#citytalk 2012: Twelve Tweetchats About Sustainable Cities


2012 has been the year of the tweetchat here at This Big City, and we’ve taken to Twitter most months to host #citytalk with our friends at Future Cape Town and numerous special guests. Discussing a range of subjects from Economics to Apocalypse, it’s been a year of varied discussion around the topic of sustainable cities, with thousands of active contributors and a reach of millions of Twitter users. If you missed out on any of our twelve #citytalk tweetchats in 2012, here’s a rundown (and if you want to get involved in #citytalk in 2013, get in touch):

January – The Economics of Sustainable Cities

Money is tight in today’s cities and, for some cities at least, sustainability seems to come with a price tag beyond their budgets, with no guarantee of economic growth. So how do we justify sustainable urban development when cities with stretched budgets are struggling to do more with less?

February – The Changing Face of Housing

The way we live is changing. Certain familiarities like the single family suburban home may sink into the past. New models of sustainable habitation will emerge. The changing face of housing will influence every corner of our lives, from neighborhood social networks to the stability of our global economic networks.

March – Urban Identity

Are you your city? Not the usual question one might ask, but in a way, we are all part of our cities, for without citizens, they would not be what they are. The identity of a city bears on the identity of its citizens, and vice versa.

April – Cycling Cities

Encouraging bicycle use seems like a total no-brainer to many of those whose work, studies, or just general interest points them in the direction of sustainable urbanism. But something is stopping the bicycle from becoming a mainstream mode of transport in many cities, and we wanted to know why.

May – Future Cities

The concept or idea of a New or Future City can be unsettling, perhaps even unappealing. Because surely, a new city without history, without an established culture, or relevance in the brand space of the New Yorks, Londons and Berlins of this world, cannot be considered a real city. Or can it?

June – Jobs, Energy and Sustainable Cities

Seven critical issues were at the forefront of discussions at the Rio+20 Summit, including decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. So we dedicated a #citytalk to it.

June, again – The Digital City

There’s no looking back for cities as technology gets smaller, cheaper, and more advanced. The Digital City produces data at an astonishing pace, with citizen interactions rarely happening without a smartphone in hand. But is this vision reality?

July – Olympic Cities

The Olympic Games leave behind an indelible mark on any host city, and even those cities that have just bid for the Games. In most host cities, this mark is a combination of good and bad legacies tied into the city’s fabric and future.

August – Accessible Cities

Cities are rightly celebrated for being diverse areas where people of different abilities and cultures can co-exist. However, creating accessible cities through spaces and experiences for residents and visitors with wildly different abilities can be difficult.

September – Sustainable Communities

Social sustainability is about people’s quality of life, but what kind of factors influence this? Do those who have good relationships with their neighbours live more fulfilled lives? If we feel safe and secure, regardless of whether we actually are, are we in a more secure social position?

October – How Cities Move

While both global population and urbanisation rates have been estimated to rise, of greater significance is that roughly 75% of people will live in cities by 2050. How might this affect the way we move around urban areas in the future?

December – Apocalypse Urbanism

Cities are always changing, but a couple of things seem to remain constant: there will be challenges, and there will be ways to overcome those challenges. Or will there?

Joe Peach is Editor in chief of This Big City.