The Design Challenge of Cities

With increasing urbanization spreading throughout global cities, Justin McGuirk argues that city design is the biggest challenge acing designers.

"[H]ere's the scary part: most of this growth is happening in places where millions of people already live in slums. Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi, Shanghai, São Paulo, Kinshasa: these are the fastest-growing cities in the world, most of them destined to have populations of more than 20 million by 2025. Between now and then, Lagos will have to make room for 67 new arrivals per hour. If we don't start designing for these new inhabitants now, then the potential for human misery is all the greater.

The cities we love most are slow burners, layered accretions of history – Jerusalem, Venice or Rome, for instance. Yet here we are, in the position of having to manufacture new urban spaces, as though cities were just another type of product."

McGuirk says that making these emerging urban megacities into sustainable places is the task facing architects, planners and policymakers.

Full Story: The urban age: how cities became our greatest design challenge yet


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