CityLab Editor Richard Florida sat down with UrbanFootprint Co-Founder Peter Calthorpe to get his take on the latest issues impacting cities today, including technology, autonomous rapid transit, NIMBYism, and more.
As a world-renowned planner, veteran advocate of sustainable design, and a founding member of the Congress for New Urbanism, Calthorpe shared his hopes and fears for the future of American urbanism and how new technology is giving us a better chance to head in the right direction. When asked if his perspective on the future of cities is more optimistic or pessimistic, Calthorpe responded:
“I’m both. I think you can’t be intelligent and not be both. I am optimistic because cities offer the best, least-cost solution to so many of our challenges. Better than just technological fixes, healthy urban forms can resolve multiple issues simultaneously. For example, housing [units] placed in walkable mixed-use areas near transit and jobs cost no more than scattered subdivisions, but they are more affordable to homeowners, need less energy and water, cost less for cities to service, generate less carbon, and create stronger communities. These are the co-benefits I was talking about, co-benefits that can generate new, powerful coalitions. I am pessimistic when I realize most cities don’t have the tools or processes to uncover these synergies—and too often default to piecemeal planning driven by professional and agency silos.”
Read the full CityLab interview and get Calthorpe’s latest insights on sustainable urban planning.