The United States is juggling to maintain the demands of urban lifestyle while ensuring that the historic character of the city is protected, there are walkable neighborhoods, future is resilient and sustainable, and easy access to transportation is offered to the citizens.
Resilience is defined as the potential of the individuals, institutions, communities, systems within the city and businesses to carry on unaffected by acute shocks or chronic stress.
Cities Are Closing On To Their Tipping Point
In the global scenario, cities are growing at an alarming rate. Population is projected to increase by 2.5 billion people by 2050. Going by this prediction, it is safe to assume that as the century reaches the halfway point; over 9 billion people will be living in an urban setting.
Gearing up to meet such rising demands, science and technology is relentlessly working on developing smart technology to face the influx of urbanization consequences. Technology market is predicted to reach US$1.3 trillion by the end of 2020.
On the flip-side, cities are close to their tipping point than they were to their establishment. Demographic challenges rise with the advent of technology and are closely linked to the population boom. Pressure on natural resources is reaching the red zone and demography is forced to squeeze into inadequate establishment of social welfare and infrastructure. To sum it up: with greater opportunity, comes greater risk.
Power Of Three For Resilience And Walkable Cities
Approach to growth must be shifted towards inclusion as opposed to personalization. There must be enough power generated to run the machine hand-in-hand by the private and public sector. A city’s future now rests solely on how well the government, business and entrepreneurs form an alliance to adapt, survive and grow. The triumvirate (government, businesses and entrepreneurs) are key elements of change through the development of novel technology and solutions, implementation of new policies and creating business models for industries and businesses.
Since technology cannot be viewed as the universal solution for every problem, the power of three is a model where all three participants have several considerations like:
Any investment must be scaled according the ratio of collaboration between private-public partnerships of through the development of municipality partnerships. These alliances must divide risk sharing structures and incentive schemes with a mutual payoff.
Governments must dedicate resources towards the development of organizational structures supported by tools which help in making smart decisions, big data, policy exclusion and technology inclusion. Governments must also take time out to invest in right tools and talent capable of adapting to the evolving needs.
Entrepreneurs must re-imagine the working system in an urban setting as emerging data provides the right spring board to launch micro-establishments and independent businesses. Consider the likely evolution of sharing economies and the opportunities it promises- production of resilient services and products. Entrepreneurs are presented with once in a life time opportunity to cash-in on the business potential brought about by changing times. They can provide solutions on how to approach and meet the growing public demands.
In conclusion, a long term solution will be met only when the three forces put welfare of the citizens in the center. After all, a growth of the city cannot be measured without the citizens. Solutions will be successful only when citizens feel comfortable and connected with the city through digital delivery, infrastructure, social and physical interaction and lastly social engagement. In the US such initiatives include moving towards alternative energy sources, creation of adaptable communities and resource pool to serve during the period of need.