Nine Global 'Turnaround' Cities

The world's most successful cities are integrating approaches to social, economic, and environmental issues, as well as addressing governmental concerns.

"We understand that if we want our countries to flourish, we have to love our cities and make them flourish, too", says Jan Gehl, a Copenhagen-based architect, consultant, and author.

"In the last 20 to 30 years, we have seen a number of world cities that have decided to change the balance and not let themselves get invaded by cars. They are trying to establish a better balance between cities as a meeting place, a marketplace in which to do business, and a place in which to move around. These are the 'reconquered’ cities,'" says Gehl.

"Some of the characteristics of these cities are that they are willing to put certain constraints on vehicle traffic, and they are recognizing the importance of public life to society and to the safety and enjoyment of cities. These cities have started to provide quality environments, and people have begun to come back into them and enjoy them in a new way."

Gehl believes that nine cities, in particular, have made a noteworthy turnaround:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Cordoba, Argentina
  • Curitiba, Brazil
  • Freiburg, Germany
  • Lyon, France
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Strasbourg, France

"...For the future, the biggest challenge for the world’s leading cities is climate change, according to Nicki Gavon, deputy mayor of London. 'Climate change is the overriding political imperative now facing us as city leaders,' she says."

[Editor's note: This article is available to Planetizen readers for 15 days. After that period, it is available only to ULI members.]

Full Story: Reconquering World Cities

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