The utopian 20th-century model of a modern city – one that has been replicated around the world – is being exposed as unsuitable for adapting to the pace of change in the 21st century.
Google’s proposals for a high-tech development on Toronto’s lakefront is a radical departure from the principles that have guided city planning in Canada for decades.
Big ideas and big dollars have been invested in making ‘memorable’ places. Paradoxically, as similar solutions are adapted in diverse settings worldwide, this can lead to an uneasy new placelessness.
The rhetoric of ‘smart cities’ is dominated by the economic, with little reference to the natural world and its plight. Truly smart and resilient cities need to be more in tune with the planet.
In an age of data-driven urban science, we need to remember how Jane Jacobs gave voice to the multiple languages, meanings, experiences and knowledge systems of a vibrant city.