Humanität – Cities as human habitats

The figures are staggering: in 1800, a mere 2% of the global population resided in cities. Today, that number has surged to 54%, and projections suggest it will reach 66% by 2050. Cities have evolved into humanity’s preferred dwelling places, constituting our contemporary habitats. However, city living has become a contentious pursuit, as the dynamics of society, economic resources, and technology rapidly forge a novel future.

Amidst this transformation, environmental degradation looms large, making the preservation of our natural surroundings an imperative. How can we harmonize more holistic development with the natural world and safeguard our future?

Regrettably, many cities have lost their role as vibrant social hubs and spaces for diverse interactions. It is within public spaces that we encounter one another, learn to embrace our differences, and forge connections.

All too often, we witness the erosion of urban values, such as traditional wisdom, small businesses, and iconic landmarks, relegated to insignificance. Yet, it is within these seemingly modest elements that the city’s essence and sensitivity reside.

To chart a different course, people must desire an alternative development path, rediscovering the importance of conviviality, the city’s soul, leisure, friendships, strolls, and gatherings.

These considerations demand a prominent place on the agenda. It is astonishing that an issue that profoundly affects so many lives remains inadequately discussed.

The urgency lies in envisioning cities and development from a fresh, creative perspective. At the current rate, energy demands will double by 2040, with the number of connected devices surpassing twenty times the 2020 figure. In industrial settings, this index hovers just above 50%. Cities also grapple with wasteful practices: 20% of energy is squandered in traffic, 20% in distribution, and energy, and 50% in water distribution. How will we manage the colossal volume of solid and organic waste? Our infrastructure must undergo a comprehensive overhaul to meet present demands, let alone support the next 35 years. We must explore innovative solutions instead of adhering to outdated ones.

This state of affairs reflects an individualistic and somewhat indifferent philosophy that overlooks the significance of communal coexistence and civic engagement. Conviviality should once again serve as the cornerstone for urban planning, countering the erosion of social bonds, isolation, and urban solitude.

Hence, it is imperative that we nurture our habitats—the natural ones inhabited by various species and the urban ones occupied by us, humans. Let us strive to imbue our cities with a more human-centric design ethos.