how cities should be studied, while not using the typical questions of ‘why’ or ‘who’. In particular, Pile’s remarks the physical structure of a city and the social interactions that define a city. Pile argues his definition of “how” by highlighting the balance between infrastructure and human behavior that is uniquely characteristic to a city.
    Moir, Moonen, and Clark’s article analyzes varying terminology used to describe a ‘city.’ Jacobs has shown us that cities are complex like the life sciences. This complexity is apparent because of the sheer number of terms used to label a ‘city.’ The various terms may resonate with each of us differently depending on our experiences. For example, after working in Thailand for a few months, it became very evident that the government and the community were hyper-focused on the concept of an “Eco-City.” Although this idea is primarily unique to Asia, the term still embodies the basics of “future cities.” The term, “future cities” regards the inquiries, reviews, and investigations of the roles and needs of cities. Researchers studied the stability of how often these terms were being searched and the geographic distribution taking place. By allowing cities to understand the interests of citizens, they can strategize how they want to tackle future issues.
    For our additional sources, we reflected and analyzed on Ellen Posner’s article, the Ted Talk with Parag Khanna on Megacities, the Ted Talk with Stewart Brand on squatter cities, and the film Akira. Posner explains how cities in North America are facing serious changes brought on by capitalism, restructuring, technology, migration, and new generations. She goes on emphasize the importance of our “collective aspirations” (11). We should choose to invest our time, energy, and money into positive aspirations because the “underpinnings of a civilized life for all are on the table” (11). Similarly, in his Ted Talk, Khanna discusses the importance of creating a global infrastructure that is built on connectivity so that all people can reap the benefits of investments in global connectivity no matter the geographical location. He explains that we will spend more on infrastructure in the next 40 years then we have in the last 4,000 years (Khanna, Ted Talk). This statistic seems very important when you consider how important future cities are to our everyday lives. For example, how will we handle the ever-present environmental crisis that is only exacerbated by growing cities? As Posner says, cities will be “the places in which megatrends of the next century unfold, and that they will test our abilities to deal with life’s most serious issues” (11).
    Brand shares an understanding on the great migration of civilization into what are known as “squatter cities”, where especially in developing countries, people move toward urban centers in hopes of diversifying, achieving more wealth, and becoming part of a community. This trend, which has taken shape in the last couple hundred years provides an insight on the future of cities as people continue to migrate towards these urban centers in attempt to better themselves (Brand, Ted Talk).
    Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 film, Akira is captivating not only as a politically engaging message, but as an action-packed cyberpunk dream of future cities. The traditionally animated film uses light to illustrate the city of Neo Yokio, which sets the backdrop to the movie in a similar way that cities act as a constant presence in the lives of its inhabitants. Moreover, it depicts cities as areas of technological advances that push the limit and wonder of what we think is possible. Cities beg us to ask what is next for our society, and challenge us to think forward, rather than keep looking backwards.

    1. The mention of the 1988 film Akira encourages more discussion about how that animated film envisions urban life in 2019 — ultra-high tech but also rife with corruption, government conspiracies, state secrets, criminal gangs, cults and political protest. Plus lots of rolling vehicles and guns (not to mention cryogenics and bio-weaponry and deeper commentary about nuclear power and weapons).

      Perhaps not surprisingly, the film links the development of a Neo-Tokyo as the rebuilding that followed a cataclysmic explosion / what is described as a World War. Further linking the fantasy vision of the future offered in Akira with actual past- and present-day developments, the film references the construction of an Olympic stadium. Note how today the planned Tokyo Summer Games of 2020 promise to provide a(nother) vision of future cities that draws from current concerns and recent histories — see for example:

    2. Good comparing and contrasting of the readings.
      It is mentioned in the summary that “cities beg us to ask what is next for our society…”. Why is it important for cities that we look forward? How do they communicate that? For future summaries, expound on such assertion.

    3. Any particular themes run across these readings, films, and talks? Did any group members mention interesting connections between, say, Jacobs and Otomo? And how do “cities beg us to ask what is next for our society”? Or is it society asking what is next for cities?

  3. From the readings by Jane Jacobs, Steve Pile, P. Hall, Ellen Posner, and Emily Moir in collaboration with Tim Moonen and Greg Clark, our group has gained an introduction to and a better understanding of what cities are, the kinds of problems cities face, and where cities could be heading in the future. This understanding has been furthered by TED talks with Barry Wilson and Stewart Brand, who discuss the role of cities and transportation in movies and in history, respectively.

    Hall, P. (1999). The future of cities. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 23(3), 173-185.

    Hall addresses the potential end to city living as urban sprawl continues to grow in The Future of Cities. The principle of agglomeration is mentioned and is what binds the interconnections of cities together, and their need for concentrations of industries, if they strive to be successful (Hall, 174). However, there are areas in cities that suffer with having inadequate public schools, low socioeconomic classes, and etc… Hall proposes that “Christaller’s seven-level hierarchy” will help to achieve the new process but also must include “Global cities” and “Sub-global cities” to the levels (Hall, 181). Overall, Hall suggests a compilation of modern elements and a hierarchical system to successfully design an urban city.

    Jacobs, J. (1963), ‘The Kind of Problem a City is’, in Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Vintage, pp. 428-48.
    -Required Reading

    Jane Jacobs’ proposition is to approach the thought ‘process’ of city planning in a different light than from what many have previously done. She speaks on the complexity of cities and how they hold many interconnections, which can unravel countless problems. She encourages thinking about cities and their issues in a direction that flows naturally, and less of a focus on scientific method or a two-variable approach.

    Geddes, R. (Ed.). (1997). Cities in our Future. Island Press, Washington, DC.
    Introduction, Chapter 1 (pp.1-11) by Ellen Posner

    Ellen Posner criticizes the current state of North American cities. Posner believes cities in North America, once icons for what cities should be, are at a standstill, falling behind cities in Europe and Asia. Posner’s discussion is important because it shows the need for creative thinking and open-mindedness to incorporate solutions to growing issues that cities are facing. Cities need to evolve to incorporate new ways of thinking in their infrastructure and landscape, accommodate the needs of expanding populations, and resolve issues impacting cities.

    Moir, E., Moonen, T., & Clark, G. (2014). What are future cities? Origins, meanings and uses. Foresight Future of Cities Project and Future Cities Catapult.
    Introduction, Chapter 1 (pp.7-20)– Required Reading

    Moir and Clark focus greatly on defining and explaining popular terms people use when discussing the cities of the future. The report shows the changes in term usage over time and by region. This report indicates an interesting trend that people’s perceptions of cities and what they should be changes over time and geographic locations. Perhaps this trend indicates that the cities of the future will be built on a range of ideologies and will have drastically different components and landscapes, but will retain their title of a city.

    Steve Pile – What is a city? (pp. 3-52) – Required Reading

    Pile begins by talking about how cities are more than the huge infrastructures that our minds automatically retreat to. Although skyscrapers and subway systems are integral parts of the city, Pile believes it has more to do with the social interactions that these things provoke. A way to think about this phenomenon would be by comparing how we think about NYC and the abundance of wealth, yet it’s also realistic to think about cities and the large number of those who are underprivileged. It’s necessary for those analyzing cities to not only focus on the physical attributes, but to dissect the various social implications that these areas can have.

    Barry Wilson – What sci-fi movies can tell us about future cities – TEDxXiguan

    In the TEDx talk Wilson touched on public transport by using examples of movies that portrayed aspects of transportation that are now coming to fruition, such as driverless taxis in Total Recall. The film came out in 1990 and seemed far-fetched, but Singapore has now signed contracts with seven different companies pledging to implement an automated fleet of vehicles by 2020. It is fascinating to look at these science fiction movies and to actually think that technology has advanced so much that some of these concepts are not only possible, but quite feasible.

    TED Radio Hour – The Future of Cities Part 1, Stewart Brand: Is Density our Destiny?

    In the 12 minute TED Talk, Alison Stewart, the host, and Stewart Brand talk about the role of cities. They discuss the idea that “[if] our planet is to house a projected 9 or 10 billion people… the only way to do this is for humans to live together in close quarters.” Brand argues that there are many social and environmental benefits that come from humans living in cities. Looking at the past, cities have helped socioeconomic development progress. For example, cities that have historically been dirty and crowded, are now upstanding cities and have generated improved living conditions for its residents. Ultimately, they conclude that cities, and people working together within them, can improve the future.

    1. Good summary of each – work on integrating the readings for next summaries. Explain how the readings are similar and/or different.
      How does it benefit cities/society for “those analyzing cities not to focus on physical attributes”? What are the downsides? Explain such points of view in the future.

  4. As an introduction to “Future of Cities,” it is important to address what defines current cities and what cities are projected to look like on a 10, 50, and 100-year horizon. Jacobs introduces the idea of developmental thought which highlights the complexity of city design. In the current day and age, Jacobs highlights the complexity which cities face and how ill-equipped (or rather ill-guided) planners are to tackle the issues that plague cities. Planning has often been numbers driven, however, thinking of people as statistics or “grains on sand” (Jacobs, 5) limits the scope at which planners can view what a city should be. Jacobs conversation is similar to Pile in that although cities are drastically complex, it is the connection of all of the parts that allow them to be understood and allows for problems to be addressed. The discourse has remained the same for decades, if you looking at the GM World Fair of 1939 that utopian outlook was based around life sciences, human-human interaction and green spaces. Planning has diverged from this, dealing with urban growth has been a reactive number driven response. Clark highlights that this cannot be the case when planning for a projected 10 billion people by 2050 has to be proactive and people focused.
    A secondary effect of this approach is that cities have become the center of inequality. This issue has been magnified with the 3rd and now an impending 4th industrial revolution. The article by Ellen Posner touches on the fact the cities are not controlled by the government and therefore create an unequal distribution of wealth throughout the area. Capitalism is an obvious culprit, though it has been the main driver of the massive economic growth. The future of cities may rely on some form of adaptation on this system. Our technological growth that has mirrored the economic growth has given some hope that there might be valid alternative capitalism potentially revolving around the rising use of the gig economy. Changes like would agree with Moirs’ assertion “Rather, it seeks to identify key trends amongst different communities of interest, and to begin to shine some light on the drivers and actors shaping discussion and progress in the future cities sphere.” (9) Without future changes, there has been some fairly dystopian view of what the future of cities could look like as Richard Florida points out: “For Jacobs, cities, and neighborhoods are much more than walkable, mixed-use places, and much more than engines of innovation and economic growth. They are also bulwarks against the forces of darkness–the fonts of social progress, of human civilization, and of democracy itself”.
    A final interesting dynamic that was discussed by the group lies in the concept of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley has become a cultural icon, with countries like Nigeria, the Philippines, and Kenya all trying to make their own version. However, with the sheer monopoly on talent and level of funding that goes into California and the Valley, it will be interesting to see if these copies can be successful. Will this lead to the death of innovation in cities? Alternatively, will cities have to adapt to find their niche become centers of industry rather than even a place to live? Our group had differing opinions here; some think that this concept will be replicable while others believe this style of monopoly (though not illegal) will dominate the cityscape of the future.

    1. Well-written, concise summary. The Silicon Valley comment is a good one. How do group members support their view that the concept of Silicon Valley will be replicated? And how about those that have a differing opinion? Support your views in next summaries.

    2. I really love the reference here to the 1939 World’s Fair, and I hope other students consider the legacy of these events in the US (I find much inspiring about the Hemisfair ’68 held in San Antonio, and I remember the New Orleans World’s Fair held in 1984, the last US-held one) — and also note that these events continue outside of the US.


      Another key world event (along with the Olympics) to be aware of and consider is the Venice Biennale — which will begin in May, and this time is based on the theme “may you live in interesting times”

  5. Group 6
    Future Cities as a course includes different sections in which we will learn and analyze material on cities. In this section, we have explored many authors who have expressed their thoughts and theories on what cities will look like in the future, how they will function, how we can best prepare ourselves for them. Below is an introduction to the discourse on cities of the future.
    Jane Jacobs touches on the complexities of cities in her article, What Kind of Problem a City is. The most important concept to take from Jacobs’ writing is that cities have so many variables and activities within them and that this interconnectivity creates a dependency on each of those factors that are not always visible on the surface (1961, Jacobs, 3.) Steve Pile in his article What is a City? Confirms Jacobs idea and reinforces that all the moving factors within a city have the ability to manipulate one another and completely alter the functionality of the environment (Pile, 5.)
    Although many can only imagine what cities will look like in the future, there have been several researchers who have aimed their studies at discovering how the urban areas we live, play, and work in, will progress as centers of innovation and digital solutions. For example, in the report What are Future Cities? Origins, Meanings, and Uses, authors take heed of the fact that many of the world’s cities are leaning away from the term “sustainable” and focusing on “smart” elements that will alter the cities form, function, and appearance. Unlike Wall-E, the 2008 Pixar film that sparked the interests of critics and young audiences everywhere, the report of future cities based their theories on current trends planners and architects are pursuing. In the film, built on the premise of fantasies about futuristic cities, urban ecosystems have been destroyed by humans, forcing them to leave Earth and move to space. Contrastly, researchers have used Google queries to determine the most popular growth strategies local governments and national leaders should implement for a more productive, livable, and sustainable environment for their citizens.
    Blowers, Hamnett and Sarre explore the meaning of planning for the future by examining projection and goal formation. This type of forward- thinking is an effort to influence society towards a designed future and a specific goal (Blowers, 19). Looking at past written works on the future, they look into the concepts of utopia. The twentieth century produced extensive literature on urban utopias. Although, the main problem architects have noted is the lack of control over the processes of change. Blowers also looks into equity in urban growth, where it has been apparent that the private profit motive was liable to lead to great public costs. Blowers notes the trend towards more bureaucratic control over development. Local planners and government, therefore, oversee the planning process that is ultimately proposed by the public and businesses, supporting the overarching theme of examining how cities have grown in the past, helps society learn and grow for the future.
    The principle of “change” has been in a constant flux under the view of Toffler in Future Shock, its acceleration has been on a continuing upward scaling trend. Change is described as theoretical, but over time it is visualized in lived lives, technology, and more importantly the places and cities we live in. We in society are in an acceleration of our world never before seen in our history, thus Toffler imploring to grab hold of this time and use the knowledge we have to discover more. Building on Toffler, Montgomery applies the practicality of change. Montgomery in Chapter 10 of Happy City is met with the reality of reluctance to change in Bogota, Colombia. Bogota is happy in its status quo of being who it was, even if it meant keeping its run down and dilapidated infrastructure since that’s what residents were used to. Even with the historic chaos of the country, it didn’t implore a need to change, instead it became a classroom to give lessons on the history of the city. Bringing the principles of Bogota, he examines how the lessons he learned in Bogota can be applied and examined in all the other parts of the world.
    These sources introduce many aspects of the beginnings of future city building, a reflection that we too, as a society, are also on the brink of.

    1. Well-written and concise summary. Good integration of reading materials. Group members’ views is missing. Consider including that in future summaries.

      1. Yes, I’m very interested in what the group thought about this mix of perspectives on cities in the future. It seems like “change” would be in any conversation about the future, but how can this be captured in actually planning for cities in the future?

        1. I’m happy to see reference to the Tofflers’ work here (recognizing the contributions of futurist Heidi Toffler to Future Shock and other publications and other efforts; Heidi passed away earlier this month) — and I remember how the Tofflers’ books (especially paperback editions) were in wide circulation in the US during my childhood (found at garage sales, library book sales, on the book racks at convenience stores, etc). The phrase ‘future shock’ even influenced the naming of a Herbie Hancock album in the MTV era. Listening to past interviews with Alvin Toffler (available via YouTube), I’m struck by how he describes “future-shocked” people overwhelmed by sudden cultural changes amidst a more globally connected world Students might want to listen to the “ten years after Future Shock” interview with Alvin Toffler (1980; available via YouTube) to consider the changes that Toffler describes, and perhaps to reflect on transitions in various aspects of life — work, schooling and family –that they note from the last decade. Alvin Toffler’s 2006 interview (available via C-SPAN) could provide additional insight into the Tofflers’ view of the future and their global impact since at least 1970.


  6. Group 2
    Group Summary of the Introduction to Future Cities

    As an intro to the Future of Cities course, we read City Worlds by Piles and “The Kind of Problem a City Is” by Jane Jacobs which introduced the key concepts of adaptability, local input, the importance of integrating advanced technologies and implementing changing methodologies to the study of urbanization/planning. In another reading completed this week, What are Future Cities? By Moir, Moonen and Clark, the intriguing definition of “what are future cities” and “the future of cities” is explained. ‘Future Cities’ are the potential of what our cities today could be and ‘future of cities’ is what requirements, roles, pressures, threats and trends those cities will face. The article presents multiple challenges that are known to design leaders of today but also surfaces the reality that the future is unknown.

    What future cities are and what the future of cities will be, is framed by their ability to be adaptable. In a global market highly influenced by trade, information technologies, communication practices, and desirable places – these are all constantly evolving facets that almost become obsolete once they are put into place. These “intangible aspects of city life” (Steve Piles, City Worlds) make each city distinguishable, however, they can be prohibitive or influential in the city’s ability to change as citizen requirements do.

    The Ted Talk: Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places by Iwan Baan discusses the adaptability of cities further describing how urban citizens from impoverished communities can build homes wherever and however they can. By digging into the ground, carving out a home or squatting in an abandoned hotel construction site. Creating amazing living spaces with convenience stores and barbers despite limited access to sewage, water, electricity, transportation and health care. Planners and engineers of future cities will need to listen to the needs of the people, observe their behavior and adopt innovative solutions to solve tomorrow’s problems, such as limited housing, today.

    This need to listen to the citizens is further explored in the reading City of Tomorrow – Sensors, networks, hackers and the future of urban life where the idea of “futurecraft” methodology is introduced. Futurecraft methodology is not the implementation of planners’ new ideas or theories of what a future city would look like. It’s a process that breaks down planners work experience combined with public conversation and debate. This would create positive, lasting outcomes for our cities of the future. We appreciate the position that designers and planner have no responsibility in being “fixers” of the present or even predicting the future, but the discussions and interdisciplinary platforms that “futurecraft” methodology would be encouragement enough to promote positive direction for the future of cities and our cities of the future, with the expectation that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050.

    The Future Shock creates a provocative thought about the size and expansion of cities. Imagine if cities never expanded from this point forward? How dense would our cities be? How would social structure and interaction change? This would heavily depend on the ability of future cities to be adaptable – which would translate into the framework for the future of cities. This framework is shown in the idealism that cities and their populations are as only as strong in a snapshot of time and the resources available to them during that time- for cities or individuals to influence any change or planning for the future of the city. Future Shock, ‘People of the Future’ addresses this notion by stating that inhabitants are “divided not only by race, nation, religion… but by their position in time” focusing on the individual’s ability to change a city which is a unique comparison to Dr. Weaver’s three stages of development (Jane Jacob’s “The Kind of Problem a City Is”) and variables of the city.

    There’s no way to predict exactly what a future city will look like, but we can tell it will be heavily influenced by the people of today in this time. Planners, utilizing experiences of the past and present in conjunction with the input of citizens can create beautiful cities with unique cultures and landscapes. With a firm background in the definition of future cities, our group looks forward to learning the topic in new depth.

    1. Well-written summary, good integration of the various readings. Good summary of the “futurecraft” methodology. What are the ways to ensure the public engaged and diverse publics are included? You can go beyond the reading text to comment on important issues in the topics you write about.
      It is mentioned in the summary the future city will be “influenced by the people of today in this time”. Is this the case for other times in history or is there something special about this time? Think about questions that your comments may raise in the reader. This will encourage you to elaborate the comments.

  7. Group 8: Background/Introduction Summary:

    According to Jane Jacobs, cities possess “certain orderly and analyzable average properties” (Jacobs, 1963). She described cities as problems of organized complexity, They are much more complex than two-variable problems, but it is not impossible to analyze the many connections between their various factors. One of the most interesting applications of this style of thinking is in Bogotá, Colombia. The article, “Happy City,” describes Mayor Enrique Peñalosa’s grand idea to revolutionize the way the government funds transportation. His plan pursued projects beyond transport that invested in raising the quality of life in his city for all residents, regardless of income. This ambitious plan was engaged in sustainable development, an important process for both “cities of the future” and “future cities.”
    By investing in people-oriented infrastructures and facilities, cities are able to reduce crime, pollution, and traffic-related deaths. We agree that by investing in public infrastructure, the utility can be maximized for everyone, both in the present and in future generations. We also feel that this idea of cities as systems was echoed throughout many of the readings.
    In Steve Pile’s article, he highlights the importance of the complexity of cities by saying that they are “assemblages of physical features, the geographic focus of multiple networks, and a way of life” (Pile, 1999). The group believes that while this definition captures much of the essence of cities, it does not fully encompass everything that a city is and has to offer. Cities occur on a larger scale and have multiple social, economic, and environmental implications. Everyone has a different idea of what a “city” is, based on their experiences and identity. Our group recognizes that this creates challenges. However, we also believe that it provides a strong opportunity for innovation, creativity, and change.
    Moir, Moonen, and Clark discuss the evolution of the dimensions of “future cities”. Starting with Ebenezer Howard’s proposal of Garden Cities and moving through the Interwar growth, WWII’s destruction, and the Internet Revolution, the definition of “future cities” has been changed to include architectural features and layouts, as well as social issues that need to be solved.
    We now understand that the city is a complex system. Everything in the city is related to activities that cause consequent production, consuming, costs, and waste. There are several dimensions that include social, environmental, technological, economic and governance issues. The manager of a city should and needs to deal with those activities efficiently, smoothly and sustainably.
    One of these challenges and opportunities comes from climate change. It is inevitable that cities have been and will continue to be facing environmental issues. Vicki Arroyo argues in her talk, “Let’s Prepare for our New Climate,” that cities “can no longer rely on established norms…we are all learning by doing, but the operative word is doing” (Arroyo, 2012). The group strongly agrees with this statement. Cities can no longer be passive. We believe that they need to take a forward-thinking approach to solve and mitigate environmental problems. Climate change is one of many problems that cities will face but future cities will have to harness their ability for innovation to become the best livable, workable, and quality city.
    The article, “The City of Tomorrow,” will help to understand how to transform our cities. Claudel believes that a symbiotic relationship between design and the public is what will create the cities of tomorrow. Instead of attempting to portray what is to come, we apply a method called Futurecraft. We posit future scenarios, entertain their consequences and exigencies, and share the concluding ideas widely so that a public conversation and debate may occur. This allows us to be prepared to deal with situations before they arise, and creates a good relationship between design and the public. We believe this should become the norm for city planners and we should be creating plans that preemptively help ameliorate problems that may arise in our future.
    In the podcast, “A Glimpse into the Future: Cities and Urbanization,” Abha Joshi-Ghani and Carlo Ratti were interviewed on urbanization and their predictions on the future of cities. This discussion highlighted the additional service that innovations in cities bring: stimulation of the economy. Joshi-Ghani and Ratti both believe that focusing on more bottom-up approaches than the traditional top-down approach allows cities to invite learning and new technological advances. These innovations bring with them economic growth, allowing sustainable urbanization and a route for stronger global markets. We believe that the future of cities will have a strong relationship with the global economy.

    Readings Used:

    Required Readings:
    Jacobs, J. (1963), ‘The Kind of Problem a City is’, in Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Vintage, pp. 428-48.

    Moir, E., Moonen, T., & Clark, G. (2014). What are future cities? Origins, meanings and uses. Foresight Future of Cities Project and Future Cities Catapult. Introduction, Chapter 1 (pp.7-20)

    Pile, S. (1999). What is a City? City Worlds, 3-52.

    Additional Material:
    Montgomery, C. (2013). Happy city: transforming our lives through urban design. Macmillan.
    Who is the City For? Chapter 10 (pp.227-250)
    Everything Is Connected to Everything Else, Chapter 11 (pp.251-270)

    Ratti, C., & Claudel, M. (2016). The city of tomorrow: Sensors, networks, hackers, and the future of urban life. Yale University Press.
    Futurecraft, Chapter 1 (pp.3-13)

    Let’s Prepare for our New Climate Ted Talk. Vicki Arroyo, 2012.

    “A Glimpse into the Future: Cities and Urbanization” Podcast

    1. Well-written summary. Good job integrating the readings. When discussing “Futurecraft” as a method and its application, make sure the attribution to the article “The City of Tomorrow” is clear.

  8. Group 5, Nick Armitage, Nupur Sheth, Amariah Williams, Catie Grayson, Zach Blankenship

    Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities focuses on the complex problems cities face and the inadequate methods many planners currently use to solve them. She explains the concepts of simplicity, disorganized complexity, and organized complexity and claims that cities are problems in organized complexity. Organized complexity presents problems as “situations in which a half-dozen or even several dozen quantities are all varying simultaneously and in subtly interconnected ways”, or that each factor of the problem is interrelated and leads to the makeup of “an organic whole” (Jacobs, 3). Jacobs discredits the common notion that cities are problems in simplicity, or that urban problems are simply systems of two variable relationships. Analyzing cities as problems in simplicity leads planners to believe that they can solve a problem by changing one variable, when in reality there are multiple variables and they are all interconnected. Furthermore, Jacobs states that urban problems should not be thought of in disorganized complexity either because the method is too “concerned with collection, description, classification, and observation of apparently correlated effects” (Jacobs, 2). The ways in which we view urban problems is essential to the ways in which we find solutions. As we progress towards an urbanized society, keeping this is mind will help prevent misguided solutions. It is also important to think about what types of solutions are being employed, and if they have lasting effects. In the book Everything is Connected to Everything Else, the authors explore the concept of “hedonistic sustainability” as a solution to climate change. Hedonistic sustainability is “the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life” (Lee, 252). Implementing solutions that not only solve the problem but also provide benefits that improve one’s urban experience is the best approach to problem solving within a city.
    The Moir, Moonen, & Clark reading was focused on the difference between considering the future of cities and what could be future cities. Primarily, it addresses problems that we have to face in the future, such as a decreased supply of nonrenewable resources, growing populations, and increased greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. An important distinction the reading made was one regarding how we must work not only on constructing entirely new cities of the future, but also put resources into the rehabilitation of our poorly planned cities of today. Illnesses associated with cities of today can be founded primarily in a necessity for instant gratification and convenience rather than a consideration for the natural environment and physical/mental well-being. Modern cities prioritize inefficient means of transportation and living that have adapted the American urban landscape into an impersonal, anti-social phenomenon. I agree entirely with the sentiments that modern American cities not only condition citizens to be physically inactive, but also socially inactive. The future of cities should always be framed in a way that supports sustainability not just environmentally, but also socially and physically.
    Blowers, Hammett, & Sarre bring up a number of notable factors to think about when speaking on the future of cities. How will governments and private businesses play a role in the future layout of the land we occupy? We don’t know exactly what the future holds but we can make an account of what will come from post and modern times.”This should not necessarily be taken as a bad thing because it provides freedom for choice and originality” (Blowers pg.2). Freedom of choice and originality creates a sense of place as well, we have the opportunity to create visions, innovation, art, technology, nature, or anything we see fit. The future is always subject to change and harder to predict the further out we go. People, places, and ideas are always changing and the evidence is everywhere in the world. Cultures and values often change and with that comes changes to the mass and even the physical environment which we will reside in.
    One thing is for certain in the future, as cities grow and become more important in our daily lives people will continue to live in the nodes. Cities bring too many things together and are important to humans for they are physical one stop shops for everything within a humans desire. One lesson that has been hard learned over the years is incorporating the natural environment into the man-made concepts that we have prolonged for some time. It is essential for our well-beings that we continue to incorporate the natural environment into our plans of the future. It is essential for the population, clean water, growing food, oxygen has always been a source that humans thrive off of. This will not change any time soon or perhaps ever, including nature into the works of our cities will be essential if we want to continue on a thriving road.
    In Steve Pile’s reading, it is highlighted that a city contains many distinctive features and experiences relating to the scale and intensity of urban life as well as the combination of urban elements. The importance of the social significance of the city is also mentioned. To answer the apparently simple question, ‘what is a city?’ is a complicated process involving a seemingly endless list of physical features, human experiences and urban images. On the other hand, Jane Jacobs while describing ‘the kind of problem a city is’ has discussed cities and their components almost entirely in the form of processes. Objects in cities ranging from buildings, streets, parks, districts, landmarks to anything else can have radically differing effects, depending upon the circumstances and contexts in which they exist. I found it interesting how the Pile mentions the ways in which the city becomes a way of life is a social drama that plays out differently for different people. Similar to Pile, in a reading for my other class, an article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. by the Insight Center for Data Analytics in the National University of Ireland mentions the need and high-priority for heterogeneity from hard-ware level to application level. High-speed development and adaptation have resulted in the emergence of heterogeneous IoT architectures, standards, middleware, and applications in cities.
    When defining what makes a city, it is important to remember its foundation: a network of ecosystems reacting and adapting to one another. The bioregional influences and human perception collaborate to form a sense of place which either supports or hinders social equilibrium. Urban conditions are unique and apt to change, so governing institutions should try to anticipate effects of such conditions. The 100 Resilient Cities initiative pushes for a Chief Resilience Officer position in every participating urban office. They would act as a bridge between stakeholders and various departments involved in city-wide projects. Having a formal civic leader to design and implement a resilience strategy legitimizes planning efforts, bringing its objectives to the forefront. 100RC claims that a Chief Resilience Officer is crucial to successfully handling urban ails and would have the ability to shape opportunities for innovation, economic progression, and a cohesive community.
    This video ( shares the perspective of CROs working in Athens, as they develop solutions to social and economic instability. They sound very optimistic; seeing unrest as a chance to reconstruct societal views on refugee populations by integrating their needs rather than problematizing. In the process of building a better Athens, CROs can provide capacity building skills and job opportunities that citizens and immigrants alike may benefit from. A wider network of CROs also allows for dissemination of knowledge on what techniques and policies work for various types of cities across the world.


  9. A thorough summary. Consider making the next summaries more concise. The writing should be group effort and the language should reflect that, and proofread your work. Mind terms like “I agree entirely…”, “I found it interesting…”, “In my reading for my other class…”.
    What is the group members’ opinion on the topics discussed? For example, what is the opinion of the group regarding “unrest as a chance to reconstruct societal views on refugee populations”? Consider incorporating your points of views in next summaries.

  10. US students interested in urban resiliency (noting the Chief Resiliency Officer position mentioned above), should take a look at their area’s Hazard Mitigation Planning or Hazard Mitigation Action Plan (HMAP) — to gain a better sense about how the risks are currently identified, assessed and responded to where they live.

    Here’s how FEMA describes Hazard Mitigation Planning:

    And here’s an example of Portland, Oregon’s HMAP:

    Students might critique how these plans are created, promoted and updated — not to mention how the plans propose to mitigate known risks (who is involved, what work is prioritized or funded, etc) or perceive work, mobility, electricity production etc. in the future.

  11. Group Summary 2: Social Dimensions of the City (Weeks 4-6)
    Members: Noah Solomon, Connor Sexton, Eva Lettau, Abby Courington, and Timothy Mack

    Although cities are composed of a wide array of interconnected dimensions, it’s social dimensions that have the greatest impact on the city individual. Georg Simmel describes modern life’s deepest problem as “the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence against the sovereign powers of society,” which is he attributes to the city’s intellectualistic character of mental life (Simmel 11). The individual develops this quality to protect himself against the domination of the fluctuations and discontinuities of the metropolis and adopts an indifference to all things personal in favor of rational relationships over emotional ones. The authors of “The Urban Social Geography” assert that people are “increasingly being defined by what they consume rather than by traditional factors such as their income, class or ethnic background,” which further establishes the “objective culture” described by Simmel (Paul et al. 54). This money economy dominating metropolises incentivizes individuals to evaluate relationships in terms of utility rather than intimacy, and this superficiality permeates the social environment of cities. Geoffrey West describes in his book “Scale” that the “enhancement of social connectivity and super-linear scaling” popular in the socioeconomic networks of urban environments leads to the contraction and stagnation of social conditions in cities (West 378). It is this sheer scale of population, density, and building size that enables the intellectualistic rationalism of city individuals, and their false sense of freedom and individuality. Simmel holds that “one never feels as lonely and as deserted as in this metropolitan crush of persons,” so why do urbanites interpret their city life as free and individual (Simmel 16)? As the individual’s existence transforms from subjective to objective, they become a cog in the machinations of urban society at the expense of their individuality. Toffler describes this as a paradox, where an individual’s freedom from the liability of personal relationships comes only with the sacrifice of those relationships, leading to fragmentation of the individual’s character. The preference of the metropolitan person for relationships of limited involvement has defined urban individuals in functional terms, where instead of “entangling ourselves with the whole man, we plug into a module of his personality” (Toffler 97). This concept of the disposable person is what Toffler characterizes as the “Modular Man,” where demands are strictly limited, involvement is temporary, and relationships are conditional. In his novel “City of Bits,” W.J. Mitchell claims that as our electronic products increasingly interface with our sensory receptors and physical bodies, they incrementally bridge the gap between our nervous system and the digital world, eventually causing us to become a “modular, reconfigurable, infinitely extensible cyborg” (Mitchell 29-30). Despite this, Toffler believes that although urban social organization is saturated with the temporary and superficial relationships of the Modular Man, it’s possible to establish “long-enduring ties that can flower into real interpersonal involvement” (Toffler 123). In “The Future of Cities,” David Riesman is cited as saying, “without revolutionary changes in society that demand substantial sacrifice, substantial gains in human well-being will not be made,” which Riesman believes is a revival in utopian thinking (Blowers 11). Meyerson elaborates this idea by stating that while utopia describes “a desirable future state without detailing the means of achieving it,” city planning goes a step further by “specifying a desirable future state and also the means of attaining it” (Blowers 11). However, a series of models or maps leading to utopia isn’t enough to achieve it; it requires both leaders and citizens to “participate in utopian thinking… to free men from the restrictions under which they have previously operated” (Blowers 20-21). This means in order to free urban society from the rationalistic intellectualism of the Modular Man, concessions must be made by both individuals and policymakers to subvert the “static, complacent rigidity” of modern urban society (Blowers 21). In his presentation “What Sci-Fi Movies Can Tell Us About Future Cities,” Barry Wilson asserts that while wealth can make us happy, it is also making our planet sick, which in turn diminishes the ability of future humans to live as free individuals. As a solution, humans on a societal level must make the substantial sacrifices described by Riesman to ensure the ability of future cities to exist as utopian metropolises instead of machines that swallow individuals and spit them out.

    Works Cited: “Future of Cities” (Blowers), “The Metropolis and Mental Life” (Simmel), “Future Shock” (Toffler), “Scale” (West), “City of Bits (Mitchell), “Urban Social Geography” (Knox & Pinch), and “What Sci-Fi Movies Can Tell Us About Future Cities” (Barry Wilson)

    1. I find the quote you cite worthy of more scrutiny: “increasingly being defined by what they consume rather than by traditional factors such as their income, class or ethnic background”. Income, class, and ethnic background are intrinsically linked with what people consume; they affect individuals’ purchasing power. That means consumption has become an expression of income, class, and ethnic background. When we define people by what they consume, we make inferences about their income, class, and ethnic background.

  12. Our group believes that city living has a direct impact on the societal behavior of city-dwellers. Sarre focuses on urban planning and how beneficial it could be if planners were to think about urban planning as a utopian process. However, he makes it clear that if planners were to think that the end result needed to be representative of a utopia, it would take away the unique aspects of different cities. Sarre says, “By developing alternative utopias…city planning would not remove the element of caricature. Instead, it would give that element meaning” (Sarre, 2007, pg. 12). If planners focus on a utopian process that expands on the unique characteristics of the particular city, the masses would want to get behind it. However, the next two readings present issues within the ‘masses’ of a city.
    Simmel’s piece, The Metropolis and Mental Life, dives into the inner workings and reasonings behind people’s actions; and how a metropolis setting contributes to these, while Toffler’s piece highlights the dynamics of urban relationships in modern day. For Simmel, the many elements that attribute to daily life for an urbanite are entangled together in constant motion. Urbanites function in this fast-paced environment by remaining guarded as they encounter many obstacles and people on a daily basis; reason being, they are often stereotyped as cold and reserved. Simmel says, “First, one must meet the difficulty of asserting his own personality within the dimensions of metropolitan life” (Simmel, 6). The dimensions make it difficult for city dwellers to outwardly express their personality in public therefore, it is just less difficult to conform to these stereotypes in the urban environment. Toffler, on the other hand, addresses mobility, duration, and technology.
    The main idea behind the piece is that as humans continue to evolve, so does our pace in mobility. This mobility creates relationships that exist temporarily, long-term, or somewhere in between. Technology enhances this rapid mobility which has accelerated the evolution of urban relations by creating a mental barrier for public engagement. On, it talks about cities and how they are installing facial recognition systems nearly everywhere, eliminating the need for social interactions when people should need to show credentials, check in, etc. This only supports the claim that as technology increases, it decreases the amount of social interactions we are exposed to. Essentially, there seems to be a type of social detachment that city-dwellers face which negatively impacts their ability to make meaningful connections, access their personalities, and engage in a community. Without the engagement of the masses the idea of a city’s utopic state cannot be achieved.
    This inability to connect seems to contrast Parag Khanna’s conception of where cities are heading in his TEDtalk “Our Future in Cities.” Khanna believes that megacities are becoming increasingly connected to one another. This interconnectivity of megacities can be seen in the form of social, economic, infrastructural, and other factors that connect megacities around the world. These connections are breaking down geographic barriers and giving way to a more stable, informed, and innovative world. Yet it seems the people in cities grow more detached as the world is becoming more connected.
    We believe this growing disparity between city-dwellers and the city community needs to be closed. Some individuals like Mitchell in City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn, believe this gap can be bridged through the creation of cyborg citizens. Cyborg citizens is the idea that technology will be part of the human make-up so that people will be able to plug into a city. Although the concept of cyborg citizens creates a physical connection between city-dwellers and their city, it fails to bridge the psychological and interpersonal disconnect. Instead, there should be programs to build the community, encourage community involvement, and perhaps incentivize remaining in the community so that people are able to stay long enough to be part of the community, engage with one another, and express their personalities.
    Supporting the same narrative, “Urban Social Geography” focuses on the different values that people hold and norms they adhere to which are subjective to the individual yet are oftentimes drowned out by the urban area. They say of moral landscapes that they provide a “hallucinogenic normality which both reflects and reinforces the implicit values that have been written into the built environment” (Know & Pinch, 42). On the outside looking in, it seems as if urbanites share primarily the same sentiments. However, you’ll find that the majority of individuals will deviate in some form.

    1. In your comment about planners focusing on utopian process that honor the unique characteristics of cities, you are implying that planners are conceiving utopias and the masses’ role is to agree or disagree. While I find any utopian visioning unrealistic, if there is going to be one, the various publics in a community will need to be part of the process through public engagement processes. Naturally, utopias envisioned by different communities would be unique to their circumstances, needs, and aspirations.

      In regards to detachment of city-dwellers and community engagement, technology is making new forms of engagement possible. Various social media platforms are used for community engagement in planning processes.

  13. For this week’s group summary, we will examine the works of Blowers, Hamnett, and Sarre, Simmel, and Toffler. These pieces draw on the social dimensions of a city in a variety of ways.
    The article “The Future of Cities” is concerned with the processes and concepts that are used to formalize the future city. Their analysis of the various terminology used to label a city brings light to the different social constructs that play into the varying language. This article offers an explanation of the development of cities now and going forward. Introducing the discourse of dystopian and utopian cities. The authors note that throughout the years, literature has emphasized the “social goals and quality of life” ever-present in today’s cities.
    Simmel explores the metropolitan psyche. Arguing that the “problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality in the face of overwhelming social forces.” He juxtaposes the outcomes of an individual growing up in a rural lifestyle to an individual influenced by the metropolis. Approaching the relationship between the individuals by thinking deductively from the big picture, which is the city, to the person.
    Toffler expands upon the arguments made by Simmel and remarks on the temporariness ever-present in the evolution of urbanism. Both authors argue that the metropolis embodies the spirit of freedom and the relationships we have with each other are far bounded far less tightly in contrast to those living in rural environments. Toffler explains the intricacies of the quality, forming and keeping of relationships in a city. In a small town where everyone knows each other, relationships can be quite strong with a large number of people. In a city, one can come into contact with thousands of people daily, whether it’s riding the metro, perusing the aisles at the store, your colleagues at work, or friendly neighbors in your apartment building. It’s simply not possible to have strong relationships with all of these people. The group had similar perspectives regarding the readings, especially on Toffler’s piece, which sparked a sense of recognition in our own lives.
    For our additional pieces, we have chosen to analyze the Ted Talks, “How Food Shapes Our Cities,” “Greening the Ghetto,” “What Sci-fi Movies can tell us about future cities,” and “New York’s streets? Not so mean any more.” The sources provided new points of discussion regarding future cities and how this may differ depending on the direction policy makers decide on, either by changing the built environment, or by altering economical processes to bring society closer.
    In “How Food Shapes Our Cities,” Steel makes an interesting point in her presentation when she says “agriculture and cities are bound together” (Ted Talk). The reliance of the city on agriculture and agriculture on the city is critical to survival in many different aspects. Because there is such a strong connection between the two, it is going to be pertinent that agricultural production, processing, and the transferring of goods evolves in more sustainable ways.
    In “Greening the Ghetto,” Carter discusses the environmental injustices taking place in the South Bronx. These injustices are the product of poor planning procedures and careless decision-making. Carter argues, “economic degradation begets environmental degradation which begets social degradation” (Ted Talk). The effect of poor economic choices causes environmental injustices that put an enormous burden on the social structure of the community. In both of these Ted Talks there is a necessity for thoughtful planning procedures that consider the delicate relationship of agriculture and city-life as well as fair and just decision-making that does not subject communities to environmental inadequacies.
    In his Ted Talk, Wilson talks about the future vision of cities – our expectations and their reality. It is a common theme in modern discussions about what the next phase of cities and their infrastructure will look like, often including flying cars and humanoid robots, and they are closer than we expect. Automated car driving programs are already in the phase of testing and may be available in Singapore as soon as the end of this year, and robotic taxi attendants are already happening, so where do we get the idea that these are so far off?
    Many variables contribute to our misunderstanding; such as insufficient policy and unwillingness to change the way things are now. However, Wilson suggests that, because many of the ideas that are being conjured up through the realm of science fiction films and entertainment, we shrug them off as using magical, far away technology that will not be available within our lifetime.
    In “New York’s streets are Not so mean any more,” Sadik-Khan discusses the policies New York has implemented to make the city more walkable, livable, and multimodal. This has not only been a movement for beautification in cities but also of their adaptation to new eras. Times Square has had various pilot programs in the past fifty years. Even though they have yielded poor results the latest solution to block off the 2.5-acre pedestrian area is promising. By giving people a place to relax, as well as improving traffic around the space, the concept, executed by Snohetta, has transformed the street into a multi-faceted public space.

    1. As pointed out in the summary, it is not possible to develop relationships with all the people we interact with. But is it even necessary to do so? How many relationships does one need in one’s life to have social relationships that contributes to quality of life?

      The injustices mentioned in the TED Talk (Greening the Ghetto) are not only poor planning procedures. They are also a product of racial and class realities that impact planning processes.

  14. The readings for this section of the course relate to the social dimensions of the city, and how cities affect the individual in many profound ways. In The Future of Cities by Blowers, Hamnett, and Sarre, the concept of utopia is discussed. However, instead of focusing on the components of a utopia, the authors discuss the creation or planning process of one. Specifically, it is argued that flexibility in the planning process of a utopia is absolutely necessary. This is to account for any unexpected surprises that happen, as any society is bound to have them unless “a repressive tyranny limits individual integrity. Although capitalism has shifted the focus solely to wealth accumulation, the authors argue that if man were placed in the right setting, he would naturally prepare for a utopia as one would “expect” him to. The authors point out that man has been additionally pressured in recent years due to the realization that global population is nearing 10 billion, and the change has been reflected in the planning process. While our group agreed with most of the components of this reading, we disagreed with the assertion made by the authors that man is well-equipped to make the smooth transition to smart cities. This reading made our group think of the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This novel is a perfect example of how oftentimes those in charge, in an attempt to create a utopia, end up subjugating an entire group of people and creating a dystopia in its place. Our group agreed that this novel is proof that sometimes, in the planning process that is used to envision a utopia, a negative outcome is introduced. This seems to be direct support for Blowers, Hamnett, and Sarre claim that the process in planning a utopia is more important than the final outcome.
    In The Metropolis and Mental Life, Georg Simmel wanted to convey how cities affect humans, specifically how humans react to the enhanced stimuli that city life presents. In his work, two important concepts were introduced- the “protective organ” and “objective and subjective spirits.” First, Georg Simmel argues that in order to protect himself or herself, a city dweller, due to repetitive exposure to nervous stimulation, will naturally develop a shield behind which he or she hides the true, raw self. He subsequently argues that there is a sharp contrast between those who live in the city and those residing in rural areas. Our group disagreed about the rationale behind this idea. The idea of the protective organ, while insightful, seems to overgeneralize the experience that city-dwellers have. The second concept that Simmel discussed was the idea of “objective and subjective spirits,” and this was essentially the idea that rapid, transient city life causes the people who live there to smother their personalities and damage them “beyond repair.” The concepts presented by Georg Simmel were very similar to the movie Her, directed by Spike Jonze. In this film, the protagonist embraces his “protective organ” to the extreme, seeking love from an Artificial Intelligence rather than from real people.
    In Future Shock, by Toffler, the concept of the “modular man” is discussed. Similar to Simmel, Toffler deals with the relationships that city dwellers have with each other, but it is slightly different. Toffler analyzes the duration of said relationships, and he assets that it is no coincidence that often relationships burn bright, then burn out. He argues that, especially for the urban man, the duration of interpersonal relationships is rather short. “For just as things and places flow through our lives at a faster clip, so, too, do people.” This reading can be connected to the TedTalk “Greening of the Ghetto.” In this TedTalk, potential sustainable development of the South Bronx area is discussed. Due to many barriers, this area has not been able to improve substantially. Our group discussed that this could be due to the “modular man” idea that Toffler introduced. Planners could potentially, unintentionally, disregard human safety when considering policy, due to the distance in human relationships that city-related stimuli have caused.

    1. Why does the group think society is not well-equipped to make the smooth-transition to smart cities?

      Race and class are some of the reasons why planning disregards the needs of communities of color and low-income. If the example discussed in the Greening of the Ghetto were as a result of the distance in human relationships arising from the nature of the city, wouldn’t we have seen such issues across the board in all communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, and class?

  15. Group 6

    In this section of the Future Cities, we continue learning about various aspects of city life by analyzing sources that emphasize the social dimensions of cities. Below is a summary of the perspectives of different authors we have explored in addition to our own insights gained from the readings.
    One way to consider social dimensions of urban places is by examining how and why humans form relationships. Future Shock suggests that we form superficial relationships with some and wholesome relationships with others. In order for us to function in a fast-paced environment, we must form many superficial, or “limited,” relationships with people who we do not necessarily need to be close with. We do this by only associating with certain “modules” of people’s personalities. In doing this we are then able to reserve those deep, meaningful relationships for a select few who truly know us for who we are. This is an important concept in urban social dynamics because it relieves us from the pressure of too many connections.
    As we become more reliant on technology, it starts to become more influential in our lives. Mitchell’s book Cyborg Citizens, and Spike Jonez’s film Her, demonstrate futuristic utopias in which humans are completely entranced by the advancement of technology. In Cyborg Citizens Mitchell claims that as our dependence on technology increases it becomes apart of us and our environment. Similarly, Her shows us what the future looks like in terms of our relationships with computers. When a man develops a romantic relationship with his computer, he feels like “she” is a real person because she is so technologically advanced that “she” can actually talk to him the same way humans interact. A common theme throughout these sources is a claim that as technology becomes more influential, our social dynamics within urban spaces change drastically. The more we rely on technology as our method for connecting with people, the more we lose the interpersonal connections we so desperately need to function as healthy, well-rounded human beings.
    In The Metropolis and Mental Life, Georg Simmel provides an in-depth account of human interconnectivity with the places that we live, highlighting themes associated with urban environments. In a metropolis, logic and intellect control the mental psyche, forming a “protective organ” that allows inhabitants to adapt and buffer against the external and internal stimuli fostered by constantly changing urban conditions. Additionally, the social attitude formed as a result of the development of “protective organ” does not prompt the person to invest time or emotion into getting to know others, causing cold and reluctant personalities among metropolis dwellers. On a different note, however, our group found the article Science Fiction Cities very informative because most of the futuristic movies that we observe influence urban design from a physical and aesthetic perspective. In Dubai, we can see architectural and technological elements that are prominent in films such as Metropolis and Blade Runner. Using the concept of vertical building, future cities will contain buildings that extend further upward, which is a trend we can ironically thank science fiction films for.
    Sarre of Blowers, Hamnett, and Sarre in The Future of Cities opens for Martin Meyerson with principles of Utopianism in regards to the future of city planning. He considers that most utopias are concentrated on the state of its society and not the functions of the metropolis itself. While the pursuit of happiness being the ultimate goal, we would say this must also ultimately pair well with the utility of Utopia as well. Meyerson speaks of Thomas More’s Utopia causing not only the ideas of utopias to spark in interested minds but also the schism between the physical design elements and the social design elements. It should be realized that they are both are crucial to the building of perfect Utopias and that they may not live in the vacuums in the minds holding strict interpretations. The irreverence of not seeing each side’s viewpoint is present in today’s society, in regard to cell phone usage replacing many physical activities we used to take part in. Paying for the bus used to require counting change for the fare, paying the fare, and at times asking the bus driver for directions. There are now processes that are automated or can solely be completed on a cellphone. Greenfield in Radical Technologies goes on the question, the construction, purposes, and qualities which caused for the rapid worldwide adoption of cellphones into our societies, representing one of the various social dimensions of our future.

  16. This week in Future of Cities we learned about what makes up the modern man in society. Georg Simmel in the Metropolis and Mental Life discusses the differences found in the psychology of the city and small town man. City folks tend to view relationships as a numbers game, how much is my time worth. While a small town individual would build relationships on feelings and trust. City people treat interactions with a blase attitude and great reserve, where a small town man puts great value in interactions and gets to know each person on an individual level. Simmel shows that our psychology tends to reflect our environment.

    This same psychology is reflected in how we value our food. Someone in a rural environment will appreciate the work that goes into feeding a city much more than a city person would. In the Ted Talk, how food shapes our cities by Carolyn Steel she discusses our movement away from our food sources as cities grow. Agriculture and urbanism have gone together since the ancient Fertile Crescent. These two things rely on one another, cities need the farmers to grow the food and feed their increasing populations. Farmers need cities to provide a market for their goods and provide the services they need. Cities were constrained by their geography but now we compartmentalize everything. The Modular man, as Toffler puts it doesn’t care were his apples come from or that the cashier is saving money for college. They simply care that they have fresh, fast, convenient food.

    Toffler makes a similar argument to Simmel in much easier to understand way. The modern man is in a life based on constant transient living in one place for 2-5 years then moving to the next. We have a tendency to reduce people to their essential functions in our lives, a modular man. From family members, friends, colleague to the starbucks barista we categorize and view relationships in a temporal nature. Amanda Burden in the Ted Talk, how public spaces make cities work tries to break down some of these social barriers humans have had to develop living in urban areas. Her studies have centered around how cities use public spaces, what attracts people to them and makes them stay. Something not addressed by Toffler or Simmel is how the addition of green spaces can affect the psyche of this modern man they describe. Are deeper ties formed to the area or between people when spaces are built for people to come together and enjoy themselves?

    Blowers, Hamnet and Sare in The Future of Cities is quite different from Toffler and Simmel. They layout the various ways we view future cities in literature. Visionary, show the future as it ought to be. Forecaster, shows a future that could occur if current trends continue. The future of urban form, what likely trends and urbanization representing all interests and finally, as an individual inhabiting the city of the future. We agreed that utopias in a general sense are too idealistic but steps can be taken to create cities designed for efficiency, equity, community and opportunity. The podcast “Knight Cities” by Joe Cortright describes it best how cities can be created with such qualities by avoiding concentrating poverty, building up more mixed-income neighborhoods, and creating more public spaces for people to interact.

    Regardless, after completing all of the readings for this week we found that the majority of them portray cities and their residents as those living as selfish individuals focused on their own worlds, even if this is necessary to maintain sanity in the chaos. This provides them a sense of freedom different from that felt in a small town or a rural area to abide by social expectations. These readings bring up something we often see in society today, a strive to be seen as an individual. The compartmentalizing Toffler and Simmel address doesn’t seem to sit well with Millennials and Generation Z. Perhaps the rise of social media and other modern technologies has changed or modified these behaviors.

    1. What do you mean by “the compartmentalizing Toffler and Simmel address doesn’t seem to sit well with Millennials and Generation Z.”? What doesn’t sit well? And, “Perhaps the rise of social media and other modern technologies has changed or modified these behaviors.” Changed or modified in what ways?

    2. Explain comments like “Someone in a rural environment will appreciate the work that goes into feeding a city much more than a city person would” needs some explaining. How do we know this and why is that the case?

  17. Group 8: Social Dimensions Summary

    Cities are intensifying mechanisms. This becomes increasingly apparent in social dimensions because they bring many people, interests, and opportunities into a single location. Cities are not centers of leisurely activities. Interactions are often quick and focused. They imply a sense of urgency, which directly impacts social relationships.

    This intensification is seen throughout the development of urban societies. Urban and Social Geography highlights how urban communities assume a pivotal job in the development of societies. These societies focus on ‘lifestyles,’ which develop from the values that individuals hold, the standards that they pursue, and the material articles that they use (Knox and Pinch, 2014). In addition, the procedures at work in urban communities have both formed, and been molded by, institutional systems. Both the law and the changing financial base have important ramifications for city life. Our group believes that this deeply affects how individuals are separated or grouped, which influences social interactions.

    With the evolution of the urban society, a brand new word “utopia” was coined. The term refers to the imagined world of perfect “harmony” (Blowers, Hamnett, and Sarre, Ch. 1, 2014). The industrial revolution added more interpretation to the term. However, problems emerged that influenced an anti-utopia. Utopian ideals influence city planning. Our group sees this planning effort as a perfect opportunity to emphasize the “harmony” of social relationships.

    When dreaming of this utopia, people imagined what life might be like in the future. Several things have altered this reality, including technology. Transportation can affect the distance between the office and home (Blowers, Hamnett, and Sarre, Ch. 5, 2014). However, the improvement of the Internet means that people now have the opportunity to work at home. Social relationships are influenced by this interaction with technology. We believe this can benefit social interactions, but also takes away the personal aspect of face-to-face conversations.

    City of Bits expands upon this idea further by discussing how human bodies are being entwined with technology and evolving towards an era of cyborgs (Mitchell, 1996). He discusses how we are becoming one with technology and more like everyday utensils. The comparison of human beings with technology emphasizes an important component of social relationships. We believe this shows how many people are willing to compare interactions and relationships to tasks, similar to how a computer does. This takes out the traditional, emotional response.

    Urban societies have also created a metropolitan mindset that affects relationships. Relationships take place in fleeting moments with particular objectives. Individuals have to exaggerate their personalities so they can be relevant (Simmel, 1950). Our group takes a critical stance on this topic. We believe that many relationships do have to be short and fleeting. However, we believe that there needs to be a greater focus on creating meaningful relationships. We don’t need to have exaggerated personalities, we need to work on connecting with many humans on a deeper level.

    In Future Shock, Toffler analyzed the temporariness of human relationships. These short-term relationships are compounded in a city environment. With a focus on functionality, man is viewed as a modular being (Toffler, 1970). This gives the individual a lot of freedom. However, it also requires tremendous responsibility. Our group agreed that this is very evident in city life. We have experienced similar situations in college because we are surrounded by an ever-changing group of professors, friends, etc. The group also believes that it is important to be aware of this temporal aspect and work to ensure that we still maintain meaningful relationships with select individuals.

    Common personal items like watches, calendars, and money have been dematerialized and consolidated into the common smartphone. This has affected how we socialize. We now have fewer spontaneous interactions with others and are less interdependent (Greenfield, 2017). Our interactions are highly structured, and one could argue that we have fewer short-duration relationships. This is contrary to the argument that a majority of our interactions are short-term (Toffler, 1970). While phones may increase our ability to maintain long-distance connections, they can decrease the quality or intimacy of those relations. Again, our group believes that this could be detrimental to society.

    How will this affect cities in the future? Our group believes that only time will be able to tell. We believe there needs to be a focus on sustained, meaningful relationships that will balance out the short, functional relationships that dominate today. Cities will continue to intensify relationships and be centers of complexity. It is up to us to decide how that will affect our relationships and actions.

    Required Reading:

    Blowers, A., Hamnett, C., & Sarre, P. (2014). The Future of Cities. Routledge. Chapter 1 (pp. 1-22).
    Simmel, Georg. (1950). The Metropolis and Mental Life, The Sociology of Georg Simmel. New York: Free Press, 409-424.
    Toffler, A. (1970). Future Shock. Bantam. Chapter 6. (pp. 95-123).
    Optional Reading:

    Blowers, A., Hamnett, C., & Sarre, P. (2014). The Future of Cities. Routledge.
    Chapter 5 (pp.281-309).

    Greenfield, A. (2017). Radical technologies: The design of everyday life. Verso Books.
    Smartphone: The networking of self, Chapter 1 (pp.9-30).

    Knox, P., & Pinch, S. (2014). Urban Social Geography: An Introduction. Routledge. Chapters 3-5, and 14.

    Mitchell, W. J. (1996). City of Bits: Space, Place and the Infobahn. MIT press. Cyborg Citizens, Chapter 3 (pp. 26-44).

    1. So how does a “focus on sustained, meaningful relationships that will balance out the short, functional relationships that dominate today” happen? And by “It is up to us to decide how that will affect our relationships and actions,” does “us” mean us individually or us as a society?

    2. Actually, cities are centers of leisurely activities. There are museums, cinemas, bars and restaurants, and many, many more facilities for leisurely activities than there. What I suspect you meant was city-dwellers have less downtime and their interactions as a result are transactional and to the point.

      What are some of the problems that influenced an anti-utopian sentiment?
      The summary seems to imply that it is the role of planning to bring harmony of social relationships. How does planning take such a role?

  18. GROUP 5
    The Future of Cities discusses the history of urbanization, and how time has changed the ways in which urban development has occurred. In particular it discusses different schools of thought, including those who focus on projection and those who focus on goal setting. It’s also important to note that the authors include implications about how projection and goal setting work with and against each other. They claim that projection makes setting goals possible, but setting goals can shape the way that we perceive the future. I agree with this, in that I find there to be room for both in terms of how a planner should think. Moving forward, I also found it important that the authors described ways in which projections from historic planners shaped the way that we use cities, even today. Le Corbusier in specific predicted the ways in which technology such as the telephone and cars would shape the future of cities in ways that we had never seen at the time. I enjoyed the references to planners of the past, and thought that this chapter was a good way to frame planning the future as less of a “new” thing and more of a concept that we can find a lot of historical evidence to assist us with.
    In the reading, The Metropolis and Mental Life by Georg Simmel throws light on elucidating the “modern aspects of contemporary life with reference to their inner meaning.” In this part of the reading, several notable themes of urban living are highlighted. Simmel answers his question of how the personality accommodates itself in the adjustments to external forces by noting the adjustments and modifications made by people in response to external forces. Simmel discusses one of the most important ideas in the work, namely that urban conditions necessitate the creation of a “protective organ.” Due to the intensification of external and internal sensual stimuli in the city as compared to a rural setting, the metropolis forces its citizens in a situation where one must buffer him or herself from a constantly changing environment. The protection provided by this organ manifests itself as logic and intellect rise. In other words, life becomes less important and more practical, with little consideration to emotional concerns. This pattern defines life in the city, and sharply contrasts with the emphasis on personal relationships characteristic of smaller settings. Another really interesting concept I learnt in the reading was the blasé attitude. It elucidates the fact that a city life is full of new stimulations occurring at various frequencies and intensities, which excite the nerves of a human being to the highest level of reactivity. However, prolonged exposure causes a sensory overload exhausting energy sources in the body. This results in an inability to react to new stimuli with similar levels of energy and is defined as the blasé mind-set which is unique to metropolitan society.
    General connections:
    Blowers → how do we achieve utopia? Do the below factors hinder utopian characteristics?
    Simmel → the rapid change that occurs in a city requires a specific “organ” that prevents one from being uprooted; we cannot mentally have a ton of relationships
    Toffler→ the constant change in city life creates fleeting experiences & intimate relationships are hard to form
    Overarching themes: rural vs. urban personal connection
    In Future Shock, Bantam, Toffler analyzes the effects of busy city life on the formation and maintenance of personal and impersonal relationships. Population growth, and specifically growth in urban areas, has lead the modern urbanite to encounter a huge amount of people on a day to day basis. This influx of contact with people has led to more limited involvement relationships that may not benefit one socially- a drastic difference from that of a rural, small town society, where everyone knows everyone. Modular relationships, or the relationships formed solely to serve a purpose (i.e. restaurant server, mailman, etc.), where the demands are “strictly bound” (Toffler, 98), are more common in the life of someone who lives in the city simply because they have more opportunities to experience this type of relationship with different people. Toffler highlights Simmel’s work by including the idea that the urban man or woman simply cannot “involve” themselves fully with every person they encounter, for the sheer number of people they meet is too high for this to happen. Instead, they must choose which relationships to “nourish and cultivate” (Toffler, 98). Furthermore, he argues that this increase in relationships leads to a decrease in the duration of relationships. Simmel might argue that this is due to the psychic phenomenon of a “blase attitude” in which someone ceases to react to any sort of stimuli they receive because their brain has been, in some sense, overloaded.
    In the reading, The Metropolis and Mental Life by Georg Simmel throws light on elucidating the “modern aspects of contemporary life with reference to their inner meaning.” In this part of the reading, several notable themes of urban living are highlighted. Simmel answers his question of how the personality accommodates itself in the adjustments to external forces by noting the adjustments and modifications made by people in response to external forces. Simmel discusses one of the most important ideas in the work, namely that urban conditions necessitate the creation of a “protective organ.” Due to the intensification of external and internal sensual stimuli in the city as compared to a rural setting, the metropolis forces its citizens in a situation where one must buffer him or herself from a constantly changing environment. The protection provided by this organ manifests itself as logic and intellect rise. In other words, life becomes less important and more practical, with little consideration to emotional concerns. This pattern defines life in the city, and sharply contrasts with the emphasis on personal relationships characteristic of smaller settings. Another really interesting concept I learnt in the reading was the blasé attitude. It elucidates the fact that a city life is full of new stimulations occurring at various frequencies and intensities, which excite the nerves of a human being to the highest level of reactivity. However, prolonged exposure causes a sensory overload exhausting energy sources in the body. This results in an inability to react to new stimuli with similar levels of energy and is defined as the blasé mind-set which is unique to metropolitan society.
    The previously summarized excerpts, specifically Toffler and Simmel, describe a shared circumstance of physic overload, as defined by Wirthian theory in the Urban Social Geography Book (USGB, Knox, 149). The condition is a result of collective mental health no longer being capable of handling stimulus levels in highly dense cities. According to the USGB, exponentially increasing populations can lead to anxiety and nervous strain on the urban network. Over time, the process generates a community of desensitized residents who adapt to, or accept, such conditions as daily life. This may also referred to as the blase attitude, commonly associated with urbanites. Modern qualities of living is drastically different to that of early rural settlers, or even highly suburban dwellers; they lived at a density that does not supply as much exposure to stimulus which may be considered threatening. When people lose interpersonal connection, they are not as inclined to participate social contracts holding them from egotistical behavior and emotional support. In order to build a city with some semblance of utopia, it has been proposed that the space we inhabit should afford us the opportunity to sustain better relationships. This may be achieved by developing fruitful spatial practices. Harvey’s Grid (Knox 199) is an approach that takes into regard how places are constructed, experienced, and represented as they form symbolic spaces. Considerations involve decisions about accessibility and distraction, appropriation, domination and control, and production of space. Combinations of these design values encourage questions about human perception in the built environment, and possess a self awareness of how stakeholders can manipulate them for communal gain.
    In today’s world it is easy to see that a smartphone is arguably the most important physical device that one could possess. We have everything on our phones that we use to carry separately in our pockets, wallets, t-shirts, or even shoes. I remember going to class in elementary school and math teachers would stress about us relying too much on calculators. They would always assume and say the same things along the line of “you’re not going to have a calculator in your pocket all the time!” They couldn’t have been more wrong under the present times. Not only do we have calculators in the palm of our hands but we have a phone, camera, social media, connections with people across the globe who also possess a smartphone. The modern day smartphone has changed the era quite drastically, we have emergency numbers, contacts, information all within a compact device. Perhaps the most underutilized accessible thing in the palms of hands in the ability to seek out information. We google things like never before, we use the information at hand like never before, from looking up recipes on the go, to ordering a ride out of time all from this device. It’s truly a masterpiece of our time and they are only improving more and more with time. I am getting more and more curious about the future and what other technologies will bring with it.
    Generally, it’s interesting to connect the readings within their social implications. The group felt as if it was important to consider both the ways in which humans operate within different forms, but how forms connect to functions in a city context. Working towards achieving better ecology so that people can live in better harmony is important in this situation.

    1. Setting goals shapes the future but should there room left for things to organically evolve?
      Generally speaking, city-smarts/street-smarts is an attribute city-dwellers posses. Is it a function of the logic and intellect George Simmel speaks of?

  19. It’s not exactly clear what you mean by “consider both the ways in which humans operate within different forms, but how forms connect to functions in a city context. Working towards achieving better ecology so that people can live in better harmony is important in this situation.” What do you mean by “forms” and “functions”? And what is a “better ecology”?

  20. Group 7 Summary – Economy

    For this week’s group summary, we will examine the works of Knox and Pinch along Naisbitt. These pieces focus on globalization and the how economies around the world influence, work against, and work with one another.

    Knox and Pinch talk about various economic structures throughout history and how they have affected cities, primarily in the U.S. Before industrialization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, cities were by definition, walkable. However, the social structure was different in that the higher classes lived in the center of the city while the lower classes lived on the outer edges. Going into the industrial era, this structural model that existed previously flipped, allowing the lower classes to live in low quality housing in the center of the city, while the higher classes lived on the outer edges of the city. In more recent times, cities have become completely reestablished and connected as a result of globalization leading to increased competition over shared resources and more distinct social class structures in design. As cities continue to evolve and encourage trends of globalization, these distinct economic and social qualities of a city are likely to become more apparent.

    In Naisbitt’s writing, he argues that we, as a society and as a nation should focus on the future of the United State’s growth in technology and not in industry if we want to continue to remain competitive on a global scale. The goal is no longer to be number one, but rather to maintain a sense of innovation and creativity that continues to propel the U.S. economy forward at the same pace as its competitors. Therefore, it would be wise for the U.S. and other dominant economic and political forces around the world to embrace the ideas and potential for developing countries to assume similar positions as a means of furthering human expansion and bettering societies around the world. This piece was in support of globalization as it serves as a means of cultural, financial, social, and political exchange among society.

    For the additional pieces, we have chosen to analyze the Ted Talk, “How to protect fast-growing cities from failing,” “Why the world needs charter cities,” “What Sci fi movies can tell us about future cities”, and Marvel Studio and Disney’s Black Panther. In Muggah’s Ted Talk, “How to protect fast-growing cities from failing,” he talks about how utilizing increased communication techniques and data profiles showing where crime has most happened in the past, cities can implement various strategies to become safer, more inclusive, and more livable for everyone, all in hopes that economies are better able to prosper and standard of living is suitable.

    Paul Romer’s Talk on “charter cities” touches on the importance of partnerships between nations. Interestingly, Naisbitt also focuses on global interdependence in his chapter on Megatrends. Romer explained that the relationship between China and Britain is a good example of a bond that “inadvertently” did more for those living in poverty than all of the relief programs of the last century. This goes hand in hand with Naisbitt’s assertion that interdependence is so important because “aid is not charity; it is investment” (75).

    Barry Wilson’s Ted talk explores how in efforts to react to climate change, bringing about the change and allowing people to expect the change, Hollywood and its depictions of our future world may have some insight on how our future cities will be like if they adapt appropriately. Along with these Hollywood depictions, certain technologies – like autonomous aerial vehicles in China – are the proof that cities are going to change and are going to need to change if societies are to accommodate these new ways of life. The major point of Wilson’s talk is that times are changing quickly and cities will become the best hubs to witness this when the large array of technologies are considered and the economy reflects that.

    In the 2019 film, Black Panther, the discussion of resource isolation versus global benefit is discussed. The nation of Wakanda is displayed to the world as a Third-World-Country, however, they are actually a nation of high-level technology and harness vibranium, a metal with incredible thermodynamic properties, to drive their society forward. The topic that most struck us was the idea of isolation by the means of resource allocation as Wakanda treasures their high-tech society and hides it from the world. This presents the debate of regulating resource use on the global economy: is it ethical for a country to store more resources than they need to operate? What consequences can come of a imbalance of resource regulation? Moreover, the film points to the central idea that in globalization, cities must learn to communicate with the rest of the world if they are to survive.

    1. Is aid also a foreign-policy strategy more than investment?
      Does the group agree or disagree with the points of views raised in the reading?

  21. The field of Economics has structured our societies to be consistent in terms of what we consume, produce, and overall, do. The history of technological progression has led to the creation of social classes and wealth segregation. We must explore our options as they will lead into the future economies we will soon be living in. With this in mind, we learned from Urban Social Geography, the industrial revolution drastically and permanently changed how cities looked and functioned in many aspects. What was once a an elitist central core has slowly become a central hub for economic activity and environmental degradation–sending the elites outward into the periphery of the city. This transition has contributed, over time, to an influx of economic activity that has become increasingly interconnected throughout the urban land. This influx of economic activity–although a positive thing– has coincided with some negative impacts to our urban areas due to the sprawling layout of cities. Another side effect that has become of our modern cities, and in keeping with the theme of the built environment, is the degradation of many buildings that we see in urban areas. Stewart Brand in his documentary How Buildings Learn suggests that many modern architects lack the understanding of biomimicry, as well as building buildings that will last and will work well for human functions. These negative impacts prove that although the post-industrial revolution city may have a more vibrant economic core, it has been neglected in keeping with other important sustainability issues. Similar to the segregation observed in cities through the Knox and Pinch reading, economist Joe Cortright in Knight Cities illustrates the exclusiveness and ethical boundaries that many of our American cities have, but more importantly focuses on the economic gap neighborhoods currently have, that continue to increase. As a solution to the issue, he believes that planners should pursue developments that promote equity through the idea of mixed-income and mixed-use communities. This will not only allow less affluent households and individuals to have more economic opportunities but lead to fewer areas that are stricken with poverty with little chance of recovery. In the same but somewhat different manner, the podcast Open data and the Sustainable Development Goals encourages equity through a technological sense. By way of open data, developing countries around the world will not only have the ability to implement and monitor their progress of meeting the new sustainable development goals in their cities, but ultimately have the opportunity to participate in a global system that involves the exchange of information as well as financial resources. These advances require a double take on what technologies have allowed to occur in cities in the past and must they change with or against current cities. With this we must ask, “Do cities have a future?” Peter Marcuse’s answer in The Imperiled Economy: Through the Safety Net, is “Possibly, but not in the way we now consistently and reliably believe in.” While we currently gauge consumer interests and patterns of consumption through an economic lens, we must go further than the historic puzzle pieces, built from traditional institutions and jobs. Advancing with our future by way of industrialization, competition, and specialization, of the traditional aspects, allowed for a generation of greater wealth and greater wellbeing of our societies. With this, Economies amassed and boomed over the realm of institutions we created. The wealth and profits allowed for the creations of cities in their form of interconnectedness in their markets. From the perspective of Naisbitt in Megatrends Cities and our societies are quite grounded on principle economics. But we have progressed into new sectors just as Marcuse stated, no longer aching to be the world’s number one economy. Nations no longer live in solo economic spheres. While our two great inventions of the telegraph and railroad greatly rocketed ourselves out as an economic leader, our future technological inventions are meant to improve and create more in non-economic terms. We are self-aware on our society and how we affect one another, not blind to many different insights and perspectives. In all, while we may learn from the past, we believe that we are taking many more strides in improving our social wellbeing. Ultimately through all this our past is something to constantly consider, but only with the evenhandedness of our current sensibilities and best practices in economics, because what more do we have than the past, present, and future (cities)?

    1. It is more convincing to argue that advancement in technological can exacerbate social class and wealth segregation instead of stating that it has led to their creation.

      The challenge countries in the Global South still face regarding benefiting from what open data enables is the collection of the data in the first place: to benefit from it, you have to have it. Resources and expertise, which are not found in abundance , are important to collect data.

  22. From these readings, our group identified two core themes revolving around the relationship between cities and economics. The core readings by Nesbitt and Knox & Pinch explored the themes of 1) How economic growth has impacted cities and 2) How cities have impacted economic growth. These themes were further explored in our four supplementary materials Blade Runner (1982), The City as a Cultural Center, What SciFi Movies can Teach Us About Future Cities TedX talk, and How Megacities are Changing the Map of the World TedX talk. The information presented by these authors, directors, and speakers, helped us to question what consequences cities face as a result of economic growth and principles.

    The first theme that my group explored was how economic growth and principles have impacted cities in the past. Cities, especially industrial cities, are a result of their economic contexts and systems. This has always been the case. In Urban Social Geography by Knox and Pinch, the authors show how cities have spatially developed as a result of their economic systems. This article explained how ties between wealth and citizens have influenced the spatial pattern of settlement within cities, including occupational clustering and core groups. This spatial pattern is not only sourced from pre-industrial and industrial cities, but it is also seen in today’s cities. The end of the chapter by noting that in today’s city, service-industry workers are constantly at the mercy of wealthy finance industry employees. This economic tension has led to social conflicts and inequality.

    This idea of city-wide gross inequality as a result of economic growth is also seen through the film Blade Runner (1982). This film explores a future city without any future. In this movie, the city is plagued with new technological innovation. Typically, as economic growth increases, people are expected to be well off. However, this is not the case in the film. Similarly, the article The City as Cultural Center also noted the social and spatial inequities which developed from rapid industrialization and capitalism. Finally, this was also explored in the Ted talk What SciFi Movies Can Tell Us About Future Cities. One theme from this video is that economic wealth can make us happy, but ultimately harms the planet and our cities. This adds an environmental consideration about how growth impacts our cities climate. These two videos question the widely believed notion that economic growth will lead to a prosperous city.

    The second theme that my group explored was how cities themselves impact economic growth. This was first explored in the Naisbitt chapter in Megatrends. This chapter explored past economic trends that led to the growth and development of cities today. Most notably this chapter spoke to cities which specialized in manufacturing, steel and electronics production and how they led to explosive economic growth in both developed and less developed countries. This shows that economic specialization in local cities can propel individual countries to economic stardom.

    This idea was also explored in the Ted talk How Megacities are Changing the Map of the World. In this talk, the speaker, Khanna, explores how cities and their own economic specializations are creating world peace through trade deals and relationships across the globe. Khanna’s train of thought is that where truly global megacities will soon be more relevant than the countries that they reside in. This, in turn, will allow cities to have more political clout to develop global relationships. Global mega-cities will have the ability to promote economic growth through their relationships with each other.

    The two themes identified by my group are somewhat opposing. In the first theme, economic growth seems to be the culprit of social unrest and inequality. However, in the second, cities experiencing economic growth seem to have the power to promote and encourage global peace. As cities develop they will have to balance both of these ideas in order to be equitable. Economic growth can promote global peace, but only after they create internal peace. Learning about these two prominent themes have helped to show that economics must be considered when planning for the future of our cities.

    1. Which countries can you give as an example under each theme?

      Make sure the language of your post reflects that this work a group effort. Mind phrases like “my group”.

  23. John Naisbitt’s article From a National Economy to a World Economy, is an interesting forecast of economic trends which was written in the early 1980’s. It describes how the United States is no longer the world leader in economics and industry. Naisbitt continues on to explain that measuring a country’s success based on industry alone is no longer possible. Also different than ever before, countries are shifting to a much more interdependent model. This is in regard to resources and businesses, but much more importantly, for information. With increased accessibility to information, and streamlined communication systems, ideas and information can be shared like never before. An interesting part of the article that our group has differing opinions on is when he describes how increasing a country’s interdependence across the globe, will lead to that country becoming more decided when it comes to its culture and language. Some of us found that we disagree with his philosophy, and that sharing of information comes hand in hand with sharing languages and culture to ease communication. On the other hand, others with a more first-hand perspective with a different culture sees an increase in interdependency leading to a spiked interest in their own unique culture. One example from our group is in Kenya where radio and television encourage people to engage in more local content. It was interesting to learn about this differing perspective from one of our group members.
    Urban Social Geography by Paul Knox and Steven Pinch describes demographic and social changes seen in urban environments from the 19th-20th century. In the 50s and 60s, women stayed at home, there were lower divorce rates, and higher birth rates. Since then, women have taken a leading role in the workforce, gained increased access to family planning and education. To understand how these demographics, play out spatially the author describes different approaches to human geography. The quantitative approach looks at data more statistically, whereas the behaviorist approach looks at people’s decision-making. The structuralist approach looks at underlying universal structures that govern our human behavior, while the post-structuralist approach is opposed to the idea that the world can be explained by a single structure with inequalities in the world.
    In Peter Marcuse’s Do Cities Have a Future?, it describes how cities are now entering a “revitalization” period. Similarly to the economist’s predictions of world market growth, they can only make predictions as accurate as their information data sets. What happens next when looking at a city’s future depends on how the conflicts among various forces align or not, and if decisions are made to help short-term or long-term goals.
    The Truman Show was filmed in 1998 starring Jim Carrey, where he lives in an idealistic small island town. He was adopted by a corporation at birth and raised in a soap opera in which he stars 24/7. He believes this to be a normal life for himself and is unaware his life is being broadcasted. Truman is trapped in a world beyond his control where he struggles against inner and outer pressure to de-individualize and conform to the ideas of his small town. This film provides a similar theme to interdependence within the world economy and how this can lead to discontent when comparing smaller municipalities to the vast world economy.
    In Edward Glaeser’s Ted Talk titled It’s Time to Embrace Our Cities, he argues for the value of cities through impacting economic output and income of entire countries. Cities are the powerhouses of the economy. Glaser states that countries that have more than 50% of their inhabitants in urban areas, have incomes more than 5 times higher, and even lower infant mortality levels. We are in agreement with Glaser’s stance where he stresses the need to rethink policies that encourage better design of cities for the future. Congestion pricing, investment in human capital, densification, and sustainability are ideas that cities should begin to use to ensure a more prosperous future.

    1. When sharing languages and cultures take place, is it one directional or flows in both directions? If the first one, what is it dependent on?

  24. Our group believes that the economic aspect of cities has changed over time. According to the video “Future Cities,” the city “can be modeled in terms of stocks and flows.” This presents the prevalence and importance of a city’s economy. Knox & Pinch focus on the huge implications of mapping out the social geography of cities. I found parallels from the pre-industrial times to present-day Blacksburg, Virginia. In pre-industrial times, the elites who were involved in the church and businesses in the city center lived downtown. The convenience was a commodity. The working class lived outside the city. We see the same thing with Blacksburg, where the students and the professors primarily reside within town limits. Janitorial and dining hall staff are forced to live outside of Blacksburg. In both cases, the demographic which makes the lesser amount of money is forced to travel the most with the wealthier having the convenience of not having to travel near as far. This trend goes into Peter Marcuse’s view regarding the formation and dynamic that cities exist from. Marcuse suggests that cities are developed by socioeconomic class around a city center which favors the wealthy; rather than the conventional approach that suggest residents inhabit areas based on preference. This development strategy recognizes the power of capital, which has curated the premise for how cities operate today: Under full dictation of wealth. Our group agrees with Marcuse’s point on implementation of stricter laws for concerns like gentrification; which currently allows for disadvantaging original residents in modern cities. We believe that the absurd financial growth in cities will be stabilized with tighter policy. This will enable those with little financial power to strengthen their social position in their cities, especially regarding their housing situations.

    Of course, the economic factors affecting a city are not just those on a local scale, but also the factors on national and international levels. This is embodied in the narrative of Megatrends which is difficult for many Americans to face. The notion that America is no longer the ‘top dog’ in the global landscape. This belief is rooted in the fact that the U.S. made its way to the top by dominating industrially but being an industrial powerhouse will no longer do the trick. Industrial work no longer dominates global competition. Now more than ever, the U.S. is going to have to learn to depend on others, and begin to formulate policy which strays away from industrial goals and more on innovative goals. Remodeling our past will simply not be enough. Depending on and working with countries the U.S. would never have dreamt of must become a reality if we are to work our way back to the top.

    Trying to find a way to remain an economic power brings us to looking toward what the future may hold. Bitcoin’s transformative concept, and its foundation, has provided a trajectory for the future of finance. Capital could, potentially, be managed and organized autonomously with “programmable trust infrastructure” (147). In return, human error would be avoided and security issues would pose less of a threat on personal funds. However, the author does note that this concept is directed towards a post human era. The author frames this autonomous transaction of finances as a vision of the future but also of a future without humans; as it is unlikely that it would be successful with the presence of people. Clearly, we all agree this piece indicates a need for revision with the relationship of technology and capital, before the advancements are too substantial to reconfigure. The podcast “A Glimpse into the Future: Cities and Urbanization” provides a different view of how technology may be integrated into cities and utilized by city-dwellers. In the podcast, the concept of the “internet of things” is introduced. The “internet of things” is the convergence of the digital and the physical and can be utilized by cities to integrate technologies, predict problems, find solutions to problems, and create new ways for cities to provide better services and engage citizens. However, it is made clear that cities and countries must be careful about which technologies they invest in and implement. It is easy for administrators to be drawn in by businesses selling different solutions and technologies due to the pressure in the modern economy to be technologically capable or innovative. Except, many cities, especially in developing countries, may lack the necessary technical, political, or financial means to support such investments or enterprises.

    (Word count: 744)

    1. In Urban Social Geography: An Introduction, Chapter 2, “The changing economic context of city life”, Knox and Pinch examine the changing economic structure of cities and how it has affected the social geography of various places (Knox 19). In the preindustrial city, the elite class occupied the city center with pleasant standards of living while the lower class was surrounded the outskirts of the city and the outcasts were further away in a poorly built neighborhood. It is very interesting to think that this was the scenario in the pre-industrial era and history is repeating itself as urbanism, economic inequality and population growth increase. For example, Washington D.C. and the suburbs surrounding it in some way or the other highlight a similar idea of an elite class living in the city core and the rest of the public residing in the suburbs. The only difference I notice is the absence of strict isolation between the social classes. American cities have over time created exclusiveness, ethical boundaries and an economic gap which just seems to be increasing. Heading into more recent times and despite of the above mentioned challenges, cities have become more connected as a result of globalization along with technological advancements in communication. We really cannot calculate a city’s economic value individually anymore without accessing the numerous connections and flows it has to the rest of the world on which they are thriving. “The world is slowly becoming a global network civilization” from the TED Talk, “How megacities are changing the map of the world” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. I saw earlier accurately describes the current economic structure situation of cities.
      In Megatrends, Naisbitt describes shifts in industry flows between national economies on a global scale (Naisbitt 1982). The author began by illustrating trends that place the United States in a new economic era. It went from being independent and self sufficient, to heavily influenced by global conditions; as a result, the U.S. no longer stands as a singular dominating force. Rather, it is one in a handful of strong power countries, such as Japan. Finally, they can’t experience the same standards of living reflected in Sweden and Denmark. Naisbitt claims that this transition alone poses an issue of perspective for Americans.
      One major component of such transitions are collapsing information floats due to telecommunication developing to be instantaneous. This means the time delay between information sending and receiving is shrinking, so transmissions are happening quicker. The reading used an example of check deposits having processing time before they are cleared into the bank. They noted that that a global information boats are what enabled the wealth source for generations of well known families, specifically the Rothschilds. This component is relevant to the context of future cities as well as the present because Megatrends was published in the 80s, so just enough time has passed to look for indicators of a diminished floats in today’s economy. Even though instant communication prevents this monetary increase method from being as commonplace as before, it has had a lasting impact on what how power is distributed down through multiple economic levels. This is in addition to effects that globalization has on its own.
      Blade Runner 2049 finds itself relevant in its depiction of the structure of cities in the near future, and how the form of cities had adapted to the social behavior of the constituents. Poorer areas were dark, filled with brothels and liquor stores, and heavily over-policed. High-rise buildings with good lighting and ample enough resources were designated solely to the wealthiest citizens in the urban environments. Farm lands were designated solely to automated operators, with the occasional very poor human operator living nearby. The badlands on the edge of the urban areas were devoid of life and law, with the poorest citizens without anywhere else to go, fought over resources.
      While all of this is highly dystopian, it finds itself fairly similar to the physical divisions within a city that divide socioeconomic groups. Form highly dictates function in these situations, and is also indicative of social/economic class. Cityscapes in the future may either find themselves in a position to be more rigidly divided than they are now, or hopefully more integrated with various socioeconomic groups residing in shared communities. Social equity is fairly dependent on the unity of people in living situations, and mutual understanding and sharing of resources without discrimination based upon class, ethnicity, etc.
      Technology is seeping into all aspects of the city, even the economy. some of the economic developments on the technological forefront include cryptocurrency- a digital medium of exchange that operates under a decentralized network and has no intrinsic value in that it can not be redeemed as another commodity. In this reading, the author address the inherent confusion that arises with a system as complex as bitcoin and how the techy-jargon surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrency creates a question of inequity. Institutions and businesses that understand how Bitcoin work potentially hold an uneven share of power within the postnational global economy- in the sheer form of knowledge about how the system works. If we are going to continue to give bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies value, it is essential that the information regarding it be transparent to prevent an elitist form of monetary transaction that contributes to inequity. The author acknowledges the origin of digital cash and the reluctance of people to use it during the 2008 financial crisis, ultimately leading up the the development, and attraction to, a currency that has “desirable qualities of both cash transactions and electronic transfers, without any of the drawbacks” (119), AKA Bitcoin. Although Bitcoin proves it’s merits through attributes such as user anonymity, low transaction fees, and mobile payments, it is important to look at the inherent unfairness that also arises with this type of complex system.
      An important component of any economy is food production and consumption. In the Ted Talk, “How Food Shapes Our Cities”, Carolyn Steel addresses the current issues that arise with food production, specifically the amount of food wasted. Around 1,996 pounds of food is eaten by the average American each year, but about half of the food produced in the U.S. is currently thrown away. As issues of food and water security in cities become more pertinent, it is essential that sustainable production and waste reduction is prioritized. The challenge of food waste in America speaks to our obsession with overconsumption.
      In summary, the world has changed and will continue to do so in the near and far future, economies are evolving and the people inevitably will have to adapt to the changes. Cities will continue to play a key role and bigger role within the future, they will be a centerpiece for human collectiveness. Some issues of note will be class disparity and how to tackle the problem of growing slums and impoverished people worldwide. Socio-economic issues will grow and continue to have a lasting impact, poorer classes will be at more and more of a disadvantage as the modern world progresses. Finding common ground and smart solutions to these issues will certainly be a lasting campaign to tackle. America is no longer the “Big dog” of the world anymore and we have to remain on a smart path in order to stay competitive in the global economy. Innovation will certainly remain one of our strengths that we will need to rely on in order to stay relevant. We must understand that this isn’t necessarily a negative aspect of the world as well. The benefits of having other countries on the rise in the global economy is that businesses will have to stay competitive and this is a good thing for consumers globally. Businesses worldwide will have to work together in order to satisfy the masses and solve issues that will grow worldwide. With technology growing more and more everyday, cryptocurrency will inevitably be the future of transactions and the world economy. Understanding this complex system will require extra public attention and understanding. Like America moving from gold to green backs there will be resistance at first but eventually the public and future generations will accept the changes and implement them in modern society. Socio-economic status, future of growing cities, and cryptocurrency are the hot-topics of the future and the more we try to understand it as a society the better off we will be. It all starts with educating the public, proposing solution, and everyone working together in order to create a better tomorrow for ourselves and future generations.

      Knox, P., & Pinch, S. (2014). Urban Social Geography: An Introduction. Routledge.The changing economic context of cities, Chapter 2 (pp.17-39)

      Naisbitt, J. (1982). Megatrends. New York, Warner Books.National economy-world economy, Chapter 3 (pp.55-77)

      Bladerunner 2049 (2017) (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

      Cryptocurrency: The Computational Guarantee of Value Chapter 5 (115-144)

      Ted Talk: How Food Shapes Our Cities

    2. Does the fact that the US is no longer the “big dog” challenge the “American exceptionalism” rhetoric?

      Mind the “I” in the text. The language needs to reflect group effort in preparing the summary.

    3. What are some problems that may arise if cities are not careful about their choices of technology? What does political means to the group?
      Mind language like “I found…”. The text needs to reflect group effort.

  25. Cities have many economic dimensions. They are centers for communication, commercial transactions, and technology. Economic activities occur in every corner of the city. We think planners and policymakers should be aware how the city’s economy works so they can make cities grow in a steady and healthy manner.
    Today’s cities must inevitably be interconnected. John Naisbitt, in Megatrends, describes how countries in the world are becoming more economically linked. This is occurring alongside of communication and transportation technology. Companies and factories might find it attractive to place offices and workshops in different locations, based on higher productivity, lower labor costs, preferential policies, etc. (Naisbitt, 1982). While our group understands that this can have negative social implications, we also see how this can positively impact different companies and cities.
    Urban Social Geography highlights how the social and spatial landscape has been altered by development and production from preindustrial times to contemporary cities (Knox and Pinch, 2014). Globalization has since contributed to a changing economic and societal landscape. This has led to the creation of world cities (Knox and Pinch, 2014). Our group believes that the cities that have grown are the cities that were adaptive and resilient. These cities overcame economic and social slumps and booms. This is important because it shows that future cities can withstand many different changes and their consequences.
    One of these social changes was suburbanization. While some of us saw the ideas expressed in Marcuse’s article, “The Imperiled Economy: Through the Safety Net,” outdated, there was still a plethora of objective factors for suburbanization, such as cost and family demands. However, some of us believe suburbs can be manufactured desires brought on by marketers and fueled by developers as a means of resegregation. As cities grew and laws evolved, it became harder to escape interaction across race and economic boundaries. The suburbs served as new forms of residential segregation (Marcuse, 1988). Thus, we believe the American Dream of home ownership was born and sustained by the suburbs.
    It is no secret that urbanization is rapidly expanding and takes varying forms depending on geographic location. In his Ted Talk, “The Hidden World of Shadow Cities,” Robert Neuwirth describes the great urban migration to squatter cities across lesser-developed countries. He claims that the civic leaders of the future are to be found in the favelas of Rio or Nairobi’s Southland. These settlements have shown incredible capacity for civic organization, self-governance, low crime, and a complex local economy that citizens are empowered to take part in (Neuwirth, 2009). We think our western bias causes us to pity the residents of these squatter settlements, but we should be taking lessons from their inspiring economic, civic, and social organization.
    Expanding urbanization also leads to expanding technology. The movie Her, directed by Spike Jonze, is based in a futuristic Los Angeles, where artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have infiltrated urban infrastructure and the personal lives of citizens. Studies show that AI is a key means of solving the difficult social, environmental, and economic problems of the future (Jonze, 2013). It is hard for our group to comprehend an economy that interacts so intimately with technology. We realize that as we grow and evolve, the benefits to our people, our earth, and our economy will probably become much clearer.
    Another technology that affects city economies is cryptocurrency. An example of this is bitcoin, which is a digital form of currency that acts like cash. However, one of the biggest issues of early forms of bitcoin was the lack of reliance and trust of a central mint that could essentially disturb or even stop transactions (Cryptocurrency, n.d.). Another technology, blockchain, was formed later on. We think that one of the most promising things about bitcoin and blockchain isn’t its intrinsic value, but the creation of a networked, self-sustaining framework for the development of consensus among different parties. We all agree that we could use this in our future organizations and institutions.
    The economic dimensions of a city encompass different opportunities and developments. As mentioned, the economy is influenced by and influences many social and technological factors. As cities become more interconnected through globalization, these factors will be amplified. They alter the landscape and how cities interact. Our group holds a positive outlook on the economy of future cities, due to their ability to be resilient and adaptive. We believe that cities need to embrace innovation to maintain strong economies. We also think a forward-thinking approach by planners will strongly influence their successful outcome.

    Required Readings:

    Knox, P., & Pinch, S. (2014). Urban Social Geography: An Introduction. Routledge. The changing economic context of cities, Chapter 2 (pp.17-39)
    Naisbitt, J. (1982). Megatrends. New York, Warner Books. National economy-world economy, Chapter 3 (pp.55-77)
    Optional Readings:
    Cryptocurrency: The computational guarantee of value, Chapter 5 (pp.115-144)
    Her. Directed by Spike Jonze, 2013, Annapurna Pictures, 2013.
    Marcuse, P. (1988). Do cities have a future? The Imperiled Economy: Through the Safety Net, pp.189-200.
    Neuwirth, R. (2009). The Hidden World of Shadow Cities [Video file]. Retrieved from

    World Count: 749 words

  26. *Actual Updated Version*

    Group 8: Economic Dimensions Summary

    Cities have many economic dimensions. They are centers for communication, commercial transactions, and technology. Economic activities occur in every corner of the city. We think planners and policymakers should be aware how the city’s economy works so they can make cities grow in a steady and healthy manner.

    Today’s cities must inevitably be interconnected. John Naisbitt, in Megatrends, describes how countries in the world are becoming more economically linked. This is occurring alongside of communication and transportation technology. Companies and factories might find it attractive to place offices and workshops in different locations, based on higher productivity, lower labor costs, preferential policies, etc. (Naisbitt, 1982). While our group understands that this can have negative social implications, we also see how this can positively impact different companies and cities.

    Urban Social Geography highlights how the social and spatial landscape has been altered by development and production from preindustrial times to contemporary cities (Knox and Pinch, 2014). Globalization has since contributed to a changing economic and societal landscape. This has led to the creation of world cities (Knox and Pinch, 2014). Our group believes that the cities that have grown are the cities that were adaptive and resilient. These cities overcame economic and social slumps and booms. This is important because it shows that future cities can withstand many different changes and their consequences.

    One of these changes was suburbanization. While some of us saw the ideas expressed in Marcuse’s article, “The Imperiled Economy: Through the Safety Net,” outdated, there was still a plethora of objective factors for suburbanization, such as cost and family demands. However, some of us believe suburbs can be manufactured desires brought on by marketers and fueled by developers as a means of resegregation. As cities grew and laws evolved, it became harder to escape interaction across race and economic boundaries. The suburbs served as new forms of residential segregation (Marcuse, 1988). Thus, we believe the American Dream of home ownership was born and sustained by the suburbs.

    It is no secret that urbanization is rapidly expanding and takes varying forms depending on geographic location. In his Ted Talk, “The Hidden World of Shadow Cities,” Robert Neuwirth describes the great urban migration to squatter cities across lesser-developed countries. He claims that the civic leaders of the future are to be found in the favelas of Rio or Nairobi’s Southland. These settlements have shown incredible capacity for civic organization, self-governance, low crime, and a complex local economy that citizens are empowered to take part in (Neuwirth, 2009). We think our western bias causes us to pity the residents of these squatter settlements, but we should be taking lessons from their inspiring economic, civic, and social organization.

    Expanding urbanization also leads to expanding technology. The movie Her, directed by Spike Jonze, is based in a futuristic Los Angeles, where artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have infiltrated urban infrastructure and the personal lives of citizens. Studies show that AI is a key means of solving the difficult social, environmental, and economic problems of the future (Jonze, 2013). It is hard for our group to comprehend an economy that interacts so intimately with technology. We realize that as we grow and evolve, the benefits to our people, our earth, and our economy will probably become much clearer.

    Another technology that affects city economies is cryptocurrency. An example of this is bitcoin, which is a digital form of currency that acts like cash. However, one of the biggest issues of early forms of bitcoin was the lack of reliance and trust of a central mint that could essentially disturb or even stop transactions (Cryptocurrency, n.d.). Another technology, blockchain, was formed later on. We think that one of the most promising things about bitcoin and blockchain isn’t its intrinsic value, but the creation of a networked, self-sustaining framework for the development of consensus among different parties. We all agree that we could use this in our future organizations and institutions.

    The economic dimensions of a city encompass different opportunities and developments. As mentioned, the economy is influenced by and influences many social and technological factors. As cities become more interconnected through globalization, these factors will be amplified. They alter the landscape and how cities interact. Our group holds a positive outlook on the economy of future cities, due to their ability to be resilient and adaptive. We believe that cities need to embrace innovation to maintain strong economies. We also think a forward-thinking approach by planners will strongly influence their successful outcome.

    Required Readings:

    Knox, P., & Pinch, S. (2014). Urban Social Geography: An Introduction. Routledge. The changing economic context of cities, Chapter 2 (pp.17-39)

    Naisbitt, J. (1982). Megatrends. New York, Warner Books. National economy-world economy, Chapter 3 (pp.55-77)

    Optional Readings:

    Cryptocurrency: The computational guarantee of value, Chapter 5 (pp.115-144)

    Her. Directed by Spike Jonze, 2013, Annapurna Pictures, 2013.

    Marcuse, P. (1988). Do cities have a future? The Imperiled Economy: Through the Safety Net, pp.189-200.

    Neuwirth, R. (2009). The Hidden World of Shadow Cities [Video file]. Retrieved from

    1. What does the group think about privacy and security when it comes to technology?
      What are some examples of forwarding thinking by planners?

  27. The Climate Change Synthesis Report of 2014 was a really good opener for exploring more topics on the environment and our impact on it. We believe it brought up a lot of good points that will help aid future urban planners in building, or updating, more green cities. One quote we especially liked from the report on page 36 was, “Climate change exposes people, societies, economic sectors, and ecosystems to risk.” We also really liked the section on observed changes. It showed us the impact, with data, that we have had on the earth since the beginning. With this in mind, we need to start creating new plans for more environmentally friendly cities. This will not only benefit the environment but the people who live in it as well. The next reading we looked at was The City of Tomorrow, Sensors Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life. Within the chapter, we read we learned a lot about how a house or office building is like its own environment. We also learned about how wasteful we can be with things such as air conditioning and heat. Most people, us included, run their air conditioning all day every day regardless if anyone is home. This is extremely wasteful. Not only can we save money by switching to a more efficient system, but we can also lessen the amount of energy we use. This thought process can be applied to almost everything in life. Once these “smart products” become more readily available more and more people will be able to take advantage of them and their potential saving.
    From learning about the realities of climate change and technologies which can be implemented to mitigate it in the first two readings, we began to ponder different urban futures. First, we examined a more dystopian future. This future will be the result of unchecked anthropogenic carbon emissions. It looks very similar to the setting of the movie’s Babeldom (2012) and Blade Runner (1982). This movie paints a picture of an urban future where development completely dominates the environment. There is no light, flora, or fauna. Humans will have to invent technology to execute key environmental processes. We then looked at a more utopian urban future. This is similar to the setting in the movie Black Panther (2018). While this future is also based around technology, this technology was used to lessen humans impact on the environment. This created a healthy, livable environment in which both the human and natural worlds thrive. Our group decided that the true urban future will look something in between those two. Like Barry Wilson spoke about in his TedTalk What Sci-Fi Movies Can Tell Us About Future Cities, humans will use technology in order to mitigate its effect on society. About half of the group believed that technology could mitigate some of the major effects of climate change seen in the IPCC report, but some believed that it was too late. Whether the future will be more dystopian or utopian, technology will play a very important role in how future urban residents interact with the environment.

    1. You say, “About half of the group believed that technology could mitigate some of the major effects of climate change seen in the IPCC report…” How will this happen? What kinds of technologies?

  28. This week’s group summary explores the environmental dimensions of cities now and in the future. Seeing as our environment is all encompassing, the required readings were not necessarily city-specific, yet they are applicable to how we handle and plan for the future of our cities. Section 3 of the IPCC Synthesis Report focuses on the codependence of mitigation and adaptation that can make sustainable development possible; however, it is important to note that adaptation is the “process of adjustment” whereas mitigation is the “process of reducing emissions or enhancing sinks” (76). Together, the two processes bring about many benefits along with few risks to reduce the impacts of climate change.
    Far less technical and more optimistic than the IPCC synthesis report, Ratti and Claudel write about how the home breeds the same energy consuming issues as a large scale city. They state that “architecture could be conceptually reduced to a functional assemblage of environmental life-support technologies” (111). They argue that to combat the inefficiencies of our heating systems – a key culprit of energy waste – we must create “smart devices” and “dynamically managed” infrastructure. For example, this technology could look like an individual thermal “cloud” that would follow a human around and ensure that they are still comfortable, while using much less energy. When thinking about the state of the environment and the impact that energy consumption has on it, it seems imperative that a far more efficient system be put in place to mitigate some of the waste. As globalization continues and more people gain access to electricity, and consequently personalized heating and cooling systems, the problems of energy consumption will only proliferate.
    Both the IPCC synthesis report and Ratti and Claudel made one thing very clear for our group discussion; there exists a problem with the state of our current environment, but how we choose to solve this problem varies dramatically from person to person and between societies. Additionally, the discourse is tightly knitted to economic system which only until a couple of decades ago recognized the true cost of externalities. Future generations will face the consequences of the ineffective action of governments around the world.
    For our additional readings, we have chosen to explore Iwan Baan’s Ted Talk, “Ingenious homes in unexpected places”, Amanda Burden´s Ted Talk “How Public Spaces Make Cities Work”, “How Buildings Learn” by Stewart Brand, and Peter Marcuse’s, “Do Cities Have a Future?”.
    In Baan’s Ted Talk, he touches on how people adapt in order to live and thrive in their environment. In many situations, these people with no design or architectural background, create something truly special that is 100% their own, and in many cases, completely ingenious. It shows that there is no one formula for how to do things, and valuable lessons can be learned from people who are in a situation where they need to adapt. Similarly, Burden´s Ted Talk explains why public space is important to making a functioning city, as cities are defined by their people: where they go and where they meet. Her work, among many others, is proof that it is possible to claim back that space and design it correctly. It is the responsibility of makers of the built environment to remember that life is more than numbers, it’s about experiences.
    In “How Buildings Learn” by Stewart Brand, the relationship among architect, building, and city is analyzed and explained. Brand asserts that architects should have a closer tie to planners and policy makers as a way of ensuring updated designs for practical uses of their own buildings. If buildings are to become more dynamic and sustainable in terms of resource use, then architects must have a more hands-on relationship with the buildings they design, rather than just stepping back.
    In the excerpt from “Do Cities Have a Future?”, Peter Marcuse contributes to the discussion of gentrification by analyzing the spatial structuring of cities and its impact on social class make up and the future of cities. He specifically focuses in on the problems of urban policy that concern the issues of social justice. This analysis is helpful because it offers an understanding of how spatial construction in cities can raise costs of housing, impact surrounding environments and displace individuals that could once afford to house themselves there but can no longer.

  29. Group 2 – Environment

    Although the future is impossible to predict- the impact of human settlement and population growth have caused significant environmental changes that will drastically influence how and where we live. Indifferent to human needs and wants, the earth’s fragile state of climate change and global warming is forever inevitably linked to our future city growth, density and context. The self-perpetuation of impact to the environment from human settlement now has a reliance on technological advancement and future growth strategies to help restore some of the damage that habitation has caused, as well as strategies to lessen the burden that future growth and urbanization has on the environment.
    A great example is the practice of dredging. Mostly a practice that first developed on a large scale in the 20th century, major river systems and coastal inlets traditionally settled for shipping and trading in the United States are significantly impacted by infrastructural encroachment on waterways and the development of larger vessels with deeper drafts. Through unnatural intervention of the fragile river ecosystem, now hundreds of millions of tons of suspended sediment impound and overload dams, forcing essential removal annually. Downstream, crystal clear water is deprived of nitrogen enriched sediment needed to support fisheries. In southern Louisiana, for example, most coastal inlets are sediment deficient and have severe shoreline erosion – which has forced asset relocation. This is an example independent to major storm events that are being caused by global warming.
    Similarly to our impact on the climate, physical changes to the landscape are also contributing to how the land is formed and will be able to sustain future growth and urban developed areas in the future.
    The IPCC Report takes a scientific stance to make statistical predictions of climate warming- which included extreme weather events that impact shorelines and floodplains, causes of the climate change and projected changes in climate systems – which explains in layman’s terms on the irreversibility of the climate change and beyond 2100. The future will undoubtedly include significant changes to the land at magnitudes of the events that take place today. This is not all doomsday… even though human life and growth in the world does impact the climate and physical impact to the environment, the understanding that the earth is forever in a state of change and adaptation should inspire technological advancements and a widespread understanding from the population.
    The group shared an appreciation for Buckminster Fuller’s 1981 concept of globalization of energy transfer to reduce overall supply demand. Now the concept is somewhat being fulfilled with the storage of energy to offset peak demands – at the time of his predictions the concept was outlandish and impossible. The foreshadowing of 21st century smart grid technology, however, may have had more of a lasting impact then would have been understood at during the early 1980s.
    Regardless, in tandem with the high probability that population growth will exponentially increase in the next 50-100 years, current understanding of design efficiencies for services and technologies as well as the way cities and undergoing re-design for more walkability, green infrastructure and sustainability will make them desirable places to live and hopefully more affordable through scales of efficiency and co-locating of major assets. As summarized in the IPCC report, mitigation and adaptation are complementary for reducing and managing risks of climate change. So, too, are lifestyle changes and adapting to denser, more well-designed cities. Through technology and design- efficient and desirable delivery of energy and technology, economies of scale and desirable living environment – lies the possibility and probability that risks could be reduced concurrently with inevitable climate change.

    Campanella, Richard. Places; “Beneficial Use: Balancing America’s (Sediment) Budget;” January 2013
    IPCC Report
    Ratti & Claudel; The City of Tomorrow; p. 107 – 117

    1. What social disruption and impacts do you see associated with “migration and adaptation”? Is this easily accomplished? Does this favor some groups over others?

  30. Group 4: Environment
    In order to further our understanding of the impact we have on the environment and how we incorporate potential sources for adaptation and mitigation into our future cities, we explored various sections of the IPCC Synthesis Report. Sections 2, 3, and 4 go hand in hand as they address the indisputable fact that the acceleration of climate change is a direct result of anthropogenic causes and we are now tasked with the responsibility of effectively mitigating and adapting to the consequences. As these issues emerge on the world stage, the first key aspect will be as the report states: effective mitigation will not be achieved if individual agents advance their own interests independently (76). It is essential to understand, when considering the consequences of climate change, that the conflicts that will arise are universal to all of us, especially those in developing areas of our world lacking proper infrastructure and access to resources. When considering development and the future of cities, the fundamental human error is selfishness. Some of the resulting damages that will inevitably arise due to climate change will permanently affect many areas of the world more vastly than others. If we are to act proactively, the time to mitigate and adapt is right now.
    Additionally, looking through a different lens, the writings of Claudel and Ratti expanded on the evolution of our sources of energy and how our dependency has been shaped over time. The way we utilize heat and light has changed from pure survival to overall comfort. Today, many of us are dependent on central heating and cooling systems to the point where we expect this comfort in our homes, work, and even public spaces. This rise in the standard of living had reduced Architecture to “a functional assemblage of environmental life-support technologies” (109). To combat this, researchers are pushing for occupancy-based energy usage. This would lower consumption. This reliance on energy systems is something that is unique to our country alone and therefore something that has the capability of being addressed to combat for pre-established expectations.
    The Ted Talk by Alex Laskey titled How Behavioral Science Can Lower Your Energy Bill touched on how exactly to approach some of the issues addressed of energy consumption. Even when financial incentives or moral persuasion is used, it doesn’t have a large effect on our energy decisions. However, when social pressure is used, it gives people a stronger incentive to be environmentally conscious in their energy consumption to catch up to their neighbors. Another Ted Talk by Vicky Arroyo titled Let’s Prepare for Our New Climate highlights natural disasters as direct consequences of climate change. The IPCC article pushed for necessary mitigation and adaptation of these consequences, especially in developing areas. The author retains a focus on how advancements in technology and infrastructure are essential to the future development in high-risk cities. This is a key area where planners, engineers, and government officials are needed to act symbiotically in a proactive manner. Some additional points mentioned in another Ted Talk – How to Protect Fast Growing Cities from Failing addressed a point that is often not considered – violence and conflict in large cities. Making cities safer and more durable from the ground up is necessary to solve many of the problems present. “We’ve also got to make our cities safer, more inclusive, and livable for all. The fact is social cohesion matters. We’ve got to get away from this model of segregation, exclusion, and cities with walls.” We need to move past exclusion and segregation in all senses of the word. Whether it’s regarding climate change, violence, economics, etc. The way to growth is through openness and communication with all parties present. This same idea of openness is apparent in the movie, The Black Panther. The ending and planned sequel will show King T’Challa altruistically opening up his country to the rest of the world. We agreed that this is precisely what the real world needs to save the environment. Though we all understand the scale and importance of the issue, some of my group disagrees about the pace and scale of changes, some things have to happen rapidly while others are more pragmatic. Allowing for these changes to occur too quickly has the potential to cause disruptions in other global systems – i.e. economy.

    Climate Change 2014, Synthesis Report (IPCC) Sections 2, 3, and 4
    Ratti & Claudel; The City of Tomorrow; p. 107 – 117
    The Black Panther (2018)

    1. Throughout our exploration of the impacts the future cities will face, complemented with the environment’s position and response, we have realized how crucial it is to become increasingly more adaptable and innovative. Fortunately, energy consumption and techniques to mitigate the use is the main focus of Ratti and Claudel’s piece. People desire to operate under maximum comfort, in regard to indoor spaces, which often leaves many pockets of energy wasted. They recommend solutions from researchers such as Buckminster Fuller who believes globalization of energy is our solution to lessen our wasteful use; we agree with this argument as it would force countries to really support each other, as the greater good. They also mention sensor technology and how we are already using these autonomous thermostat technologies to regulate our indoor space temperatures. Similar to Ratti and Claudel, in West’s fourth chapter a theory is suggested and is concerned with the possibilities of conserving energy while potentially expanding the capacity of metabolic energy. West attempts to prove the theorem by evaluating space, scale, and other analytical data. We see this a compelling theory, based on West’s evidence and from what we know in the parameters of science.

      The podcast “How Can We Drive Efficiency Within Smart Cities” by City of Tomorrow focused on the different ways smart technologies can be implemented to increase efficiency in cities. Increasing efficiency in cities would decrease greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary energy expenditures. However, the interviewer seemed concerned that the implementation of such technologies into cities would increase the disparity between services available in rural life and city life. These technologically advanced and efficient cities are being planned and built when some rural communities still lack internet or electricity.

      Similar to City of Tomorrow’s podcast, Brand, in How Buildings Learn, uses this opportunity to designate the differences between conservatively and progressively designed buildings. A conservative building is one that doesn’t ‘learn’, or isn’t very flexible nor accommodating to technological advancements. The progressive style is what cities of tomorrow would lean towards, buildings that are flexible and welcome technological innovation. Although they require a larger budget, they are easily adaptable to new technologies and will ultimately be around for longer periods of time. Eliminating the need for constant rebuilding of infrastructure will lend itself to more sustainable communities.
      On another note focused around adaptation, Andrew Stanton’s Wall-E movie was explicit in its messaging surrounding our climate future. Energy overuse is a huge component in environmental degradation. However, the movie makes clear that human consumption practices are equally destructive to the planet. It will not be through increased technological dependence that Earth is saved from environmental doom. Improvements to the energy grid are necessary, but we agree that changes in human consumptive behavior are also needed to offset the damage being done to the environment.

      We see the approaching impacts of consumption and human behavior illustrated in Wall-E while the IPCC Report presents a projection of this, prior to undergoing such extremes that are implied in the movie. The IPCC report is used to inform policymakers on what mainstream researchers thinks about the logical premise of environmental change, its effects and future dangers, and choices for adjustment and relief. The report essentially states that there is clear evidence that humans are negatively affecting our environment and the further that we go down this path the worse our environment becomes. For example, within the report there are specific forecasts that explain that by 2100 there is a chance that the West Antarctic Sheet could melt, resulting in 10-13 feet increase in height. So, in turn, the report says that what’s needed to help stop and reverse these things from happening is a diplomatic approach globally, in which countries work with one another as one unit.

      Most environmental issues we are seeing are resulting to climate change. These issues are largely arising from over consumption which will drastically alter the way we function in cities. We have realized, in order to create successful cities for the future, many elements of technological innovation and adaptation, like mentioned earlier, are necessary for us to create sustainable communities. We must work and adapt with the environment, rather than against it, and continue to advance our technology to have a future to create our cities for.

      1. Good point about the lack of Internet and electricity in rural areas while technology is fact-advancing elsewhere.
        What does the group think about how Buckminister Fuller’s idea about globalization of energy can be realized?

    2. How would you decide upon or plan the rate of change that you refer to? What sorts of things can change quickly? Which need to happen more slowly?

  31. It is important for cities to consider the environment and impact upon it. We have to dive deep and bring attention to what we know. This will fuel greater queries into the many unknowns, which still need to be explored. We believe that cities have a great influence on the environment and need to be the leaders that drive the sustainable change necessary to protect our future environment.
    In The Fourth Dimension of Life, Geoffrey West explains a complex topic. He explores the question, “which mathematical principles explain life?” (West, 2017). West shows that multiple phenomena equate to fractal pieces being the optimal performance form of a surface (West, 2017). Furthermore, he explores how humans are directly related to our climate’s temperature and our metabolic rates. Our group knows that this is a quite concrete, yet not fully proven possibility, of how our environment interacts with us. We believe that cities need to continue to explore more evidence based research.
    As seen in “Air Pollution From Corn Production Might Contribute to Thousands of Deaths Each Year,” the production of corn is more than just an environmental issue. According to researchers, the synthetic nitrogen fertilizers added to the soil during the process releases harmful gas into the atmosphere that causes “respiratory illnesses and even death” (Schwartz, 2019). In fact, all of us within the group were concerned once we learned that such agricultural practices have attributed to [approximately] 4,300 American deaths,” yet there has been little coverage or alternative strategies suggested to ensure the health of the environment and humans (Schwartz, 2019). We believe more studies should be conducted to mitigate issues and deal with larger societal concerns.
    In the Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report by the IPCC, we found that one of the most important topics was the “Future Pathways for Adaptation, Mitigation, and Sustainable Development” chapter. This chapter is especially pertinent to cities because they play a major role in the efforts to combat climate change. Our group recognizes that the methods of adaptation and mitigation “are not 100% effective” and “have their own risks and limits” (IPCC, 2014). However, we believe that cities play a vital role in the long-term perspective of their achievement and usage. Cities are the decision makers and we believe they should be taking all of the steps necessary to ensure that new methods are tried.
    The Ted Talk, “Let’s Prepare for Our New Climate,” by Vicki Arroyo highlights some of these potential methods and provides insight on the current effects of climate change that are being felt in cities. Arroyo describes the opportunities available to deal with climate change, which include resilient infrastructure, adaptation, new building design, etc. (Arroyo, 2012). Our group believes that there needs to be greater emphasis on actively pursuing these methods. As Arroyo says, “…we’re all learning by doing, but the operative word is doing” (Arroyo, 2012). Cities need to be proactive and innovative in their solutions, efforts, and actions.
    Another of these potential methods would be to increase the walkability of cities. In the Ted Talk, “The Walkable City,” Jeff Speck highlights the negative effects of urban sprawl and how our societies have become very automobile dependent. This has led to increased amounts of CO2 emissions in our cities (Speck, 2013). Our group believes that this provides an opportunity for real change. We recognize how this is hurting the environment of cities and we believe that cities should take active steps to increase the walkability potential of cities.
    Chapter Eight in The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life discusses society’s ever-increasing global dependency on energy and electricity. The authors discuss how the central “hearth” used to serve as a place to keep warm and socialize with others. Our group finds this interesting because it ties together the environmental, economic, and social dimensions. A central hearth serves as an environmentally friendly community space that brings people together. We believe some of these origins should not be forgotten as we try to advance technology and enhance quality of life.
    There are multiple aspects to the environment, including the issues, the potential methods and solutions, and how it ties in with the economic and social aspects. We believe that cities need to step up and take command of their environmental future. They need to actively work to lessen their impacts and develop new strategies. This will not only influence the environment, but will also have an effect on the economy and society.

  32. I agree with Dr. Sanchez’s comment. I particularly noted that the summary is written in a way that reflects point of views of the group and the group’s interpretation of the concept of the hearth as tying together environmental, economic, and social dimensions cities/communities.
    Explaining why the group believes cities can influence and drive sustainable change would have made the summary stronger.

    1. The required readings we looked at were Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, by Nicholas de Monchaux, Cities in the Third Wave: The Technological Transformation of Urban America, by Rowan & Littlefield, and Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them, by Carl Abbott. The four additional summaries were The New Science of Cities and Inventing Future Cities, by Michael Batty, Against the Smart City, by Adam Greenfield, and Megatrends, by John Naisbitt.
      With Spacesuit, de Monchaux takes a deep dive into the various lessons learned regarding how the body reacts in a space-like environment, and further explores how those principles can be extended and applied to much larger, complex architectural contexts too see if they can solve for some of the more straining problems facing urban society. And by nothing more than a system of sheer analogy, he examines the outcomes of those theories as well as the many historical links. The reading explains how all the systems engineers and policymakers of the late 1960s sought to literally translate the lessons of the Apollo program to the pressing problems of cities. It was in these efforts, however, that they pivoted and began to follow not the soft surface of spacesuits, but rather what they understood as the hard truths of systems engineering.
      With Cities in the Third Wave, Ruchelman explored the transformation of America through periods of technological change. He takes a closer look at how American cities have developed from preindustrial times to the current dubbed “Third Wave”. The First Wave involved the agricultural revolution, when the transition was made from hunting and gathering to food cultivation and animal domestication, which we enjoy today. The Second Wave was defined through the industrial revolution with the introduction of factories, mills, and the birth of our country’s railroad system. The new “Third Wave” is like an accelerated second wave, but it includes massive advances in information technology and software to increase the pace that almost all jobs are completed.
      Historically, cities served the purposed of acting as a market center for the trading of one or several commodities, usually positioned near a waterfront for access to a port. When one resource or commodity proved to be less profitable, they would stop focusing on that and then focus on a more profitable resource; for example, switching from wheat to fish. By the late 1800’s, industrialization and mass-production changed this original relationship. Cities didn’t necessarily need a raw commodity to become profitable as new sectors of employment opened up with increased transportation and production. The modern or “postindustrial” metropolis that we currently live among has several centers dispersed throughout a region, as opposed to a single city center. This is largely credited to urban sprawl and the increase of people moving from cities to the surrounding suburbs. With increased technology and communication, we will likely see less and less jobs in manufacturing – this is following the trend since WWII.
      As for the four additional summaries, The New Science of Cities is an overarching idea that, in order to understand cities, we must understand the relationships between objects that makes up the system of a city itself. That is, not to see things simply as places in space, but rather as systems of networks and flows. Batty’s second work, Inventing Future Cities, emphasizes several themes that are applicable to every city; he doesn’t analyze the invention of the objects, but the actual process of inventing. To underscore his point, Batty argues that form is becoming ever more distant from function, and that information networks are beginning to shape the traditional functions of cities as places of exchange and innovation. In Against the Smart City, Greenfield builds on the idea of collecting data and increasing “connectivity.” He looks at things like our smartphones, laptops, cameras, and even sensors in streetlights and sidewalks, positing that the modern urban city is inundated by a complex nexus of information technology. In Greenfield’s estimation, the modern vision of a smart city is predicated upon the ability to harness technology and then making that information available to public officials so they can better achieve levels of efficiency, security, convenience and sustainability. Lastly, Megatrends, by John Naisbitt, explores several trends, one being the trend of “forced technology.” Naisbitt looks at how technology is interweaved with human actions – what he calls “high touch.” Essentially, Naisbitt writes that there must be reconciling between the two because technology itself can’t solve all problems or negate the obvious need responsibility.

  33. For this week’s group summary, we will examine the works of Abbott, De Mocheaux, and Ruchelman. These pieces focus on the past, present, and future technology and progression that has happened throughout history to bring us to where we are today, and to give us insight into where we will be in the coming years.
    In the first chapter of Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them, Abbott discusses his definition of the “Techno City” otherwise known as his version of the “future metropolis” (22). Abbott introduces many of the idealized, futuristic technologies, like the “Aircar”, that are prominent in many works of science fiction alongside building typologies which define the cityscape. (19). In our discussion, we wonder if this highly technological world is the place we want to live in and to what extent should technology be allowed to become part of our day-to- day.
    In Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, Monchaux, through a detailed historical analysis, describes the interrelatedness of urban life and outer space. More specifically, Monchaux explains how “cities themselves could be understood, like complex weapons, as flows of information and feedback” (2). Essentially, addressing the issues associated with our cities can be most effectively done through the same lens that solves the problems associated with space and science.
    Finally, Ruchelman describes how America has gone through three eras: pre-industrial; industrialization; and post-industrialization. Ruchelman touches on an interesting perspective. He states that, “advancements in automobile technology and the spread of highways have meant that the people have come to measure distance in terms of time it takes to carry out their daily chores rather than in miles of travel” (32). This quote touches on a key effect technology has had on society. Technology has changed the way we measure and think about things in our everyday lives. No longer is time bounded by distance, but rather a gauge for how quickly we can complete our tasks.
    For the additional pieces, we have chosen to analyze Larson’s Ted Talk, “Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city,” Homo Dues: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Mr. Nobody, and the TED Talk “Why hackers make good citizens.” In Larson’s Ted Talk, he discusses how we are still living and building cities based on the model from the 1950s, which centers around sprawl, cars, roads, and parking, and not people. With more people moving to cities, this model is an unsustainable.
    The book Homo Dues: A Brief History of Tomorrow, although not a recommended reading for this class, relates to many of the themes present in the technological dimension of cities. Harari writes about the future role of algorithms in our everyday lives. Harari believes without a doubt that algorithms will be a part of our future, but how they will manifest is another question. The interconnectedness of transportation systems in cities illustrates the effectiveness of algorithms in action as we have made transportation easier, more accessible, and more affordable.
    The TedTalk “Why good Hackers Make Good Citizens” explores hacking as a deeply democratic action, as hacking proactively seeks solutions. Through opportunities for citizen involvement, people who experience issues repeatedly are able to bring their ideas into the table, a do so proactively. This process, so opposite to the technocratic approach of the late 20th century provides opportunities to reduce biases in data and bring value to specific issues which lower the standard of living on a daily basis.
    The 2009 film, Mr. Nobody, follows the timeline of Nemo Nobody’s life through his own account of the past. It is a frame story, which involves a lot of complex narrative. This is because, before he was born, Nemo was granted the power to see every possible timeline that he could live while he was on Earth, a perspective taken away from all people before they are born. Most of the scenes are out of order and mix between each other, and leave the viewer wondering which path Nemo has actually chosen. Overall, the movie deals with the ideas of free will, the illusion of making ‘the right decision,’ and what it means to be human in a technology-driven world. We think this movie is important to consider when thinking about the framing of our own lives and narratives of the future as we plan for more technology and innovation.

    1. You comment that hacking may reduce biases. Is it also possible it introduces a different set of biases that did not exist in the 20th century technocratic approaches?

  34. Group 4.

    To understand the future of cities further, we took a look at the role that technology has in shaping urban landscapes. The first article we read was Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn From Them. It looks at the role of science fiction in understanding reality and examining possible futures. We found this genre of art to be very important in critiquing society and opening up people’s mind to various forms of urban development. However, in this article Abbot emphasizes the fact that predictions of the future made through science fiction often fall short of the eventual reality. We now experience stagnation with few life-altering innovations. Abbot writes, “Embedded is an unspoken assumption that cities aren’t changing all that much or that fast. The last two generations suggest several observers, have seen very few innovations that have fundamentally changed the character of urban areas”. We all found this to be very interesting given the fact that we are at the center of technological innovation.
    In addition to Abbott’s work we looked at literature written by authors De Monchaux and Ruchelman. Both look at the development of cities in response to various technological and societal changes. De Monchaux’s “Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo” talks about how the crossover of technology needed to understand and develop cities is comparable to the technology needed in 1960’s space race. Cities are like spaceships in their multidimensional and complex systematic nature, both requiring strong infrastructure to keep all moving parts going. To explain this integral relationship the article looked at many past technological projects used to design cities of the future, such as Operation Breakthrough and The De Novo City. Our reading of chapters 2 and 3 in Ruchelman’s ‘Cities in the Third Wave: the Technological Transformation of Urban America’ tracks the growth of cities within America in three major waves. It notes how countries such as the United States and Japan have gone through the preindustrial and industrial staged of urban development and have now entered the stage of post-industrialism. In contrast to De Monchaux’s writing, these chapters make connections on the importance of the city past its infrastructure and industry, highlighting the vital role of social and economic constructs necessary to work in a symbiotic relationship.
    Also examining the role of technology in the future of cities, our group looked at the movie Meet the Robinson’s directed by Stephen John Anderson. The movie follows the young orphan Lewis in his quest to find his family. His journey leads him to meet a boy named Wilbur who traveled back to Lewis’s time through a kind of space ship. Taking Lewis into the future, we get a glimpse of a city with technology and transportation way past our time. There are humans traveling in personal bubbles above towering buildings that are about to be constructed through a simple touch of a button. Things are both the same and so different from our present understandings of the urban landscape. Similar to this cinematic depiction of the future, Blade Runner 2049 brings us to a futuristic Los Angeles. Embedded in the movie is predictions of the effect that climate change will have on cities and communities of the future. It shows a shift in our environment as we know it, presenting clips of of snow falling in LA and desert struck landscapes. Both movies are exemplary of Abbotts examination of the role that science fiction has in envisioning future cities. They take the present and amplify it further, showing both the beneficial possibilities of future technology and the eventual consequences we may see from present actions.
    Though the cinematic depiction of the future shows certain possibilities, important to note is the future of Megacities that we are currently on the cusp of. In a Ted Talk called How Megacities are Changing the Map of the World, the speaker Khanna explains that we are in the midst of a global connectivity revolution. He says that “transportation, energy, and communications have enabled such a quantum leap in the mobility of people, of goods, of resources, of knowledge, such that we can no longer even think of geography as distinct from in. In fact, I view the two forces as fusing together into what I call ‘connectography”. As we expand our world into these megacities these issues of equality that are already present will expand ten fold. Common with every resource looked at, this shows both the benefits and consequences of developing technology in future cities.

  35. In a growing and globalizing world, it can be hard to keep track of everything that is happening. Cities have so many technological opportunities available to them. As technology continues to improve and advance the sophistication of our everyday lives, it is important that we understand all of its impacts on humans, the environment, and cities.
    The ability to change cities through technology is explored in “The Transformation of Urban America” in Cities in the Third Wave. Preindustrial cities were small and contained limited manufacturing opportunities. Increases in technology eventually gave way to the rise of metropolitan areas (Ruchelman, 2007). Our group believes this shows how technology can change the entire makeup of a city. We believe that cities should explore the opportunities that technology can provide. We think it can be used to solve some of the issues we are facing today.
    The author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo explains how the space race should influence the way we approach planning and designing cities. Researchers and professionals hoped to apply the same techniques used by NASA to solve urban social and physical issues (De Monchaux, 2011). Although the reality of such endeavors was short lived, our group found Operation Breakthrough promising because it “broke [through] to innovations in standardization, systemization, as well as mass production” (De Monchaux, 2011). This continues to show how technological innovations has helped cities make great strides.
    Our group found similar efforts playing out in the article on Smart Housing Prototypes, which integrated scientific and technical advancements to produce prefabricated housing in countries in Africa. Residents not only have the ability to meet Sustainable Development Goals, but also transform the way in which they address societal problems, such as urbanization and lack of housing (M.D. Staff, 2019). Our group is positive about how the technology of the future can continue to solve these problems.
    The Ted Talk, “Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places,” shows how a city requires a wide variety of technology and infrastructure. However, it also needs to be livable, practical, and functional for the people that live there. “Inhabitants create public spaces and design them to feel more like a home” (Baan, 2013). Our group believes that this again highlights how technology can be life-altering for many people. It allows them to make their cities into their own special places.
    The way that we imagine urban futures also has a big impact on technology. In Imagining Urban Futures, Abbott begins by introducing the expectation for flying cars that occurred in the late 20th century. Abbott claims that much of what was broadcasted as future city life has actually happened, like the “highly advanced computers we all carry around in our pockets every day” (Abbott, 2016). Our group thinks this shows how important it is for cities to encourage innovation and the generation of ideas. Even if ideas seem out-of-reach at the time, there is a potential for them to come to fruition in the future.
    Smart Cities of The Future offers a refreshingly strategic approach to how cities will need to adapt to become the future “smart” cities. There are needs in participatory science and computing to create a new complex world. These needs are held together by data, which determine the most optimal configurations and conclusions, not wishful imaginations (CIO, 2018). Our group likes how smart cities emphasize using data to determine which technologies to implement. We think more cities should consider this sort of planning approach to gather more information.
    A City is Not a Computer discusses the comparison of a city to a computer. “The city is a computer… It looks at urban systems and wonders whether the city could be more efficient and better organized” (Mattern, 2017). There is a serious problem with this city-as-computer idea because it undermines the role that the natural environment plays in cities. While our group understands the importance of data inputs, we also are cautious of it. As stated above, it is great to gather information. However, we believe that everything on this earth is connected, not just through technology and the internet, but also through nature. This is why it is important to strike a balance between technology and nature.
    Technology provides many different opportunities for citizens and cities. Future cities will use existing technology and will experience the innovation of new technology. In addition, this technology can be used to solve problems and create impactful change. It will continue to be a key underpinning of cities to come.

  36. There is a strong relationship between technological advancements and changes in cities. Ruchelman speaks of three phases that America has journeyed through. He explains the monumental impact that technology has had on the transition between each of these phases. The pre-industrial period utilized “hands tools, water power, and animal-driven machines” (Ruchelman, 19), the technology available at the time. As for the industrial period, the technology was perfected and steam power was introduced, opening up a whole new gateway for transportation within the U.S. We are now currently experiencing the postindustrial period. This must do mainly with the idea of utilizing information and communication technology. This takes advantage of working within the entire metropolis as opposed to only working within the city center. Location of businesses and their work is no longer that important. Technology paves the way for society and the economy to intertwine. We act based on the capabilities of available technology which shapes our economy. Toffler explores a future where increased technological reliance cripples human autonomy and ability. The author offers the idea that over choice is the result of new technological adoptions of goods, services, and cultural products. In financial planning, when people are inundated with choices between retirement options, research found that the participation rate decreases, as people are overwhelmed. We felt that the author was not prepared for the world we inhabit fifty years after this book was published, as we are completely reliant on technology in ways unimaginable in 1970. Instead of looking at technology as a crippling agent, society has embraced it and attempts to apply it to cities though such efforts are not always successful. Stafford Beer sought to “bring socialism into the computer age” with Project Cybersyn which allowed data produced from technology and human behaviors to work and learn simultaneously (Morozov). The idea was to put people at the focus of the workplace. Unfortunately, the plan was unsuccessful due to certain technicalities in the system. However, our group understands that it is still a project that we can learn and expand from. Another unsuccessful application of technology was applying machine systems and spaceships to urban planning and architecture. While many technological advancements in building design were adapted from spaceship design and advancements in machinery in the mid-twentieth century, HUD and NASA’s large scale, capital-intensive partnerships failed to acknowledge the full breadth of issues facing cities. We believe the programs De Monchaux discusses were short-sighted because of their neglect of social, economic, and political contexts, as cities are problems of organized complexity. Design alone cannot move mountains, and it cannot be done in a vacuum which ignores the other components involved with city-building. This should be kept in mind as we look toward the future like Abbott in his vision of a ‘Techno City.’ The underlying narrative throughout the passage is that nearly all concepts of technology will seem unattainable and unrealistic at first glance. It is paramount, however, that as new concepts are introduced into society that we attempt welcome them with open arms. If society is willing to accept and integrate newfound technologies into everyday lives, it will ease the transition into using that specific technology. Having a progressive mindset when it comes to newly minted technologies can never hurt. Being open to integrating technology will most likely create a seamless transition for the technology being implemented and the individuals that will utilize it. This ideology is mirrored in Barry Wilson’s TEDtalk. Wilson uses fictional models of future cities and relates them to the trends that cities are currently seeing or heading towards. Wilson primarily focuses on the issue of transportation. He believes that the implementation of autonomous vehicles, which are constantly moving, removes the need for parking. This change allows planners to use the obsolete parking areas as sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and green spaces. City panning should follow the tenets Townsend offers. Townsend’s tenets will build new civics which allows for the design of smart cities to form naturally through the wants and needs of the people. It is important to put people at the center of the designs for our cities and not other entities like corporations. Some of the guidelines to help do this include, rolling your own network, fail gracefully, build locally and trade globally, think long term in real time, and connect everyone. These guidelines will help build smart cities centered around the people and successfully incorporate technology into the future of cities.

  37. Group 5- Technology:
    Abbott, C. (2016). Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them. Wesleyan University Press. Chapter 1 (pp.19-43)
    This reading was interesting because of its examples of how we believed that we would live in the near future within various different forms of media, including the literary work of one of my favorite authors, Isaac Asimov, as well as 20th century science fiction films. These pieces of media saw us in the 21st century operating flying cars, talking through holograms and teleporting from place to place, among other things. These fantasies and radical ideas seemed so probable at the time, just considering the technological advances that had been set in place within even a 50 year span (in the mid 20th century). That being said, the reading goes on to say that we are honestly not that far off from a lot of these ideas. Our phones are wonders of technology, we can travel fairly fast on bullet trains, and we can tell our homes exactly what temperature to remain at, what music to play, and what lights to turn off, with our voices. All of this considered, what is missing? Abbott suggests that we are missing very little, outside of the flashiness and comfort that was found in technology within 20th century science fiction. The feeling of synergy between social spheres and technology, and the expansion of a technology-enhanced culture are not always found in our cities. Technology can be seen as invasive, unnecessary, and anti-social. Until the attitude surrounding technology-integrated infrastructure changes, this comfort is unattainable. We also need to reevaluate our perception of “futuristic” cities, thinking more realistically about function rather than flash, otherwise we’ll just be disappointed.
    De Monchaux, N. (2011). Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. MIT press.
    Cities and Cyborgs, Chapter 19 (pp.297-314)
    The mixing of aerospace technology and a cities technology may seem like a far away leap and irrelevant but this has actually been considered for over 50 years. Mixing discoveries and innovation on an out of this world concept happened by no accident. NASA and cities have been working together to create more sustainable ways of living and innovative ways of thinking of the flows and interactions of cities. We mix people from different cultures, ethnicities, incomes, and backgrounds. Cities are an systematic interaction where people come together and share ideas through cooperation and influences. NASA has came up with some of these things to encourage the stimulation of innovation by mixing in all these different places and people that encourage economic growth and better standards of living. Think of cities as nodes that communicate, transport, and share ideas and physical objects between one another and the vessel is humans and technology. Cities seem to be the core of societies and it has shown in the growth of urban populations. This is a sign of the times changing and more and more people are getting connected and on a more equal playing ground. WIth access to the internet and technologies at cheaper prices the world is beginning to become more and more independent and competitive.

    Ruchelman, L. I. (2007). Cities in the Third Wave: the Technological Transformation of Urban America. Rowman & Littlefield.
    Chapters 2 & 3, (pp.17-51)

    Ruchelman in his book Cities in the Third Wave surveys the extraordinary transformation that is taking place in Urban America. He argues that technology has both created and alter cities throughout history while exploring how cities are being affected by new technology and how they will evolve in the future. Countries such as the United States and Japan have passed through the preindustrial and industrial stages of urban development and have now entered the stage of post-industrialism—what is called the “third wave.” He highlights that the advancements of communication and transportation have accelerated an outward expansion undergoing spatial changes in the cities. Globalization has massively affected the manufacturing industry in the United States. The world has become a smaller place and is essentially one connected metropolis.This has led to increased competition from cities trying to compete with one another for shared resources resulting in a distinction between social classes within these bigger cities.

  38. Technology is the primary and strongest force that pushes humanity forward. The term is also significant when discussing the future development of cities. Our readings in this section show how important it is to have a creative vision on what will future cities look like. In Abbott’s book Imagining Urban Futures, he lists many fictional movies, TV series or articles in the 20th century that project how people live in future cities. The technology referenced in Techno City still looks futuristic in the eyes of people today. For example, the idea of the aircar may not yet be feasible but can be a direction that scientists and city planners today work towards.

    Technology has already played an important role in the history of urban development. Ruchelman borrows Toffler’s explanations of technological “waves” that have caused significant changes in American development. The “waves” are categorized by pre-industrialization, industrialization and post-industrialization eras in the United States. The third and most recent “wave”, is the post-industrial age when major technological and transportation advancements took place (including the internet). Together they transformed the way cities are being used and inhabited. We believe that there will be a fourth “wave” that transforms cities into environmental and ecologically sustainable places to live.

    The technology used in the development of cities is not easy to adopt. In the book Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, De Monchaux analogizes our nation’s efforts of getting to the moon as similar in capacity and difficulty of the struggles which will take place to create healthier cities. We need similar collaboration and hard work in order to solve our increasing problems related to environmental degradation. It’s necessary to include a variety of educated stakeholders when it comes to widespread public issues and decision making. With diverse backgrounds working on solutions inventions and ideas will pop up to create healthier cities.

    Technology can improve the government’s efficiency. In “The Planning of the Machine,” Morozov recounts an experiment in 1970’s Chile. Stafford Beer tested widespread data analysis with the goal of collecting real-time information from the country’s citizens through a device called an “algedonic meter.” Although the experiment required a personal interest in the program – the idea of using public data input to improve upon governmental practices and perhaps persuade political agendas/ decisions was a powerful notion in the ’70s when this experiment took place.

    Technology has been a significant factor when it comes to increasing the innovation and efficiency within our modern cities. The article, A City Is Not a Computer, makes the point that when it comes to our cities, intelligence and technology can’t be done by computers alone. Human impact on these practices is what keeps municipal areas unique to their geography and culture. It states that one of our greatest times of economic growth comes from the integration of innovation into the physical environment. Planning must look at all of its options, intelligence, and human influence when it comes to creating better functioning and happier cities overall.

    In his Ted Talk, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg was faced with common tasks faced by American communities and solved them using innovation as part of the development process. Specifically, that innovation finds new ways of incorporating the things/assets that communities already have. By identifying and utilizing the right-of-way on existing railways and highways, South Bend was able to provide high-speed internet to its citizens. Other structures like unused power plants and factories found new life as data centers within the city, swimming pools were even turned into a concert venue.

    After talking about the scholar’s view on the role of technology of cities, one of our group members has his own idea about what cities will be when he watched the movie Plank Panther. He looked at the African Urbanism shown and questioned the current aesthetics of urban landscapes: should future cities include the tall monolithic skyscraper? Are tall, black, glass skylines the city of the future? He believes that there may be more visions of cities of the future out there. This section taught us that the world needs more diverse visions and dreams of cities from other parts of the globe to push urbanization into the future.
    Abbott, C. (2016). Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them. Wesleyan University Press. Chapter 1 (pp.19-43)
    De Monchaux, N. (2011). Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. MIT press. Cities and Cyborgs, Chapter 19 (pp.2
    Ruchelman, L. I. (2007). Cities in the Third Wave: the Technological Transformation of Urban America. Rowman & Littlefield. Chapters 2 & 3, (pp.17-51)97-314)

    Mattern, S. (2017). A City Is Not a Computer. Places Journal, February. Accessed 14 Nov 2018.
    Morozov, E. (2014). The Planning Machine: Project Cybersyn and the Origins of the Big Data Nation. The New Yorker, 13.
    Ted Talk by Pete Buttigieg
    Black Panther

  39. In regards to the reference “our nation”, do you think that would be applicable to everyone in the group? Perhaps it is the case with this group, but I am raising it in the spirit of questioning our assumptions, small and large.

  40. Group 5, Nick Armitage, Nupur Sheth, Amariah Williams, Catie Grayson, Zach Blankenship

    Henderson, H. (1999). Beyond globalization: shaping a sustainable global economy. Kumarian Press.Globalization: The Current Dilemmas, Chapter 1 (pp.1-9)
    In Beyond Globalization, Henderson discusses the implications that come along with globalization in an environmental, economic, and social sense. Also, how all of these categories (environmental, economic, social, cultural) come together to shape the modern world that we live in. The first important takeaway that I gathered from this reading was the positive nature of globalization, or at least the way that Henderson described it. This being that globalization and world news can provide for accountability in oppressive nations and unfair state practices. Dictatorships, authoritarians, and human rights violations of any level of severity or scale are typically broadcasted to the entire world, and other nation or states have a greater ability to hold the oppressor or offender accountable. Unlike in times when we were less connected by things such as the internet, we often relied on printed media for our news, and typically the individual was only capable of keeping up with local or national news. This can also be said for us culturally, modern media makes us more aware of other practices and norms through informative journalism, and our ability to go abroad and report. That being said, there are downsides we have to accept, such as larger platforms (social media) that can breed new, more remote acts of hatred and racism.
    United Nations. (2016) The World’s Cities in 2016: Data Booklet.
    The World Cities in 2016 data booklet mentions a shocking fact that, “by 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 per cent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.” Of the world’s 31 megacities (i.e. cities with 10 million inhabitants or more) in 2016, 24 are located in the less developed regions or the “global South”. China alone was home to six megacities in 2016, while India had five. Tokyo is protected to become the world’s largest city. With this kind of population growth in urban areas, there also accompany multiple challenges and issues. In 2014, 56 per cent cities were at high risk of exposure to at least one of six types of natural disaster (cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions). Rapid worldwide urbanization is giving birth to and increasing the challenges faced by future cities. Adaptation to urban problems is an uncharted territory, and yet our expertise and our systems are based on the past. But we can simply no longer rely on established norms. It is very important to understand that we need to get rid of the idea that one solution fits all and rather try to create ad hoc solutions for different cities by engaging citizens and visitors and providing a platform for collaborations. We’re all learning by doing with the operative word being “doing.”

    As globalization continues to expand through media sharing, expertise and resources for adapting to unfamiliar conditions should spread as well. Especially being that many of the ‘globally southern’ regions are at higher risk of being devastated by natural disasters. The media has been an active device in vocalizing such episodes to the rest of the world. This heightened awareness to the challenges and conflicts of other countries needs global knowledge to be accessible in order to address them. Also, the rapid pace of urban growth demands that our systems upgrade accordingly. Spreading information about global relations and practices allow us to donate to relief funds and question when certain governments don’t intervene; it would be productive incorporate the spread of geographically specific solutions, for all environmental, economic, social, and cultural realms.

  41. Final Individual Synthesis:
    This course immediately introduced Jane Jacobs, a famed city planner who has reengineered the way we understand cities and their functions. She emphasized the need to readjust analysis and quantified measurements of operations in cities as these systems are complex and require complex evaluation. This theme continued on throughout all of the sections as there is a significant need for change as our cities evolve and take on the role of sustainability in the future. The social dimensions of a city lay heavily on the structure of its geography and the economy. The geography of a city can disrupt or advance a city’s socioeconomic status. Knox and Pinch mention Marx and their take on a city’s ability to transform itself with capitalism and industry. The establishment of multiple city centers, in some areas, has allowed for industry to thrive while benefitting community members and the labor market. Fordism also highlights the balance in the relationship between production and consumption. As planners prepare to design our future cities, they must account for the complexity of the social dimensions. Much like productivity and social wellbeing, a city is intertwined with relationships that have some form of impact on another, so it is exceedingly important to maintain a balance that satisfies all stakeholders in the systems.
    The economy in future cities must take note of the global economies. Naisbitt suggests this interdependency from economic connectivity creates a reliance on one another. They also advise that the interdependency of economies will aid in creating peace among countries due to their incentive of investments. Previously, America has claimed sovereignty over this industry focused economic structure but, fortunately, developing countries are now finding their place in this new industrial transition of worlds. Whereas, developed countries are finding space in enterprise; which, again, will require a balance in a globalized approach to the current economic systems. This global transition, according to Henderson, will also require reconsideration of our data collecting technology. Jacobs and Henderson both understand that our current systems are not compatible enough to analyze our complex systems. To include globalization in our economies, it will require a more open market concept as access to data is eminent to design successful functionality in our future cities. This approach to understand and analyze the complexity of city operations from a distant perspective of how and what data we evaluate is a key element in constructing sustainability in the cities of the future.
    The environment is the most essential entity as it holds all of the systems that operate and impact all people across the globe. The current state of the planet is unwell as climate change is becoming more devastating and demanding. Engineers like Fueller, in Ratti and Claudel’s piece, have used innovative technologies to combat environmental issues. The initiative addresses the issue of immense energy consumption. The plan is to place an energy grid on a global scale by operating on the planet’s daily rotation. Again, globalization is necessary to successfully implement this approach but, I do believe it is an achievable proposition through connectivity and harmony of our current and future cities. However, experts like Abbott consider our path to sustainability of cities to be distant. Abbott mentions that cities are facing a period of stagnation which is contributing to conservative technological advancements. Fortunately, there is other evidence by expert De Monchaux to suggest that we do have the technological capability to understand our complex systems as aerospace engineers have proved so through models. Ruchelman is another expert that suggests technology will continue to advance with city growth as cities and networks become more globally connected with shared data.
    Overall, the greatest takeaway from this course has been the importance of city complexity and how we can better approach the interconnected systems for our future. As climate change becomes more apparent and the environment becomes more threatened, the future of cities will only operate successfully with sustainability at the center focus. To achieve this, it must be understood that cities operate as a system therefore, they must be approached with a system thinking technique. This technique will require complex approaches that are primarily focused on the wellbeing of the planet’s environments and those living in them; these tools include a compilation of economic influence, globalization, and technological advancements. I firmly believe that the future of our cities will be a utopic dream as planners are beginning to understand how important it is to utilize complex techniques to reach sustainable city developments.

  42. Final Synthesis Report
    Throughout the semester, I have learned about the future of cities through six different perspectives: background information, social dimensions, economics, the environment, technology, and globalization. While each of these speak for different aspects of urban cultures, cities can only be viewed and analyzed by observing all six.
    In their writings, Pile, Jacobs, Moir, Moonen, and Clark list and discuss ways of observing urban areas. Jacobs uses the scientific method to make observations and predictions about cities, noting that they cannot be treated like two-variable experiments, while Moir, Moonen, and Clark analyze changes in terminology over time to study how citizens view the future in terms of goals and ideals. How we address the future can say a lot about our present values.
    Authors Blowers, Amnett, Sarre, and Simmel all write about the social dimensions of the city, citing other thinkers like Thomas More and T.R. Malthus to discuss the relationships between finding utopia and moral economic ideals. These readings are helpful when thinking about the city as the place where people live their lives and interact with each other. Cities are not closed systems, and are constantly buzzing with new ideas and pushes towards innovations.
    Economics plays a key role in determining the social and physical structure of cities, as well as predicting their livelihood. Knox, Pinch, and Naisbitt all provide insight into variables that come into play when planning for, and experiencing, a city. Planners and politicians must know how to balance each factor and align goals to create the best possible outcome for the citizens.
    Perhaps the largest problem facing every city is climate change, and the harsh implications of humanity’s resource consumption. The IPCC reports about climate change, issuing a strict warning that lifestyles must change to better suit a more informed society. Authors Ratti and Claudel put more analysis on this idea by wording it into more qualitative, practical ideas such as putting focus on the heating systems we use in our homes.
    Technology is one of the newest, and most pertinent topics discussed throughout the semester, as we are currently living through the Age of Acceleration, where computer processing advances faster than humans can create regulations for. Abbott and Ruchelman write about how technology informs cities, from pre-industrialization to modern developed countries like the US. Technology promises to solve more problems every day, but will it take our focus away from what is actually important?
    Globalization is the product of combing all of these factors together, and can then describe how they will evolve over time. Society, economics, environmental issues, and technology are all being informed by the effects of globalization and the marginalization of states’ borders. Both Henderson and the United Nations released publications about the effects and origins of globalization, and when read in tandem, provide key perspective on what actual future conditions will be like.
    Overall, each of these authors and their publications help to paint a broad and detailed, thoughtful and exact image of what the future of urban landscapes will be like and how they should be examined. It is a crucial topic for planners to understand, because you cannot act rationally and accurately with only snapshots of the history of cities. While it is true that history often repeats itself, the future promises to bring new challenges that have never been observed before, and that require progressive solutions that are tactful and compassionate.

  43. For this week’s group summary, we will examine the works of Henderson and the UN’s Data Booklet. These pieces focus on globalization dilemmas, what drives globalization, and where we can see our global population size heading in the future.
    Henderson’s piece, “Beyond globalization: shaping a sustainable global economy,” discusses the drivers of globalization. The advent of globalization has paved the way for new global problems including: climate change, pollution, nuclear epidemics, and global terrorism. Despite few positives of globalization, there exists some hidden flaws as Henderson claims, “accounting disenfranchises a significant minority, [it] ignores the running down of natural resources, and discounts future risks” (5). Globalization has made it easier to access material products while simultaneously incorporating technology as a staple for life. Through a financial lens, globalization appears positive, but this outlook often does not accurately account for the toll globalization has had on our environment.
    The UN’s “The World’s Cities in 2016: Data Booklet,” discusses the current population of cities, their vulnerability to natural disaster, and their predicted evolution. By making this information available, cities can become better equipped to handle population changes and utilize the appropriate strategies to prepare–whether that be to execute these strategies internally, or acquire aid from other means. Still, there remains a question of how globalization mechanisms may hinder or help countries of the global south as many places lack the resources to execute solutions that may be accessible in other places.
    For the additional pieces, we have chosen to analyze“A new Vision of Rebuilding Detroit” by Toni Griffin, “The Ghastly Tragedy of the Suburbs” by James Kunstler, Avengers: End Game, and Smartphone: The Networking of Self by Adam Greenfield.
    “A new Vision of Rebuilding Detroit” explores citywide planning strategies that seek to rehabilitate Detroit after the housing and industrial collapse that followed with plummeting populations and extreme poverty. According to Griffin, urban planning is being used to recuperate from crisis whilst handling urban justice and equity issues, especially by reducing the risk of gentrification and economic instability through community-focused programs. Detroit is living its third wave of immigration as it brings in entrepreneurial investment alongside a movement to not only bring new residents to the city but, to elevate the residents who stayed. There is reason to ask what the city might become, by empowering what is already there and acknowledging its history, all while expanding the opportunity for globalization to occur in its smart growth.
    In “The Ghastly Tragedy of the Suburbs”, Kunstler discusses the importance of developing meaningful public spaces that speak to the culture of our time. He argues that one of contributing problems of suburbia is that it tries, and miserably fails, to merge rural and urban; two things so opposite each other it is almost foolish to attempt to make them one in the same. In a previous Ted Talk, Amanda Burden discussed similar ideas to Kunstler when she proclaimed that “enjoyable public spaces are the key to planning a great city” (Burden). Although she was not targeting suburbia for all of its flaws in her Ted Talk, she did make the same argument for the importance of creating a space that’s defined by the love, culture, care, and the passion for cosmopolitanism by human beings.
    One week ago, Avengers: End Game was released into theaters, marking a significant moment in history of not only the Marvel series, but of the action-movie community as well. Those who actively participate in the Marvel movie universe also gain a sense of connection and empathy with other fans. The characters themselves have a backstory that is relatable to the ‘average person,’ despite being superheroes with special powers. Although we have not seen all of the Marvel movies, we were excited to see how the directors would close the story, and look forward to what Marvel movies have in store for the future.
    Finally, in Smartphone: The Networking of Self, Greenfield makes note of the various ways that cell phones have changed within recent times to have certain capabilities that make them easy to rely on. Part of their capabilities involve the action of networking oneself, which the author notes that we are doing on a regular basis through the various activities we do on our phones. It’s most interesting to be a part of a generation that has grown up within the advent of globalization when considering something as small as an iPhone. Without globalized capabilities through cell phones, the networking of the self has become possible and useful.

  44. Globalization deals with a multitude of different aspects such as the economy, the environment, global markets, the financial sector, and many more. In Henderson’s Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy he looks at advantages and disadvantages that come with globalization. Advantages include Economies, markets, information, and financial practices have all taken on global characteristics. Disadvantages with globalization discussed include climate change, drug trading, terrorism, and many more widespread issues. These occur because no one nation takes responsibility when these issues result from globalization. Luckily, sharing of information and culture is unlike ever before, which only increases our chances of working together between nations to help these problems.
    Although globalization leads to increased efficiency and communication, it also leaves countries to be vulnerable. The UN report, The World’s Cities in 2016, is a comprehensive report about major cities in the world conducted by the United Nations. The report lists two significant trends that are currently changing the shape of the cities. There is continuous growth of the population in most of the cities, especially in Asia and Africa due to the urbanization. In contrast, some cities in Eastern Europe are losing their population because of the regional disparities in development. The second trend that the report mentions is that most of the cities are more prepared in the prevention of natural disasters to some extent; however, the report also warns that the majority of the city residents live in the vulnerable area that might be negatively impacted by more than one types of disasters.
    One way to look at globalization is through entertainment outlets such as film. In Richard Haridy’s Science Fiction Cities: How Our Future Visions Influence the Cities We Build he talks about a variety of films and how they relate to our urban areas and globalization. The films discussed show underworlds, dystopias, future transportation methods, and smart cities. An interesting discussion is bought up when he discusses Star Wars, the concept of the world as one giant megacity. The reality of that ever-taking place is a fantastical concept, however, will most likely be off course from what the movies depict with flying cars and widespread prosperity. The idea of one gigantic megacity relates to Edward L. Glaeser’s article: Why Has Globalization Led to Bigger Cities? He focuses on why cities continue to increase because of globalization. Globalization resulted from centralized cities being hubs of technological innovation that led to increased communication and interdependence across the globe. As globalization has continued to rise, it has only created larger versions of the original cities. The reasoning for this is new technologies which attract people to big cities. The rapid flow of information within cities also leads to increased levels of innovation which people want to be around.
    Dealing with widespread issues such as climate change, immigration and security are difficult and globalized problems. In Benjamin Barber’s Ted Talk, Why Mayors Should Rule the World, he ties global issues with local politics. Cities are the birthplace of democracy, culture, and innovation. Mayors are tasked with solving problems, and they are fired if they’re unsuccessful. States let politics get in the way while cities are stepping up to work together to solve global problems.
    One country facing a variety of globalization-related issues is the US which is discussed in a video by Polymatter, Why China Doesn’t Want Your Trash Anymore. Despite having only 4% of the world’s population, the US produces 25% of the world’s waste. The US cannot afford the cost of processing this waste due to the cost of labor and the high costs of transportation. They have previously relied on China to process their recycling for decades. However, a growing GDP means that China is producing more waste than it previously did and has chosen to reduce its importation. As cities in underdeveloped countries continue to grow, they too will face the issue of increased waste and need to consider innovative methods to manage it. This is a great example of problems that come with globalization. Luckily, globalization has led to improved communication, sharing of ideas and information, and increased efficiency. These advantages make it more likely than ever before for countries to team up and solve these widespread issues.
    Benjamin Barber. Why Mayors Should Rule the World. Ted Talk.
    Edward L. Glaeser. Why Has Globalization Led to Bigger Cities? The New York Times.
    Haridy, Richard; Science Fiction Cities: How Our future Visions Influence the Cities We Build. New Atlas.
    Henderson, H. (1999). Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy. Kumarian Press.
    Polymatter (2019) Why China Doesn’t Want Your Trash Anymore. (YouTube) Retrieved from:
    United Nations. (2016) The World’s Cities in 2016: Data Booklet.

  45. The Henderson article, even though it was written about twenty years ago, is still current to what globalization is today. There are many different things that play a part in globalization, and one of those is technology. We are now focusing on creating “smart cities” that can run as an independent being and spread data almost instantly throughout the world. We have come to an age where globalization is close to its potential, and we are able to connect cities, and other towns, almost instantly throughout the world. Globalization has not only helped technology advance but it has also shed some light on countries that are facing real problems like dictatorships and diminishing human rights.
    The world cities 2016 data booklet outlines various trends for cities around the globe. One of the more interesting facts listed in the booklet highlights that there are 28 current countries in the world that have cities with at least 40 percent of their urban population residing in a single city. Going down the list of the “primate cities,” I think the most obvious commonality between them all is that there is a lack of livable space outside of the urban center. For example, the top of the list includes places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Two of those are water-locked islands with relatively small areas (Hong Kong, San Juan), and Kuwait is a essentially a city within a great desert area. Singapore, on the other hand, is a global, Alpha City existing in an area that consists mostly of islands. In any event, the booklet notes this type of information as well as many other trends.
    Also in the list of readings, Cities in the Third Wave: the Technological Transformation of Urban America, Ruchelman addresses how the city has changed over time. Specifically dividing the city into three “waves” across time, the author analyzes how and when each wave hit. The First Wave was the result of the agricultural revolution; the Second by the industrial revolution; and the Third by the postindustrial age. The Third wave is where we truly see the effects of globalization we have read and discussed about in this portion of the course, as advances in information technology and exploration of new communications continue to connect corners of global cities and markets.
    In the conclusion of “A History of Future Cities,” Brook discusses the 2009 global financial crisis’s impact on India’s Dubai, and how the short-lived age of debt-financed real estate speculation crippled construction of what was to be the world’s tallest building: the Burj Dubai (Brook 383). Dubai exemplifies an Asiatic city whose risk for economic loss and mortality by natural disasters will only rise with time. Brook proposes that the future of cities in the burgeoning metropolises of developing nations does not lie “with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline,” but instead within the global network society, piloted by “the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges,” ensured by the enduring idea of rich histories and towering ambitions (Brook 386).
    For a non-required source, we looked at Black Panther, and how it provides a similar, yet contrasting view on the ideas of economic growth, peace, and how they relate to the future city. The fictional country of Wakanda is home to the worlds most advanced cities. These places are more technologically advanced, peaceful, and economically prosperous than their Western counterparts. They credit their achievements to their lack of globalization. The county is completely secluded from the entire world. As far as the world knows, Wakanda is impoverished and unadvanced. Leaders of Wakanda believe that they are able to have such prosperity because they do not have international interests meddling corrupting their society. Wakanda paints an unassuming picture to the world in order to ward off foreign involvement and remain prosperous.

  46. The rise of globalization has changed the fundamental composition of cities, as well as their interactions and functions. In a globalized world, cities have greater access to information and trade. They are also experiencing changes in population, structure, and activities. All of these changes bring about many different consequences. Cities will have to be innovative to navigate the benefits and challenges that globalization brings to the table.
    Beyond Globalization describes the globalization process and how it has changed our society today. In the age of information and with the acceleration of technology, countries can easily participate within the global market, exchanging ideas as well as capital (Henderson, 1999). However, globalization also leads to issues, such as increases in global poverty and widening income gaps. Another drawback is the loss of tradition and cultural integrity (Henderson, 1999). We believe that cities need to be aware of these benefits and drawbacks and work to find solutions to enhance or overcome them. There is a lot of current focus on the benefits of globalization, but we recognize that it affects people in different ways.
    Globalization affects all people, even “slumdogs” and millionaires. From Chapter Ten in A History of Future Cities, we see how the eruption of globalization and the economy in India affected every aspect of life. Global markets made rich stock brokers eager to corrupt. Computers and electronics allowed for outsourced jobs. New ethnic and religious groups led to an attack (Brooks, 2013). In Glimpses of Utopia, the conclusion of A History of Future Cities, Dubai is portrayed as attempting to become a “utopia” with the best amenities in the world. Yet, Dubai is not a utopia, as hundreds of thousands of low cost workers clean and provide with little end reward. Stories of those migrating to Dubai from less developed countries to achieve their dreams end with being forced to work and never leave. These readings emphasize some of the deeper challenges associated with globalization. We believe a greater dialogue and discussion is needed at the international level to find solutions to these problems.
    Population increases will only exacerbate these problems even further. The World’s Cities in 2016 publication highlights important population statistics and information for cities around the world, including population size, location of cities, the fastest-growing cities, vulnerability to disaster, etc. (United Nations, 2016). Our group believes that this represents an extremely important facet of future cities. Cities have to be able to figure out how to handle this addition of people and demand of resources. Many cities are already struggling in this department and an addition of people will only add pressure. We believe that new innovation and information-sharing between cities will be one of the only ways to overcome this problem.
    On the other hand, an article by the Entrepreneur highlights the benefits associated with globalization and how smart cities will be at the center of this expansion. Based on current trends, cities are expected to contribute approximately $400 billion annually into the economy (Jeur, 2019). Through the use of data and technology, cities will be able to use connectivity to enhance the lives of those who occupy it, but also advance the different departments within cities by way of connectivity (Jeur, 2019). We believe that with the increased prevalence of globalization processes, these benefits will eventually become more accessible to cities around the world. This shows the hope that innovation from globalization can bring to cities.
    In Krisztina Kis-Katos’ Ted Talk, Globalization and the Poor, she raises an interesting question. “Does trade reduce poverty?” This question is highly controversial and complicated because in a sense, globalization and trade reduce poverty by providing jobs to large groups of poor people in developing countries. In another sense, however, these jobs are often harmful, low-paying, and unfulfilling. This is one of the many examples of the controversy that comes with globalization. We recognize that it is unavoidable and it has reshaped how we coexist with others.
    As this examination shows, globalization presents a unique problem. The benefits can often create challenges of their own. Globalization, with all of its positives and negatives, is still extremely relevant in our growing world. It brings about so many changes for cities. With a growing population and economy, as well as a growing risk for environmental and social issues worldwide, we think it is important to address the negative impacts of globalization and enhance the positive ones. This will be needed for cities to be able to function in the future.

    Required Readings:
    Henderson, H. (1999). Beyond globalization: shaping a sustainable global economy. Kumarian Press. Globalization: The Current Dilemmas, Chapter 1 (pp.1-9).
    United Nations. (2016). The World’s Cities in 2016: Data Booklet.
    Optional Readings:
    Brook, D. (2013). A History of Future Cities. WW Norton & Company. Slumdogs and Millionaires, Chapter 10 (pp.325-350).
    Brook, D. (2013). A History of Future Cities. WW Norton & Company. Conclusion: Glimpses of Utopia, (pp. 381-387).
    Jeur, AnilKumar. (2019, April 30). Here’s How Smart Cities are Going to Open Business Opportunities For People Dealing in the Latest Technology. Retrieved May 2019, from Entrepreneur website:
    Kis-Katos, Krisztina. (2014). Globalization and The Poor [Video file]. Retrieved from

  47. The success of a city in embracing and utilizing globalization is dependent on proper planning. Globalization is responsible for dictating the nature of society, the economy, and how the two coalesce. According to Henderson, cities are in their current state due to innovative technologies and a period of deregulation which lasted about 15 years. As a result, larger cities in particular are constantly becoming more network information based, creating a sense of interdependency among cities all around the globe. Globalization certainly has its merits, as it has empowered many citizens by creating opportunities such as distance-learning and access to open-data sources. Some cons, however, are that this global interdependency lends itself to widening inequality gaps and further marginalizing various groups. In order to curb this trend, an emphasis on investing in human capital is a must going forward. Failure to consider human capital could lead to the negative consequences of globalization that Hirandani Garden and Neuwirth discuss. Hirandani Garden discusses the drastic wealth inequality in Mumbai. Many individuals wish to have their culture while still experiencing some of the nicer amenities that come from western culture. Moving to Mumbai is a way for global Indians enamored with the west, but rooted in India to approximate a western standard of living in their homeland. This causes many of the overcrowded cities that are seen in India today. Globalization has caused issues within India and has negatively affected the lower classes that are susceptible to western influence more than the elite traditionalist classes. Neuwirth’s TEDtalk continues this discussion of growing inequality due to globalization by describing the movement of people from rural to urban areas in the world’s largest cities. These settlements experience levels of density not seen in the western global north. The TEDtalk highlights some of the feats of informal civic community-building and service provision taking place in squatter cities. These settlements will continue to fuel migration as income inequality widens. We wonder if the informal economies and civic infrastructure of squatter cities can coexist with formal structures in the world’s largest cities. The United Nations Data Booklet suggests, future cities must prepare for increased density and in-migration. Their data show that rapid urbanization is changing the global east. According to the United Nations booklet, cities with large populations, better known as megacities, are reported to face more severe and devastating impacts due to natural disasters by 2030. It also mentions the expected 10% increase in city population sizes throughout the globe. The booklet then illustrates global trends based on economic casualties and mortality rates of populations and their expected impact from natural disasters. All in all, our group agrees that the importance of the booklet is to prepare planners and individuals for this influx in city dwellers along with the approaching environmental calamities.

    A city that has done this well is Dubai. Dubai has seemingly set the bar for cities of the future. The metropolis has implemented an array of architecture and technology that doesn’t dictate how individuals cogitate but allows them to freely think what they so choose. Dubai’s trek to the top has produced nothing short of an impressive means of communication to the rest of the world, yet again reinforcing the theme of increased interconnectedness among cities. Dubai chose to participate in modernity by investing in human capital as opposed to rejecting it; an encouraging example of how planners and citizens alike should welcome newfound planning discourses and technologies with open arms. Some may argue that an example of a successful city, which seems to contrast the trend of utilizing human capital in a city, is Shanghai. After Shanghai faced a tragic massacre, the Chinese leaders decided to revive the communist city as a central economic point for the country. However, this growth, intended to entice foreign business, displaced thousands of people as the vision for infrastructure and high-rise buildings became invasive. The city was designed to lure in foreign profit but, it was also utilized to create a disillusion to foreigners as the communist tactics were presumably disguised. We see that two worlds have collided with the globalization efforts in Shanghai. Our group realizes that globalization has brought prosperity to the city center but, those who once resided there are not receiving such fortunes. Our group does not believe that the economic prosperity of Shanghai outweighs the burden that has been placed on former city-dwellers. The success of a city depends on far more than economic status, it depends on its people.

  48. Globalization FInal Summary- Group 4

    Globalization has become the reality that we live in, since the First Industrial Revolution our world has become increasingly interconnected through new innovations in transportation and communication. In the first reading, Beyond Globalization, the author discusses the role globalization has played on the worldwide economic process and other structures/ policies. These changes (particularly in major advanced cities) have created entire new dynamics across the world. These come with numerous positives ranging from public health and safety to disaster preparedness and response. However, after the 2008 financial crisis, it became increasingly evident that the system is a fragile one. Before 2008 many world-leading economists proclaimed that the world financial system was near-perfect and they would be able to predict any potential collapses. Our group has some disagreement with the cause of this, divided between if the root cause is due to globalization or simply followed what happened during the great depression when there was a rush of the stock markets to remove assets (human-centric causes). What we did agree on was the fact that the city plays a major role in almost all aspects of daily life, including for 45% of the population that does not live in cities. Urban areas are the center of everything from politics to finance, but the definition of what an urban area encompasses is murky, at best.

    The World’s Cities in 2016 data booklet provides even more statistical evidence of the prominence cities have in the world. In 2016 54.5% of the world’s population lived in urban areas, so no matter what stances were had on globalization, no one could deny their integral part in the way the world operates. The data booklet seeks to show trends and projection of cities to come as well as current stats. The authors of this booklet note that much of urban phenomena relies on how you would define a city or urban area. Metropolitan areas are often just as much a part of the globalization as the central cities themselves.The 10 cities that are projected to become megacities between 2016 and 2030 are all in developing countries.This is one of the benefits of globalization–it provides opportunity to cities and countries that were, and are, generations behind the more Westernized countries development-wise. Most of this has to do with the globalization of the technology industry and how that changed urban areas. This is why Henderson writes in Beyond Globalization that “key cities” are based on a global economy thriving due to an information-based sector. Some of our group felt that technology has become a megaphone and a symbol of power for many–and has even increased democracy because people’s voices are being heard more and more than ever before. Much of this larger voice is due to urbanization. However, fast urbanization can exacerbate existing issues of equity easily and this can cause more violence–which is something planers and public officials will have to be aware of and willing to combat the unintended poor consequences that come with this type of “wicked problem”.

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