If architecture helps shape our world, then perhaps it can also help save it. Climate change is among the most daunting problems we face today, and with more and more of the world’s population moving into cities, now is the time to both rethink how we use our resources and make certain our urban future can be clean, smart, and green. Architectural Digest discusses the importance of planning our future cities in a step-by-step process.
Celebrated urban designer Peter Calthorpe is already focusing on this task, and in his recent TED 2017 talk on the subject, he identified an urgent trend that requires immediate attention: urban sprawl—the random, unplanned, and inefficient use of space and resources. Calthorpe notes that as the importance of cities grows, so will the cities themselves, adding that new development is crucial. “If we don’t get that right, I’m not sure all the climate solutions in the world will save mankind,” he says. But, he argues, while growth is inevitable, waste doesn’t have to be: “It turns out smart growth works better.”
To promote smart growth—which focuses on aspects like walkability, dense housing, and mixed-use streets to reduce a city’s carbon footprint while also improving health and quality of life for residents—and avoid sprawl, Calthorpe has developed a city-planning tool called Urban Footprint. The program projects scenarios to compare and contrast future progress, allowing for a design that makes sense both to the planet and a city’s inhabitants.
Read more on how architecture can curb climate change here.