Covid has spurred plans to redesign cities for health, happiness, and low-carbon living

What does your dream city look like? Is it a mountaintop oasis? A beachside village? A teeming megalopolis? Is it the city you already live in with better weather and free ice cream? Regardless of your particular vision, we know there are certain qualities that make cities liveable and loveable – good air quality, affordability, easy mobility, and the ability for citizens to find everything they need within a short distance. 

One of the most positive aspects of the climate crisis is that there are solutions that will not only lower emissions, but…make life better. So often we’re given gloom and doom scenarios, but in fact, transitioning to a low carbon lifestyle will, in many ways, make life a lot easier. This Politico piece paints a beautiful picture of what life will be like in cities by 2050 if we manage to bring down emissions by focusing on making cities more liveable. The work is centred around creating walkable communities, where citizens can safely move around and kids can play freely.

The concept of the 15-minute city was put forth by Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who proposes a “plan that envisions hyper-local neighborhood life in which every resident can find everything they need within a 15-minute walking or biking radius of their home.” The goal is to help people reduce their commutes, get to know their neighbourhoods, and enjoy the resources in their community. 

We know that long commutes are not only a mental drain, but a health risk. They’re also a huge contributor to the climate crisis. By reimagining cities, we solve for health and happiness, and decrease emissions in the process.

Why is it important to visualize the cities of the future? Because the task of completely imagining a low-carbon world can seem dauntingly impossible. In truth, we have the technology to realize this better, safer world – we just need the vision to see that it’s possible. Last year, a fantastic NPR feature titled “It’s 2050 And This Is How We Stopped Climate Change” made the rounds. It explored the life-changing but achievable tweaks we’ll need to make to stop the climate crisis and lead healthier, happier lives.

Once we start to imagine how the world needs to adapt, we can also start to see that these urban changes are manageable, and have huge spillover benefits. So imagine your perfect city, and tell us about it, especially if it involves free ice cream!

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