We feature a lecture by Mike Davis about his book Planet of Slums, which investigates the increasing inequality of the urban world. According to the U.N., more than one billion people now live in extreme poverty in mega-cities facing environmental and social collapse from perpetual and worsening climate disruptions.
“Vertical City,” a complete ecosystem in the sky that you never have to leave, accommodates population growth and protects the planet, but may have significant drawbacks for the people who call it home and their connection to the earth. Projects in China and Dubai illustrate the concept and its limitations.
Master planned, self contained New Cities have appeared all over Africa. Emulating models from the global north, private-sector boosters advance them without considering factors such as environment, economy, context and even poverty. Nairobi-based urban practitioner Jane Lumumba argues they might only make social and economic problems worse.
In Dhaka, climate change refugees are moving from the countryside and into squalid slums due to repeated monsoonal floods that have rendered traditional farmland unusable. A new documentary by Ami Vitale from the Knight Center for International Media wades through the floods, looking for solutions.
Rapid industrialization in China has caused a massive migration to crowded, faceless and polluted urban mega-cities of 10 million residents or more. They should consider Italo Calvino’s utopian “Invisible Cities” to rethink the role of imagination in urban planning.
Unsustainable urban sprawl continues to spread through the world responding to massive population growth and poor planning practices, as people clamor to escape the crowded, contaminated, crime-ridden urban miasma like Cairo.