Our world is in a rapid and unprecedented state of urbanization.
As a result, cities have become a hot, buzz-worthy topic. Do a Web search for "smart cities" and you'll find no shortage of sources discussing the latest in sensor technology, future transportation systems like straddling buses and solar-powered trains, advanced communications infrastructure… The list goes on.
And while we're as fascinated and excited by the latest technology as anyone else, we also know that the conversation needs to go much deeper than that.
The development of new cities and the overcrowding of old ones place strains on infrastructure, government, education, healthcare, finance, and the environment.
Many of the globe's greatest problems – pollution, homelessness, crime, climate change – are the direct result of a world that is urbanizing more quickly than anyone can absorb. These problems threaten the quality of life for people all over the planet.
As people crowd into cities and megacities over the next decade, we need to define what makes an urban environment habitable and sustainable, and present solutions to the mounting impediments to livability. That involves answering some very difficult questions.
For example, how will inhabitants of developing cities in emerging economies who've never been served by financial institutions gain access to credit or bank accounts? How do we survive in a world that is getting increasingly hotter, when the coolants released by our air conditioning systems are contributing to global warming? How will we live in cities that don't have the capacity to house us?
At UBM's Future Cities, we are certain that finding the answers to these questions (and many, many more) is crucial to our ability to survive and thrive in an urbanized world.
The good news is we are in the best possible position to lead this discussion.
For starters, we've invited more than 100 of the world's leading experts in urbanization to come on board as contributing bloggers and share their approaches to civic problems. This is the only destination on the Web where on any given day you can read content from the world's most forward-thinking mayors, city planners, business leaders, analysts, and educators – and chat with them directly on the message boards.
We also know that global urbanization is a global problem, which is why our community of expert bloggers embraces individuals from all over the world who are best positioned to talk about the urban environments they are directly developing, supporting, and living in.
Who better to speak to sustainable transportation systems in Asia than the Chief Engineer of Transportation in Singapore? And who better to address India's sustainable challenges than the President of India's Smart Grid Forum?
You'll find these individuals and more than 100 others on our remarkable list of bloggers. These are all urbanization leaders who value the importance of being a part of this community and recognize the urgent need to elevate the conversation about future, livable cities.
Finally, here at UBM's Future Cities, we've made it our mission to not only recruit the brightest minds in global urbanization to share their expertise and insights, but to maintain a commitment to quality. That's why we're insisting that every piece of content we run comprises four critical elements that are too often missing in discussions of sustainable cities: technology, business, feasibility, and people.
With that in mind, there are certain things you won't find here – things like excessive hype about solutions that aren't pragmatic or feasible.
And we're happy to have you hold us to that standard. Have you got feedback for our contributors or thoughts about our site? Send an email anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)
"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"
Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster
Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.
I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.