Forging New Urban Policies for the 21st Century

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Forging New Urban Policies for the 21st Century

As humanity has entered what has been called both the Anthropocene Age and the Urban Age, we need to be globally conscious of how we may be able to successfully create a sustainable urbanity. While our various national political systems have taken a number of actions to combat global warming and other features of sustainability, these actions have clearly been inadequate to the task, so the present article focuses on what urban areas and their governments, which contain within their borders both the vast majority of our planets population and economic products, can do to bring about environmental sustainability.

An Urbanist Manifesto

Humanity has now entered the Anthropocene Age, a geologic age demonstrably different from all others, identifiable by its pronounced human activity. As with the Mesozoic (the Dinosaur Era) and the Quaternary (the Ice Ages), there will be certain traits left in sedimentary rocks currently forming that will tellingly identify our Anthropocene Age.

Strategizing Urban Policies for the Anthropocene

The effects of human activity on the environment over the past few centuries have given rise to some of today’s most pressing challenges. This article is the first in a five-part series outlining economic, ecological, political, and cultural stratgies for creating a more sustainable and equitable world.

Strategies for Urban Economies

Given today‚Äôs concerns regarding global warming, mass extinctions, and income inequality, we must address the underlying economic facets of these challenges to our urban fabric. Following the foundations put forward in the lead article, ‚ÄúStrategizing Urban Policies for the Anthropocene,‚ÄĚ this analysis will help form strategies for sustainable cities that provide enhanced qualities of life for all citizens.

Strategies for Urban Ecology

History is littered with civilizations whose cities suffered ecological collapses, from the Fertile Crescent to the Indus Valley to the Mayans, Anasazi, and many, many others. As we enter the Anthropocene, we must learn from their mistakes and correct our own civilization’s similar trajectory of inadequate responses to overpopulation, resource extraction, climatic changes, mass extinctions, and more.

Strategies for Urban Regimes

Jared Diamond‚Äôs “Collapse” and Joseph Tainter‚Äôs “The Collapse of Complex Societies” teach us that autocratic governments which protect the vested interests of the wealthy and powerful are the most likely to suffer collapse. They are not willing to spend the core group resources to fund necessary responses and adjustments to larger societal problems‚ÄĒand to do so before it is too late.

Strategies for an Urban Cultural Life

An individual’s quality of life has much more to do with personal freedom, quality of health, personal relationships, and job satisfaction than it does with income, attainment of wealth, or the acquisition of an abundance of consumer goods. A city must support these former facets if it is to thrive. In other words, a city that provides a good quality of life can attract and retain the highly educated, skilled workers and innovative entrepreneurs it needs to remain economically viable and to best respond to inevitable challenges.