The year 2006 marked a turning point in human evolution. Since then, more than half of the human population has been living in cities. The human species is becoming an urban species. This urbanisation will likely continue in the coming decades, with the entire global population growth projected to be absorbed by the world’s cities. In fact, by 2050 demographers expect that 66% of the global population will be urban.
There are many advantages to humans living within the close proximity of an urban structure. Cities offer an opportunity for coordinated, effective measures in combating problems like green house emissions and waste reduction, for example, and dense population helps preserve rural and natural areas outside the city limits. However, as urban populations increase, the issue of quality of life remains an important factor to consider. Cities can be loud, over-crowded, hectic places that create hassled, stressed and unhappy people. Biology doesn’t evolve as quickly as society does, and humans still need places for meaningful contact with nature and other people.
Our cities need to be liveable cities, and creating pleasant public spaces is one means by which we can ensure that. Although society has traditionally looked to city governors and planners to create these public spaces for us, there is an exciting and growing trend towards DIY urbanism. Tired of waiting for city planners to get their act together, citizens are coming together in places like Turkey, the United States and even right here in Vienna to create and implement the kinds of public spaces and projects they want for their cities.
In recent years, the city of Vienna has been trying to encourage this type of citizen engagement and has even published a DIY guide of project ideas that residents could tackle on their own. Although we’re lucky enough to be living in a city that tops the chart in terms of quality of life, there’s always room for improvement, and resting on our laurels isn’t a way to stay on top. So, in the spirit of this month’s CITYx, take a moment to look through the guide, grab a friend or two and put some of these ideas into action. Let’s make our city even better than the best!
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