ideas for cities

This Big City on tumblr is your source for ideas that can make cities better. It is curated by Joe Peach and Lucas Lindsey.

Joe founded This Big City in 2009. He is a Marketing professional and works in one of London's most sustainable buildings.

Lucas is an urbanist, futurist, and blogger. He's the child of a suburban nation, but born again believer in an urban future. He lives in Tallahassee, USA.

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Greetings! i usually go to the college by my motorcycle and pass through the main flyover of the city. when i take a look on the left, i see panorama of the city which is highly dense with unorganized low rise buildings that more looks like slums. it's about slums, in your opinion, what we can do to arrange the slums into a much better space for human that contribute aesthetics to the city? (note: i live in Bandung, for further information you may search about it) thanks!

Asked by lifemade

Thanks for the question, lifemade. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to it! Slums are typically informal developments, so change would either require significant cooperation from those who live in the slums, or recognition from governments as to the status of the slum and then action to address the issues. The challenge with the former is engaging and uniting a large group of people, and turning that engagement into action on a significant scale. The difficult thing with the latter is the politics of politics, and the massive cost and legal challenges associated with turning a slum from an informal into a formal development. In both cases, the value of the proposed changes needs to be communicated to a large group of stakeholders. Strong communication skills are therefore a must, whichever approach you took. 

- Joe

Dharavi, one of India’s biggest slums, is a mixed-use self-contained residential and commercial ‘development’ with a guesstimated population in excess of 1 million. It has a real, and very genuine, sense of community. It has a sense of purpose, its full of people with spirit and determination but most of all it has that ‘sense of place’ that adorns Australian property development and real estate marketing materials.

Rachel Smith considers whether one of India’s biggest slum has more sense of community than the Australian city she lives in

Hillbrow is far from just being a place of despair and crime, it’s a space of ‘becoming’, a microcosm of all the developments of South African society today: poverty but also possibility, xenophobia, but also solidarity. Here problems are visible and solutions are found that concern the whole South African nation.

Marietta Kesting writes about the history of Hillbrow’s built environment in Shook Magazine.

The rise of the West is over.

Rural villages worldwide are shrinking, and at a particularly speedy rate in non-Western countries. As people flock to cities to live in squatter camps and slums, Stewart Brand considers the positive aspects of this change.

Although not the most captivating speaker, he raises some interesting points and presents a simple argument for the continued urbanisation of our world.

By Joe Peach

Third World cities draw people away from subsistence farming, which is ecologically devastating, and they defuse the population bomb. In the villages, women spend their time doing agricultural stuff, for no pay, or having lots and lots of kids. When women move to town, it’s better to have fewer kids, bear down, and get them some education, some economic opportunity. Women become important, powerful creatures in the slums. They’re often the ones running the community-based organizations, and they’re considered the most reliable recipients of microfinance loans.

Stewart Brand - Environmentalist, and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog