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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The chapter provides the background on the economics of this book, on the ‘sharing economy’ and how Uber can be assessed as an economic agent. This book understands markets as open-ended undetermined series of exchanges between a potentially unlimited number of agents. These agents engage voluntarily in the different market processes without knowing more than the other agents but judging their own beliefs, preferences and costs subjectively. Agents use the market processes in order to learn about other agents’ beliefs, preferences and costs. Market processes are cooperative actions. Whatever might be labelled the sharing economy relies on these market processes and does not in any way fundamentally change them. The sharing economy is not different from the traditional economy; to the contrary, it applies and broadens the application of market processes and individual actions. However, the role that technology plays is important. With the development of online networking, e- and online payment methods as well as individual online mobility, many business models gain scale and scope. Technology often makes it possible to diminish costs of participating in a market process, to learn quickly or gather information in a timely manner as well as to scale up some market processes. Uber, in due entrepreneurial spirit, seized this opportunity and turned it into a successful business model.