April 16, 2011 Leave a comment
We make no distinction between urban, suburban and rural environments. We view a city as one living system with many different working parts pushing to fill a complex set of needs.
Currently the city, as a living system, is not filling the needs of the user in a way that is sustainable. We are seeing parts of the system associated with a number of negative environmental and public health outcomes. We see increased pollution and reliance on fossil fuel, increase traffic related fatalities, increased obesity, decrease in social capital, lack of connectivity, decrease in land and water quantity and quality and so on.
This is a call to action. Designers are now faced with the challenge to develop healthier systems while providing an exponential amount of choices for living. Our personal mission to design the missing layers that will improve livability, sustainability and productivity across the board. This requires a great deal of transformative planning; a sort of micro-surgery of the built environment allowing designers to inject or integrate healthier systems that will strengthen the existing city fabric, providing more choices for living while addressing negative impacts from conventional patterns of development. This could come in the form of suburban retrofit, urban infill development, rural integration, etc.
Although there is a trend for people to move back into the central city, we cannot say for sure that urban growth has reached its zenith. Arguments opposing urban sprawl run the gamut but we are also seeing many who prefer the suburban lifestyle. Regardless, our challenge is to transform the whole metropolitan areas into a livable and sustainable system made up of all the parts needed to fulfill all societies needs.