Cities in the 21st Century

It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful - they are found because it was possible to find them.

- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Cities are humanity's greatest achievement. Since antiquity, they have been cradles of civilization and the engines of growth, innovation, and development. According to the World Bank, more than half the planet's population today lives in urbanized areas - a number that ranges from 30% in poor nations to 80% in wealthy nations. Not only are cities centers of population, they are the very source of human prosperity, quality of life, and wellbeing.  
But for all of this, as dense concentrations of people and activity, cities often seem to magnify the world's many social, economic, and environmental problems. The fact is that cities - as spatial systems that commonly merge into vast conurbations extending over thousands of square miles, encompassing tens of millions of people and firms - are at once very ordered and highly complex. Understanding urbanization and managing its evolution in a manner that maximizes its positive outcomes and minimizes its negative impacts through careful, objective planning ranks among the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century.
The Sustainable Urban Planning Program is founded on the idea that, for all of their challenges, cities hold the solutions to many of society's most intractable problems - including rapid population growth, ecosystem degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource depletion, endemic poverty, and more - and that unlocking these solutions requires not only learning from the past, but, also, creating knowledge for the future. For this reason, the program is highly analytical and emphasizes the need to understand cities - and the challenges they present - in a deep way. It approaches urbanization with rigorous objectivity and views the practice of urban planning as both a humanitarian and scientific enterprise.


城市是人类最伟大的成就。 自古以来,城市就是文明的发祥地和发展创新的引擎。 根据世界银行的统计,今天地球上有超过一半的人口居住在城市里,其范围由贫穷国家的30%跨度到到富裕国家的80%。 城市不仅是人口的中心,更是人类繁荣、高品质生活和幸福的源头

但是对于这一切,汇集高密度人群与活动的城市,往往会放大这世界上的许多社会、经济和环境问题。 事实上,城市作为一个绵延数千平方英里,包括数千万人口和企业的空间系统,是高度复杂且非常有序的。 理解城市化、管理城市化进程,以达到最大化城市系统的积极影响和最小化城市化的负面影响,将是21世纪城市化面临的最有压力的挑战

该可持续城市规划项目的创建基于这样一个理念,即对于所有的挑战,城市有解决许多社会最棘手问题的方法,包括人口的快速增长、生态系统退化、温室气体排放、自然资源枯竭、地方性贫穷等。 解决这些问题不仅需要从过去学习经验,而且还要能为将来创造知识。 出于这个原因,该项目是具有高度的分析性,并且特别强调了更深层次的对城市(和其所面临的挑战)理解的需要。 它用一种严格的客观性来理解城市化,并认为城市规划是人道的和科学的事业