I am very pleased this issue is receiving attention from Steve Price.  I hope he and others will take this much further. It is an issue I addressed some time ago in my article Loneliness is Life Threatening: We Can Design Cities to Foster Community. So much more needs to be done!

Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si is an urgent call to humanity to become aware of the negative and immoral impact bad city-making has on the planet, and on humans. The Pope, explained Father Alejandro Crosthwaite at his presentation at the 53rd IMCL Conference in Rome, calls for a global initiative, to reach across national borders and give topmost priority to the preservation of our ‘common home’.

Ferdinand Johns, FAIA gave a gorgeously illustrated, impassioned speech at the 53rd Conference in Rome arguing that the way our buildings and cities are designed really matters. We cannot let the market decide, and we cannot let big corporations or starchitects make all the decisions or we end up with a very unlivable city.

The most important aspect of city making – the design of public spaces for social interaction – is the theme of this e-report, which includes slides and papers by 12 experts and researchers from around the world, including Jan Gehl, Barra MacRuari and Michael Mehaffy. The expert content provides a wealth of insight and information for all committed to creating a more hospitable, lively, and equitable public realm.

Philip B. Stafford highlights the imbalanced priorities of spending and care for elders: while significant funds are spent on aging- related health costs, many countries, including the US,  rank inadequately in terms of aging support. This data supports the notion that this is “not a personal problem, but a community challenge!”

This new E-report focuses on the critical need to promote and support intergenerational communities. Backed by data, policy, and design elements that support “Healthy Communities for all Ages”, this e-report includes slides and papers by 14 experts and researchers from across the globe. The expert content provides a wealth of information, data and insight to advise those committed to the advancement of truly intergenerational communities, and design that promotes aging in place.

Michael Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Sustasis Foundation spoke about the urgency to find a better way of building our cities than we are doing at present because in the next 50 years we will produce more urban fabric than in the last 5,000 years.

“What have we learned?” asks Michael. We have learned that to create a truly livable, healthy city is all about facilitating connective relationships at different levels. We need to think about urbanism as a “place network”. The way the built environment is designed facilitates interaction in many subtle ways between the public realm, people in the street, and the private realm, people in the surrounding buildings.

This new eReport presents some of the best examples of planning for pedestrians and bicyclists from Europe and the US, together with design strategies and research tools. Including videos, slides and papers by 11 outstanding leaders and researchers in the field, this is an invaluable handbook for all concerned with improving conditions for walking and bicycling, and offers research related to active mobility.

“I am glad Suzanne proposed this title for my talk because what we are talking about today as the dysfunctional city is nothing more than what used to be called the ‘Functional’ city.”

In 1921, Corbusier, who, Ettore reminds us, was sponsored by the automobile manufacturer, Voisin, created a vision of a utopian city of 3 million inhabitants, based on the automobile. In 1925 he drew up plans for the destruction of what he considered the ‘dysfunctional’ Marais district of Paris, replacing it with a ‘Functional’ grid plan arrangement of tower blocks and highways, shopping malls and office blocks designed on the ‘car scale’ called ‘Plan Voisin’. In 1931, CIAM, with Corbusier a dominant voice in that group, proposed a vision of the Functional City, based on the idea of zoning.

Around the world, cities claim that they are livable, that whatever they are constructing –iconic museums, high rise hotels, floating cities, mass housing  - they are doing it all in the name of livability. And, they argue, the more they construct, the more livable their cities become. But does this make a city truly livable? We argue that livable cities must increase the common good and the sustainability of the earth, not put ever-greater profits into the hands of the few. This collection of videos, papers, and slides by eleven outstanding leaders examines the fundamental principles of livable cities, and how they can be achieved.

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