What do future cities look like?
Ideally, these should not have problems such as traffic congestion, have properly planned infrastructure and are livable.
Melbourne City Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, in one of the sessions of the APEC CEO Summit Tuesday, said cities should have proper urban designs to be able to cater to both the young and old citizens.
Citing Melbourne’s experience, the Lord Mayor said that following the huge bush fire they experienced in 2009, wherein more than 400 were injured and more than 100 people died, they conducted a study on the city’s temperature.
He said it was found that temperature in the city is higher by five degree Celsius than in areas at the outskirts.
Thus, the decision to plan additional 3,000 trees annually to address the problem.
Also, Doyle said they have a citizens’ group that plans infrastructure projects which are to be approved by politicians.
He explained that citizens can do more things for their communities without primarily relying on politicians.
“It (the projects) has validity and substance that is beyond political substance,” he said.
Doyle added that dealing and coping with all kinds of disruption should also be among the focus for the city to be more livable.
Relatively, Perrin Beatty, CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said city governments should focus on how to maximize technology to their advantage.
“We need to focus on that and start making decisions now to enable us to become far more interconnected,” he said.
Beatty said effective use of technology in putting the necessary infrastructure like public transportation is a must to address congestion.
Another thing to focus on is the human factor, to address issues like the refugee crisis.
Beatty cited that in Toronto alone, half of its population were not born in Canada.
“How to ensure that in urban areas, in our societies how we’ll be able to find formula to live in harmony with each other is needed,” he said.
Also, Frank Appel, CEO, Deutsche Post DHL Group, cited three things that he thinks should be focused on – – maximizing exist ing infrastructure, long-term planning and immediate action to ensure livability of the cities.
He said traffic congestion are now among the biggest challenges of the cities, thus, he has advised local executives to increase their capacity using technology.
“It’s a very important thing to address bottlenecks in the system to maximize your capacity,” he said.
He added that concerns of the cities are not the sole problem of the local governments alone as there is a need for the private sector to pitch in solutions.
Similarly, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chair and CEO of one of the country’s largest conglomerate, Ayala Corp., said “urbanization is here to stay.”
He said urbanization further increased problems such as sanitation, thus, the need for additional infrastructure that is bigger than the existing ones.
Migration of people to urban areas has lead to huge jump in growth of cities such as in Metro Manila, which is in the Philippines’ capital region.
Zobel de Ayala added that the private sector “can bring progressive thinking” to help local governments in formulating plans for the cities.
Cities contribute around 80 percent of countries’ domestic output, thus, government should ensure that its growth are sustainable despite the rising problems caused by domestic growth.