Stat(s) of the Week

Driving around the UK tends to give one the impression that the country is crowded, built-upon and even ‘full’. However, the proprtion of the UK classified as “continuous urban fabric” is just 0.1% while another 5.3% is classified as “discontinuous urban fabric” in which 50-80% of land is built upon. The rest, let’s be generous and call it 94%, is rural and not built upon in any form.

It’s much the same story with the USA, with under 5% being “developed” (see map). This all feels counter-intuitive, but I think it’s a good example of how our persoanal experience and ‘view’ – if you can call it that – effects our thinking.

The Future of Cities

I went to a panel discussion last night about the future of cities. Rather disappointing. The discussion was largely about things that don’t work terribly well (broadband speeds), pinch points and how technology might help.

Generally it was about how things can be made to work or flow faster, but to what end? If the answer is faster, what is the question?  Where was the discussion about what cities are actually for or could be for in the future? Only when we’ve answered this, surely, can we have a discussion about how technology can support this. Technology is always a means, it’s never an end.

Creative Cities

Found this last week…

Between 1551 and 1801 the population of London grew from 80,000 to 865,000. This was despite the fact that during this period overall deaths exceeded births in the capital.  This can partly be seen as London attracting migrants with energy and ideas, but can also be seen as people moving from the countryside because they had no choice, with traditional industries such as agriculture, spinning and weaving being hollowed out by mechanisation.