What makes for a great city in the 21st century? If one aspires to a vision like that of Vancouver, as we do, what does it actually mean and how can a city best realise its vision? Questions such as these are the reason for this book, focusing on cities in highly developed western economies and working from a perspective that sees the idea of integrated planning as a core starting point. This chapter outlines some of the important trends we have observed in urban land use transport planning in recent years, such as: a growing sustainability focus; more attention being paid to structural economic changes and how they affect the spatial structure of cities; the growing importance of neighbourhood, adding a local lens to strategic planning; the interest in compact settlement patterns and in how knowledge of built form and travel interactions can be used to promote this settlement pattern; putting transport in its place, as a servant of land use, rather than letting it determine wider urban outcomes ; and, an increased interest in governance and funding. Our interest is in identifying how the growing knowledge base in such areas can be brought together more effectively, to deliver better urban outcomes. This underlines the vital role we see for a broader, more integrated approach to strategic urban land use transport planning. Subsequent chapters explore improved practice in some detail, with extensive use of case study material.
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David L. Feldman
Cities place enormous pressures on freshwater availability because they are often located some distance from the water sources needed by their populations. This compels them to build infrastructure to divert water from increasingly distant outlying rural areas, thus disrupting their social fabric and their environment. In addition, increasing urbanization due to population growth, economic change and sprawl places huge burdens upon the institutions as well as the infrastructure that delivers and treats urban water. Finally, the spatial “footprint” caused by sprawling horizontal urban development and annexation imposes numerous problems including paving of city streets and commercial districts (which contributes to pollutant runoff and diminished groundwater recharge); consumption of water for parks and outdoor residential use (increasing evapotranspiration and taxing local supplies); and urban waste discharges that affect local to global biogeochemical cycles and climate.