How “Trash” and Skateparks can Help Build Sustainable Cities

As the world population grows and our available resources shrink, we need to rethink urban development and explore more sustainable ways of living. Accommodating ever growing populations, cities need to be inclusive and creative in this process. It will also be necessary to make smart use of all available resources and available space.

“Necessity is the mother of invention” – Plato

In times of economic expansion, wealth is often unevenly distributed, creating great inequality between countries, cities, and neighborhoods. While the wealthier consume or invest, the less privileged need to make use of less – sometimes by using “trash” disposed by the rich. Watching and learning from areas of scarcity, we can get a fresh view of creative solutions and realize that not every change needs to cost a fortune. This is highlighted by Teddy Cruz in his TEDGlobal talk from 2013 and in a TED blog post about five of Teddy Cruz’s projects.


Another important aspect of inclusive and sustainable cities is giving attention to the needs of the residents. Include them in the development of the city, let them be a part of the change they want to bring about – that way they will feel more excited and responsible for it. People want to get involved and be a part of something bigger. Often what is missing is the starting point – an idea, an initiative, a purpose. When that has been defined, it is not difficult to get people involved. And when new initiatives arise, it is imperative that the city does not immediately crush, but rather embraces them. This is discussed and exemplified in a TEDxBangalore talk by Abhishek, who talks about his fight to build free skateparks in India.


Header image credits royalty free

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About Monika Abramczuk

Monika studied biotechnology and molecular biology. When not engaged in research, she likes to read spy thrillers, drink tea, bake and travel.

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