In a world repeatedly described as under threat from innumerable challenges, including income inequality, inadequate urban infrastructure, discrimination against minorities of every stripe, and climate change, participants at the UN’s Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador were told that comprehensive planning aimed at densely concentrating people in urban areas offered the best way forward to a “sustainable” future.
Addressing Habitat III on the conference’s first day, Serge Salat, director of the Urban Morphology Lab in France, said compact cities with residents living as close as possible to public transportation should be the goal of urban planners. He noted that ready access to public transportation would mean residents would no longer need cars to take them to work and recreation. This, he added, would make forward-looking cities leaders in the fight against climate change. Salat’s panel at Habitat III discussed green solutions to climate change and other urban problems. Salat, it should be noted is an adviser to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (IPCC_.
Creating Open Spaces and Wild Areas
According to Salat, the city all should embrace as a role model is Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm, he noted, has created open space “buffer zones” – essentially parkland – running all through it. Just beyond the open space are areas set aside for wildlife, what he termed “wilderness corridors.” With few exceptions, the only place where residential and commercial property is available is in Stockholm proper.