Future of Human-Centric Cities

The basic roadmap of human-centric urban planning isn’t complicated to follow even for a lay person. 

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Critical decisions such as the amount of resources earmarked for parks and open spaces should be taken with the human in mind. To cut down on social isolation, cities should encourage civic participation through pedestrian-only streets and open areas. The private car increases isolation and requires resources that disincentivize human-centric urbanism. 

While the contours of these plans might be straightforward, getting government on all levels to work together is a much more difficult puzzle to solve. This is especially true in cities in the emerging world that often share sustainable budgets with national-level governments. As such, a major challenge to practical human-centric urbanism is getting various city and national government offices to work together. It is time to break down silos. 

Cities also have to demonstrate a commitment to reviewing, assessing and replacing outdated policies, design guidelines and codes that contradict the goal of achieving human-centric urbanism. This might be the most difficult challenge as needs are constantly changing and evolving.[1]

A city is not stagnant. It is in constant flux. As a result, new challenges emerge and must be reviewed by nimble authorities if a commitment to human-centric urbanism is going to be upheld. One solution to this constant process of review is the use of smart city platforms that collect large amounts of data and allow city planners and authorities to make quick and informed decisions.[2]India’s relationship to smart city platforms and governance mentioned previously highlights the promise of these platforms and the work it will take to implement them.


[1] Ibid

[2] Urban Design Committee, “Human Centered Design for the Public Realm” Voices of Urban Design, 4/6/2015, 
https://medium.com/voices-of-urban-design/human-centered-design-for-the-public-realm-c11b6de3cb5d