Making Room for Urban Expansion

+ Brandon Fuller

What can rapidly growing cities learn from the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811 in New York City? How can rapidly growing cities ensure that they remain affordable and inclusive in the decades to come? We recently produced a video introduction to the work of the Urban Expansion initiative in which Solly Angel addresses these and other questions. It is a great introduction to the collaborative work that the Urban Expansion initiative is now doing with people in countries such as Colombia and Ethiopia.

Between now and 2050, 2.5 billion people will be added to the urban population of the world. We can prepare for that. We can make some minimal arrangements for that to happen especially since we know where it will happen.

Making room for urban expansion does not involve massive financial, human, or political investments. All that needs to be done now is to acquire all the land for key public works, and by that I mean an area for an arterial grid that can carry roads, public transit, and key infrastructure elements and open spaces large and small that can be kept from development. All we’re talking about is land that will take up less than 10% of the expansion area.

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