Toward a new science of cities
In anticipation of huge increases in urban population, a new science of cities is needed for more precision and efficiency in the business of urban planning. So says visiting fellow Shlomo "Solly" Angel in a wide-ranging interview with Richard Florida at The Atlantic Monthly's The Atlantic Cities site. Already half the world's population lives in urban areas, a figure than will likely rise to 75 percent by 2100, when 7.5 to 8.8 billion people will live in cities. Angel, author of Planet of Cities, recommends minimal preparations aligned with the realities of urban expansion: ample urban land for decent housing, open space, and planning for infrastructure. These challenging steps, especially for the least-prepared megacities of the developing world, can be supported by better data and analysis of past trends and future projections. The companion volume, Atlas of Urban Expansion, shows how cities have expanded over the last 200 years, using satellite imagery and historic maps, also online at the subcenter Atlas of Urban Expansion. Understanding the dynamics of urban growth will help prevent the least desirable outcome, Angel says: the many millions of poor people moving to cities living in informal settlement, or slums, without access to basic services such as sanitation and water.