On March 7, the Urbanization Project hosted its second Conversation on Urbanization, featuring former Toronto Mayor David Miller speaking with Paul Romer.
Miller advised that two things are imperative when building a new city: identifying / laying out an effective city grid before developing the land, and allotting space for transportation and public infrastructure, including green space. Additionally, Miller advocated that public space should be developed before private space, because it can be easy to surrender the public space during the development process.
Miller and Romer agreed that city development is path-dependent and, utilizing New York City and Toronto as examples, showed how current grid patterns align to those created by the original surveyors several hundred years ago. Well-spaced grids are essential for creating the population densities necessary to efficiently implement a public transportation system.
Today, city planners need to take additional factors such as climate change into consideration. Miller emphasized that beyond the need for green space, governments are also recognizing the need for climate resilient spaces in the city, such as permeable pavement.
You can view the conversation in its entirety below.