People and Sustainable Cities: 5 of the Best Blog Posts of 2012


Though the built environment can encourage certain behaviour choices, cities are ultimately shaped by the people within them. Here at This Big City our focus has predominantly been on the human aspect of sustainable cities since we started publishing back in 2009, and this year we finally dedicated a category to people and their contribution to sustainable cities. Here’s five of our favourite posts from this category in 2012:

Can Karaoke Transform Public Space?

In this post, Rachel Smith looks at how one simple urban intervention is changing Berlin:

Government agencies and marketing bureaus across the globe strive to find ways to get people into parks and using public spaces. But in a not-so-pristine park in Berlin, an Irish guy named Joe draws crowds of more than 3,000 people … with karaoke.

You can read the full post here.

Branding, Rebranding and Unbranding the City

Western cities have done a fantastic job of positioning themselves in the global psyche. Alejandro Echeverria finds himself considering how our collective mindset may change in the future:

As the Western city faces the greatest identity crisis since the post-war years, will it be able to maintain its presence in the collective imaginary around the world? Or will the famous I (heart) NY shift to Shanghai Pudgong?

You can read the full post here.

Chicago’s Plans for Encouraging Cultural Participation

How can a city be creative if the citizens within it can’t support themselves financially through creative practice? Meg Peterson looks at plans to tackle this problem in Chicago:

Chicago artists often have difficulty making a living wage, with Artists, once they reach a certain caliber of recognition or ambition, migrating to the more culturally known cities of New York, or L.A. The Chicago Cultural Plan aims to tackle this issue.

You can read the full post here.

It’s Time for a New Approach to Urban Design Education

As cities across the globe experience unprecedented change, how are universities responding with their urban design education options? In this post, I call for change:

Developing a better understanding of the interconnected nature of urban environments allows us to design cities that are more efficient, more liveable, and more sustainable. With the global population increasing and urbanising rapidly, the need for this understanding has never been greater.

You can read the full post here.

Reinventing Cities with a New Urban Language

Can language be used to change how we perceive our cities? In this post, Adam Nowek explores the urban language:

Certain cities have transcended their status as a proper noun in order to become other forms of speech: adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs. This isn’t just the name of some urban planning design technique: it’s the way we, as humans, valorise a place and give it deeper, more fundamental connotation.

You can read the full post here.

The Best of 2012 on This Big City: People | Planning | Digital | Transport | Buildings