4 Principles For Future Cities

There are currently 3.5 billion people living in cities, and by 2050 it’s estimated to be 6 billion people. Eduardo Paes is the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a sprawling and complicated city of 6.5 million. He shares four “commandments” for leading Rio and all cities into the future with smart infrastructure upgrades.

The first commandment is that the city of the future has to be environmentally friendly, with open green spaces, where people can meet and be in a natural environment. The Madureira park recently built in the concrete jungle of a suburb in Rio is a great example of this. The green landscape is filled with fountains, squares, football pitches, a skatepark,  wi-fi, open-air cinema and a live music stage.

madureira park in rio
Madureira Park in Rio de Janeiro.

The second commandment is that the city of the future has to deal with mobility and integration of its people by using high-capacity transportation. The BRT or the Bus Rapid Transit in Rio has dedicated bus lanes, which make this mode of transport highly efficient and without a need to dig down to build a subway. It is also very beneficial to lay out pedestrian and cycling friendly infrastructure around the entire city.

brt in rio
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Rio de Janeiro.

The third commandment mandates that the city of the future has to be socially integrated. Basic services of high quality, infrastructure and open spaces have to be created in the “slums,” just like in the rest of the city. The recently built “Knowledge Square” in Rio is a high tech place where kids from nearby poor households can come in and have access to technology.

Knowledge Square in Rio de Janeiro.

The fourth commandment is that the city of the future has to use technology to be present – with all up-to-date information available remotely and immediately. Mayor Eduardo Paes uses the “Operations Center of Rio” to oversee the city, regardless of where he is and what time of the day – the system works 24/7, with no need for paper files.

operations center of rio
Operations Center of Rio.

These commandments are some of the forward looking ways to govern and design cities. They encourage investing in infrastructure, green technologies, parks and open spaces, and integrating all parts of the society. You can watch Eduardo Paes discuss this in more detail at this TED conference:

One Comment Add yours

  1. NS says:

    You can watch more TED talks made by mayors that focus on urban development: http://blog.ted.com/why-mayors-have-more-chance-of-saving-the-world-than-global-leaders-do/.


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