Important, simple and powerful ideas to inspire Cape Town on its journey to become a sustainable destination and to mitigate (and adapt to) climate change.
Good urbanism has these three basic principles: One is human scale, which has to do with designing public spaces around the pedestrian rather than the car. Ironically human scale can exist in incredibly dense places, like Manhattan, or in relatively low density places, like the historic centers of our rural towns. While there’s a huge variety, they are walkable, human scale, and the end result is still urban.
Diversity is another key ingredient of urbanism and basically says that you have to have a range of uses mixed together, you can’t isolate housing and shopping and employment into separate zones. But also you need a diverse population — you can’t isolate age groups, income groups, and family types. Those two fundamental principles, human scale and diversity, are always at the heart of urbanism, whether it’s in a city context or in a small town context. That’s one of the most important messages.
The third principle, which wasn’t historically part of urbanism, is conservation and restoration. It used to be that a city would pretty much plow over whatever got in its way, whether it was wetlands or any aspect of the natural environment. There needs to be a greater sensitivity to the ecological context. But I think we can weave different kinds of urbanism around the ecological framework that we want to preserve and enhance.
This is just the start of the interview — much more, and well worth a full read.