The Burden of Urbanization

The rapid pace of urbanization places an enormous burden on the world. Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute discusses the economic and moral role of the United States to help emerging cities all over the globe.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 13:05 EDT | 6
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Chris Boyd
Chris Boyd  
11/21/2012 2:31:29 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: We also have a lot to learn
Hi Nicole, in my view, China's great economic transition has been accompanied by an equally impressive physical transformation. Many cities have already master planned their future expansion. I have visited several where you can view models of  these master plans which are open to the public. Generally, these plans provide for older historic downtown areas to be left undisturbed and growth areas to be decentralized. Of course mine is a subjective opinion and there will always be mistakes, but it leaves me wondering exactly what 'key role'  the USA has to offer here. 

Let me clarify that I am not anti-American. far from it. But let's change the subject a little and look at the conflict between an utterly deomocratic and consultative western planning model, and the relative ease of master planning in a more autocratic environment. One gets the job done, and the other fails miserably to get anything done. Has anyone a view on the net benifits to society?

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/20/2012 10:26:54 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: We also have a lot to learn
Chris, thanks for your reply. I think it's a good question. In general, I appreciate the perspective Katz brings and his insights very much, but on this one I found myself pondering the same things you are. At this point, I don't actually think the US is serving as such a great example as a country of morals or one that cares about its cities.

Re: "China is doing a far better job with urban master planning and the preservation of historic places." Can you say a bit more?


Chris Boyd
Chris Boyd  
11/20/2012 10:16:26 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: We also have a lot to learn
Hi Nicole, I'm a property consultant, based in Malaysia. Like many people I have visited Myanmar many times and love the country for its natural beauty as well as its people. Of course it would be selfish to hope Myanmar remains undeveloped just for the sake of visitors. Now that the country is opening up politically, it faces the  usual challenges of exploitation versus conservation. To be frank I found Katz' comments somewhat imperious. Does the USA have any real track record in urban development or regeneration in Asia? Surely it has bombed more cities than it has rebuilt?  China is doing a far better job with urban master planning and the preservation of historic places. What does Katz think the USA has to offer?

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/20/2012 9:19:22 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: We also have a lot to learn
Hi Chris. Thanks for the interesting perspective. Are you located in Myanmar? 

Chris Boyd
Chris Boyd  
11/19/2012 9:03:15 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: We also have a lot to learn
Bruce Katz' view is that the USA has an important moral and economic role to play in the development of cities worldwide. I agree. It should start with an effort to restrain the manufacturers and suppliers of American consumer products from peppering Asian cities with unsightly billboards. We are all dreading the cocacolarization of Myanmar.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/1/2012 4:44:35 PM
User Rank Staff
We also have a lot to learn
As much as US cities have to teach emerging cities around the globe, I think the United States as a whole has just as much to learn when it comes to innovation, treatment of citizens, concern for energy and new resources, and so on.

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