Visionary Smart City Planning – Integrating Strategies that Work

Strategies are usually the result of brainstorming sessions with specialized experts, a moderator, and of course, the stakeholders. Ideas are the inspiration and people are the motivational drivers behind implementation. But, how often do we have a moment of hindsight and wish we’d thought of X?

We recently read an article published by Planetizen and came away with some proven strategies put forth by Jan Gehl, prize-winning Danish architect and urban designer. They state that Gehl’s research and ideas about the form and use of public spaces have shaped hundreds of cities. Consider:

  • Integrating the people and/or NGOs in the planning process. “People have always been the strongest supporters of cities, and politicians answer to them.”
  • Your city’s political structure. Will its governance allow innovation? Can it set policy? Will it support your plan? If not, what changes need to be made in order to achieve your goals?
  • This statement in the article: “Public support and engagement can promote policy and program sustenance in democratic contexts amidst political competition and turnover.” How can you leverage this by involving the public representatives and local news sources to support your planning process and again, achieve your goal?
  • Your engagement strategies. Are you planning on reaching out to your citizens in a meaningful way?
  • Always emphasizing the positive changes.
  • Data collection and analysis on how your citizens use your city can be used to emphasize improvements that mean something to the people.

The referenced article, written by Lily Song, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design and Senior Research Associate with the TUT-POL project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, is well worth the read. She goes into much more detail and gives excellent examples taken from Jan Gehl’s recent visit to the Harvard Graduate School.