“What is the city but the people?” | Human-Kind Lahore


Cities and their forms are always in terrain of struggle, as different interests for power, position and shaping the city. When the challenges are extreme, the answer is not for government to impose the solutions on people. But, paradoxically, even though the needs are very obvious, what becomes more important is to systematically involve people who live in those realities and figure out what is the most strategic way to respond to those challenges. That is where the people come in to the picture!

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

-Jane Jacobs

Cities and urban spaces are centers of development to create new opportunities. When the development is people oriented, it is not an imposition, it is an engagement of people-to bring the democratic values forward, to see a place as their mutual belonging and to put forward solutions that can bring prosperity. This is achieved through bottom-to-top approach not top-to-bottom. The idea is to transform our cities where people feel empowered, happy and safe. In other words, a city where everything revolves around people because in the end as William Shakespeare said, “What is the city but people?”

The Human-Kind City

The idea of human-kind city came from a collective based in Rotterdam- an agency for urban change that focuses on creating cities that are human & kind to ourselves, others and our planet.  Human-kind city helps cities, organizations and urban change makers to tackle the most complex urban challenges, and create a better future together! This is how they do it:

“The current urban challenges require new ways of thinking and doing. Humankind’s creative, multidisciplinary approach combines urban planning, social innovation and urban change strategies to turn visions into actions.” 

As Albert Einstein said: we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them. This is what we need to learn from Human-kind city- to design places, programs, products and processes that make a real impact on the lives of people. Hence, in order to ensure happy and sustainable future for human-kind, a paradigm shift is needed to introduce a user-centred approach to urbanization that prioritizes people.

The City of Gardens or City of Concrete & Traffic?

Lahore being the victim of rapid urbanization and sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Haphazard development, Traffic, air pollution, burdensome infrastructure- all these are the ingredients of stressful city-scape. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks, and tower dwelling an improvement on the car-dependence of sprawl? By retrofitting our cities for happiness, can we tackle the urgent challenges of our age? How to transform out cities in to - the happy city, the green city, and the low-carbon city? To learn more about achieving this transformation leading to a human-kind city, join us on 22nd October, 4PM PST at the Conscious Cities Festival 2020 event Human-Kind Lahore!

Reference:

Parham, S. (2014). Happy city: transforming our lives through urban design.

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