Creating more livable cities

matt_incommonMatt Covert was featured in the Spring/Summer edition of In Common magazine.  Several UW-Madison Nelson Institute alumni were asked to look 30 years down the road and imagine more livable, sustainable urban communities.

See how he answered the following questions:

What will the cities of the future be like?

That question has been explored for centuries. It drives the plot in countless works of fiction and film, with visions ranging from Ernest Callenbach’s optimistic Ecotopia to the dark and dysfunctional Los Angeles of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.  Entertainment aside, the matter of our metropolitan future has grown in urgency as the world rapidly urbanizes. Researchers, planners, investors and advocates face a difficult question:

How can we design and build interconnected physical and social systems that enable cities to provide clean air and water, nutrition and health, quality housing, access to nature, civic engagement, and personal and economic security for all citizens?

“Sustainable cities in thirty years will have several notable features. First, metro areas will be more polycentric, meaning that older, inner-ring suburbs will develop walkable urban centers and increased population densities to support them.

Second, sustainable cities will look quite different at a bird’s-eye view from current ones, as communities cope with changing climates by painting rooftops white (or growing them green), choosing renewable energy, and divesting in costly automobile infrastructure.

Most importantly, cities will take an active role in their broader surroundings, using and mimicking healthy ecosystems to revolutionize the waste stream, stormwater runoff, and the urban food system.”


See how all alumni answered these questions.