Cities are emerging as the most critical and debated phenomenon of the twenty first century. From having an insignificant impact over the global economy in early parts of last century, they have taken center stage by becoming the principle engines of not only human aspirations but also economic growth. For the first time in human history, over half of the world will live in them in the next few decades.
How we will plan or retrofit cities is far more critical than is accepted publically or exhibited in our actions thus far.
In pursuit of their economic potential we fail to recognize that cities can be crucibles of social, economic as well as environmental disasters if their evolution is not well thought out. Unless cities are treated like corporate business and made accountable to the people from their first cost to their lifecycle costs, they have the potential to become huge cash and environmental drain while being social dividers. Every successful company invests large funds in research, market analysis, customer behavior and preferences, design and innovation. Then why does this not extend to the business of creating, building and maintaining cities? Why are the real stakeholders, the people, not allowed to participate in creation of these? There is an urgent need to create cities by understanding the pace of societal change so that cities can become vehicles for greater integration of people and ideas.