In 2010, for the first time in human history more than 50% of the World population lived in urban areas. At the same period, in Australia, 9 out of every 10 people lived in a city and nearly 6 out of 10 lived in an agglomeration of more than 1 million residents.
Hence, planning for and designing more liveable cities is becoming one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. Although the notion of liveability has attracted much attention in recent years it is fair to recognize that several misconceptions have hindered its coming into practice.
First of all, we need to accept the fact that urban environments influence people’s behaviour as much as people progressively shape their built environment. As a consequence, liveability is a highly subjective construct based on individual perceptions rather than pre-identified sets of urban features. Another misconception stems from the broad acceptation that liveable cities of the future will be sustainable ones as well. Based on current behavioural patterns, so-called liveable cities will be anything but sustainable. Making the transition will require a formidable cultural shift for most modern and urbanised societies.
This year our presenters explored some of these themes to share with our audience provocative thoughts and life-changing experiences. Each of them provided their personal contribution to making truly liveable and sustainable cities of the future.