Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life

Jun 24, 2010, 08:39 ET from Institute of Transportation and Development Policy

New publication shows how cities can create sustainable transport

NEW YORK, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a publication released today, visionary urbanist Jan Gehl and Walter Hook, Executive Director of the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), together set out ten keys to building successful cities. "Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life" shows how cities from New York to Nairobi can meet the challenges of rapid population growth and climate change while improving their competitiveness.

In a concise, vibrant and accessible format, the booklet promises to be a "must read" for all those involved in city design and urban planning, and forms the backbone of the ITDP exhibition "Our Cities Ourselves," which opens on June 24 at New York's Center for Architecture, before traveling to China, Brazil, Mexico and beyond.

"Cities of the twenty-first century should be lively cities, safe cities, sustainable cities and healthy cities," says Jan Gehl. "All of these qualities can be achieved if we embrace these ten principles, which means putting people first."

Cities face massive population growth, particularly in the developing world. By 2030, 60 percent of the world's population, or 5 billion people, will live in cities. The transportation sector currently accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, a growing proportion derived largely from cars and trucks.

Without a significant move away from car-dependent suburbanization to pedestrian-friendly and public transit-oriented urban planning, cities will face growing difficulties financing the necessary infrastructure. As a result of inaction, preventing the two-degree rise in global warming that threatens cataclysmic climate change will be nearly impossible.

"When I was growing up, we used to think that in the future we would all be traveling around on monorails, or in flying cars. In cities with 25 million people, this sort of thing just isn't workable," says Walter Hook, Executive Director of ITDP. "Now, our dreams are full of elegant pedestrian promenades along waterfronts alive with fountains and children playing, of great bike paths connecting to public squares alive with cafes, musicians, and performance art."  

Some cities are waking up to this reality, and changing direction. "Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life" showcases examples of cities reaping the benefits of integrating urban planning and design that gives priority to pedestrians and transit. It is designed as a guide to cities and countries wishing to make their cities more competitive and livable, while helping to solve the problem of climate change.  

"We are thrilled to launch the 'Our Cities Ourselves' global program at the Center, but also to see this important booklet arrive. The principles outlined--and beautifully so--offer a promising future for New York and other growing cities," says Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director of the Center for Architecture and the American Institute of Architects' New York Chapter. "I think I speak for the architects of New York when I say we look forward to realizing these principles in our designs."

What are the ten principles of sustainable transport?

  1. Walk the walk: Create great pedestrian environments.
  2. Powered by people: Create a great environment for bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles.
  3. Get on the bus: Provide great, cost-effective public transport.
  4. Cruise control: Provide access for clean passenger vehicles at safe speeds and in significantly reduced numbers.
  5. Deliver the goods: Service the city in the cleanest and safest manner.
  6. Mix it up: Mix people and activities, buildings and spaces.
  7. Fill it in: Build dense, people and transit oriented urban districts that are desirable.
  8. Get real: Preserve and enhance the local, natural, cultural, social and historical assets.
  9. Connect the blocks: Make walking trips more direct, interesting and productive with small-size, permeable buildings and blocks.
  10. Make it last: Build for the long term. Sustainable cities bridge generations. They are memorable, malleable, built from quality materials, and well maintained.

Copies of the book are available from June 23, 2010. For a review copy of "Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life," contact Claudia Gunter, Communications Officer, ITDP, cgunter@itdp.org, (646) 839-6479.

Our Cities Ourselves will be on view from June 24 to September 11, 2010 at the Center for Architecture in New York City. Visit www.ourcitiesourselves.org for more information. Our Cities Ourselves on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ourcities.

Founded in 1985, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy promotes environmentally sustainable and socially equitable transportation solutions in cities worldwide. For more information, please visit www.itdp.org.


SOURCE Institute of Transportation and Development Policy