A new golden age of cities has ushered in an era of intensification and redevelopment in urban centres. As a result, many cities are enjoying re-found affluence, but are also faced with growing affordability issues, something underlined in a recent Metropolis Magazine article. In many ways, the high societal cost of exclusion mirrors the burden that sprawl placed on public finances. As this cost becomes clear, triple-win projects that benefit residents, the city-region, and private actors are well-positioned for success.
Across most of the western world, more people are living alone in cities than ever before. This shift provides independence for many, but also increases the risk of isolation. As Failed Architecture writes, when this shift is coupled with new developments that are devoid of shared space, the potential for social isolation, spatial segregation, and the overall atomization of society is exacerbated. Have we learned from past building mistakes or in the age of individualism, are we amplifying them?
Many cities see the attraction of tech jobs as the key to their socioeconomic success. There is truth in this, but for cities that have experienced considerable success, do the drawbacks outweigh the benefits? Zef Hemel, Amsterdam’s former chief planner, suggests that his city, and others in similar positions, should focus on maintaining social housing. An inclusive approach to urban economic development could be the path to sustained success.
Affordable housing development is unlikely to be the first role of school districts that comes to mind. However, school boards across the US are making the most of their vacant land and doing just that. Building on housing needs of their own employees, school districts in LA, Detroit and Oakland are partnering with affordable housing developers and scaling-up their projects to the meet the demands of their staff and the communities around them.