As Gensler explains, the next several decades will see increasing urbanization around the world. "According to data from the United Nations, by 2050 nearly 70% of the world’s population—some 6.29 billion people—will live in cities."
"Where will all those urbanites find places to breathe, to pause, to share ideas, to gather and be productive as social animals, which is why cities came to be 9,000 years ago?" he asks. "How do we avoid replicating the urban planning and development problems that we have in our modern cities, and in particular, our penchant for not placing enough value on the “people factor”? How do we avoid transporting those problems to the fast developing cities of the world?
"We need to create, reclaim, and just plain squeeze it out of our existing cities and then turn that essential space into spectacular places designed for the promotion of our humanity," he argues. Speculative projects produced by Gensler's offices in New York, Las Vegas, Bangalore, London, and Washington D.C. for the firm's Town Square Initiative offer some compelling concepts for accomplishing that goal.