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Reviving the Urban Planning Section

Started by wishfulanthony, April 14, 2009, 09:46:55 PM

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I've seen that this area is inactive for quite some time, and my recent travels around the San Francisco Bay Area (historically to other places as well) made me think of wanting to revive this portion of the Forums. I, personally, am pursuing into Urban Studies soon at either San Francisco State University or UC Berkeley, and my experience with thinking about cities has roots all the way back when I was age 7, when I started to create a map of Metro Manila. Afterwards, I have been introduced to SimCity (with SC3000 being the first one), and I have been hooked to it ever since.

Map of Manila link:,120.976124&spn=0.071925,0.154495&t=h&z=13&iwloc=A

Overview of Manila:

My rendition of a city (not necessarily Manila):

I have so many questions that really make me want to go deeper on how to actually run cities in real-life, the most important ones being:

  • What are the most important priorities that need to be in place in making a livable city? How can cities become sustainable in a very competitive environment where people want to get more opportunities from working in rural areas?
  • How can new technologies, such as adopting alternative energy, be beneficial to an ever-evolving metropolis, and what strategies can be used to let those technologies carry the most benefits?
  • How are the current planning and zoning laws faring in today's more sensitive societies? What adjustments or revisions can be made for such laws to be adoptive to the current citizens' concerns on the environment, particularly on global warming?
  • What is the current state of transport systems around the world (be it on the buses, trains, any form of mass transit)? Are there any suggestions on how to improve such transportation modes in place to provide service to the people in need (especially the disabled)?
  • Are planning laws in place to provide such provisions, such as when a developer creates X number of homes, s/he must provide Y units of parks or recreational areas for the people living in communities? What are the possibilities of reviewing zoning laws that would allow development of parks, schools, and recreational facilities in line with population growth?
  • What is the best way to deal with impoverished people living in slum areas?

Probably, by integrating what I do at SimCity 4 and putting it in real-life terms, it could be a difficult struggle at times (think of bureaucrats who want things their way many times without fully considering the public's wants), but I think through a careful examination of what works and what doesn't, and by actually evaluating various proposals for a city's eventual growth, it would be beneficial, not only for the citizens, but also for the environment and the economy as well. I think it will take more than patience to really see an ideal city, but, there are steps that need to be made (i.e. reviewing old zoning laws) in order to create livable cities. From poverty resolution to public transportation, cities have gone a long way in improving its own image, but, it will take more time in order for a city to be "ideal" in nature: clean, poverty-free, connected, and democratic.
Urban Studies and Planning
San Francisco State University ยท UC Berkeley


I think all your questions could keep planners discussing and researching for years if not eternity. I believe there are no set answers for city planning, and would claim it is not possible to "plan" the ideal city.