Collaborating with a number of different people from all over the place, filmmaker Oscar Boyson went out into the world and came back with this excellent 18-minute video on the future of cities. Among the cities profiles are Shenzhen, Detroit, Singapore, NYC, Copenhagen, Seoul, Lagos, and Mumbai.
What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”
A few tidbits from the video to whet your appetite:
- An estimated 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. (It’s currently 54%.)
- Buying a Toyota Corolla in Singapore costs $140,000.
- In 2012, 52% of the cost of US highways and roads was paid by general tax revenue rather than by drivers (through gas tax and tolls). In 1972, it was only 30%, which means car usage is much more heavily subsidized than it used to be.
- When you buy a car in Denmark, you pay a 150% tax, even if it’s electric.
- And a relevant quote from Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities: “Lowly, unpurposeful, and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow.”
And boy, listening to Janette Sadik-Khan talk about cities being for people and the importance of public transportation and then, directly after, having to listen to some dipshit from Uber was tough. (via @mathowie)