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  1. UN-Habitat Thematic Issue Paper Integrated urban design & planning for inclusive public space and city-regional connectivity & efficiency Sustainable Goals Open Working GroupDecember 8, 2013 New York City, New York Arun Jain, Urban Designer, Urban Strategist

  2. 1 Relevancies

  3. Alienation & quantification Mumford decried the new economy's creation of alienated individuals. " Freed from his sense of dependence on corporation and neighborhood, the 'emancipated individual' is dissociated and delocalized: an atom of power, ruthlessly seeking whatever power can command. With the quest for financial and political power, the notion of limits have disappeared - limits on numbers, limits on wealth, limits on population growth, limits on urban expansion: on the contrary, quantitative expansion have become predominant. The merchant cannot be too rich; the state cannot possess too much territory; the city cannot become too big. Success in life was identified with expansion. This superstition still retains its hold in the notion of an indefinitely expanding economy." The Story of Utopias (1922) Lewis Mumford

  4. Intentionality “It pleases us to dream of shaping history according to a plan. Because it is given to us to imagine a world that is more beautiful than the one we actually inhabit, we also believe it may be possible to attain what our mind has wrought. But in the construction of the world, intentionality is confounded, things always go wrong. Thus it happens that, paradoxically, in the measure that we try to control for uncertainty, pyramiding control upon control, we also destroy both the will and the ability to engage in social construction. The problem of becoming human is reduced to naught.” The Good Society (1979) John Friedmann

  5. Organized complexity The history of modern thought about cities is unfortunately very different from the history of modern thought about the life sciences. The theorists of conventional modern city planning have consistently mistaken cities as problems of simplicity and of disorganized complexity, and have tried to analyze and treat them thus. “Why have cities not, long since, been identified, understood and treated as problems of organized complexity?” The Death and Life of Great American Cities: The Kind of Problem a City Is (1961) Jane Jacobs

  6. The right time… “Desire and improvement cannot be imposed on one by another. To try and do so is cruel as well as futile. Development cannot take place until its time has come, when it is wanted. Therefore, it should always be left as a matter of free choice…” “Trying is an idea whose time has also come.” Redesigning the Future (1974) Russell Ackoff

  7. Shifting paradigm We can’t assume growth will happen Continued global financial contraction Declining resources If we plan it, will it happen? If we build it, will they come? Can we implement everything we want?

  8. Where could we be going?* • Option 1 -Growth One step ahead of disaster • Option 2 - Constraint Sustainable paths in a low-capital world • Option 3 - Collapse Local disasters, regional conflicts • Option 4 - Transformation Super-structured systems *2010 Map of the decade, Institute of the Future

  9. 2 Challenges & dilemmas

  10. Some cities will remain in crisis Yes, we should fix & eradicate problems but How do we manageproblems in the interim? ManshietNassar Settlement – Cairo

  11. Cities tend to ignore their assets

  12. Few cities are designed to handle disaster Floating Streets New Orleans Urban Water Plan Heavy settlement & development pressures + a false sense of security and only delay suffering Somali Flood Refugees Ramallah, West Bank Hurricane Sandy

  13. Economic gain as basis for social? Assumptions that economic growth is an essential driver for improved quality of life are misleading Social metrics and goals should lead & become the basis for economic development (at least in planning)

  14. Social infrastructure as backfill Social issues and needs are (back) filled (or responded to in desperation) after ad hoc development that is focused on jobs and housing occurs Makeshift school under a metro bridge in Delhi

  15. 3 Targets

  16. Consolidation & reinforcement strategies • Target 1 • Develop strategies that consolidate and reinforce existing urban assets • Preserve (consolidate) your urban essentials • Enhance whatever will reinforce your urban condition • Createwhat you will need

  17. Spatial implications • Target 1 • Develop strategies that consolidate and reinforce existing urban assets • Failures encourage sprawl & consumption of non-urban land • Less, but mutually reinforcing development establishes basis for long-term compactness • “Urban mining” reduces our ecological footprint

  18. Potential indicators • Target 1 • Develop strategies that consolidate and reinforce existing urban assets • Rate of increase of urbanized land • Amount of entitled zoned capacity • Dispersal indicators • Leakage rates (loss of inventory, capacity) • Inventories

  19. Planning strategies to manage crises • Target 2 • Develop pre-emptive and resilient urban design approaches to compensate for known and unknown man-made and environmental crises • Many cities will struggle just to keep up • Plan so the unaffected parts of cities continue functioning and can help restore • Need resilient approaches to distribute and provide basic services

  20. Spatial implications • Target 2 • Develop pre-emptive and resilient urban design approaches to compensate for known and unknown man-made and environmental crises • Spatial infrastructure allocations to keep functioning and assist other urban areas • Give heightened importance to social infrastructure • Pre-emptive spatial designs can channel new urban growth

  21. Potential indicators • Target 2 • Develop pre-emptive and resilient urban design approaches to compensate for known and unknown man-made and environmental crises • Redundancy and backup allocations • Compatibility matrixes • Urban compactness metrics • Urban eco-shed mapping

  22. Social & cultural infrastructure • Target 3 • Integrate social and cultural infrastructure early in the planning and design of physical urban infrastructure • Social institutions take time to mature • Their physical and urban manifestations are sensitive • They are hard won, and hard to re-create

  23. Spatial implications • Target 3 • Integrate social and cultural infrastructure early in the planning and design of physical urban infrastructure • Space allocations for key social infrastructure must lead community designs • Attractive and resilient social infrastructure directs new growth and reinforces existing • Better long-term urban resiliency

  24. Potential indicators • Target 3 • Integrate social and cultural infrastructure early in the planning and design of physical urban infrastructure • Culturally oriented space and place metrics • New space standards for placement of social infrastructure • New socially indexed urban inventories

  25. UN-Habitat Thematic Issue Paper Integrated urban design & planning for inclusive public space and city-regional connectivity & efficiency Sustainable Goals Open Working GroupDecember 8, 2013 New York City, New York It’s all we have… Arun Jain, Urban Designer, Urban Strategist arun@urbdesign.net

  26. 4 Consider

  27. Things to focus on • Improve focus & inclusivity • Develop collective understanding of the space in which the problem & its solutions lie • Better decision support tools • Use better means to promote collective understanding • Less studies, more intervention • Verify where change is possible (likely “playing field”) • Confirm areas likely to experience the most change and work on them

  28. Things to focus on Consider: • Granularity of knowledge vs. granularity of action • Frameworks over plans • Better tools • Generic solutions generate generic outcomes