Despite of the fact that in the last year due to the pandemic and the advantages that remote-working gives us there’s more and more people that are taking chances and going back to rural; according to United Nations in its study “World Urbanization Prospects”, in 2050 about 6,700 million people will live in urban areas, that’s 60% of world population. This is why a sustainable urban planning model is needed today, with the capacity to generate social integration, well-being and at the same time create economic opportunities for its inhabitants.
The challenges that society has had to face over the past year due to the current health crisis have prompted cities to seek innovative solutions within their own capacities, needs and objectives.
Trends in urban planning are increasingly global, ecological and inclusive. Next, we present the most outstanding ones.
The SmartCity concept has been used for some years now, and is presented as a city where technology is at the service of citizens.
Some of the advantages it brings is automation in the management of urban infrastructures, which makes it more efficient, reduces energy consumption and costs, and improves services, mobility and citizen safety.
According to studies, energy consumption in cities will account for around 75% and greenhouse gas emissions will reach 80% of the total. Taking these figures into account, it is necessary to find tools to optimise resources, both in the services themselves and to tackle serious problems derived from energy consumption.
Although the search for alternatives in the sustainability of cities has been going on for many years, in the last year there has been an increase in social and political awareness for change and the focus has been placed on the adaptability and flexibility of cities in which the health of citizens is the main concern.
The main objective of the creation of green cities is to design cities with plenty of natural spaces and cultivated land in order to mitigate pollution, lower gas emissions, reduce noise pollution levels, construct sustainable buildings and educate the population to respect the environment.
In terms of street furniture, a commitment is sought to develop durable and resistant furniture, using natural materials such as stoneor wood, recycled or limiting energy consumption. At the same time, it is also sought that this furniture generates the least possible impact on people, for example, with the use of circadian lighting.
These are variable interventions, whose nature changes depending on the need or the moment. The most commonly used is street furniture that can change its location or shape. These are flexible urban plans, designed to last in the long term, but which at the same time allow the elements to be modified as the years go by, thus adapting to the needs of the citizens.
Adapting to our elders: collaborative housing
The world’s increasingly ageing population requires new needs to improve the lives of the elderly in cities. Therefore, more than ever, a sustainable, healthy and inclusive urban planning model is needed, with furniture adapted for everyone.
More and more cities are opting for cohousing or collaborative housing, where, in addition to adapting private homes to their needs, housing developments are created with common services, open-air spaces, with direct communication with health services, promoting respect and social inclusion at all times.
Cohousing seeks to end the isolation experienced by many older people by fostering solidarity, neighbourhood support and creating an active community based on trust.