Key Cities, a non-partisan network of 25 cities across England and Wales, has published its report The Healthy City. The report describes a new vision for cities to be achieved by the year 2050.
The envisioned city of 2050 puts people first, with the motto: ‘Healthy, Attractive, Accessible, Adaptive, For All’. The report states that this would require the creation of a national vision and planning strategy, with new frameworks to replace the existing local planning systems.
The ‘Health First’ principle is the first and most important agenda item – which means urban environments that have zero pollution, are fully integrated with nature, and dynamic in promoting physical activity and well being.
RecognizIng that health is influenced by multiple factors, cities need to be attractive to people in a variety of ways. This could include the potential for economic opportunity, as well as cultural and entertainment experiences. The report points out that attractive, smaller cities provide more opportunities for social interaction -an important factor in an individuals’ health.
Cities need to be accessible, with well-connected neighborhoods that include concepts such as the 30-45 minute city and 15-20 minute neighborhoods. Increased public transport and mobility on demand would help reduce the reliance on private traffic – reducing pollution and allowing existing roads to be converted into a green infrastructure.
Being adaptive means that cities should be more resilient in order to better face the challenges presented by climate, and better able to participate in a circular and sharing economy. Finally, being a city ‘for all’ would work to ensure that these positive changes would be inclusive.
The report states: “Thinking around our cities is evolving very quickly and every idea or proposal contained within this report has a basis in the real world. Changes to legislation and/or increased resources may be required to be able to implement some ideas, but none of them are impossible given what we know today about technological trends and what works, or is best practice, in terms of city design and management.”