Published by Filskov on Monday Apr 28, 2014 at 14:43
Democratic nation states are no longer responsible for the most important decisions that affect growth and welfare. Led by visionary mayors, the world’s largest city-regions are abandoning the nation states that gave rise to them to instead form global networks. The challenge will be to shape this development in everyone’s best interests.
The world’s 100 largest city regions currently create almost half of the world’s economic wealthy. More than half of the remaining wealth is created by the next 500 largest cities. Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated and demonstrates that we have entered an era dominated by trans-nationally connected city-states. The Russian invasion of Crimea marked a turning point for the once-powerful G8, whose influence is being challenged by new communities – such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – that are setting a new example for how to tackle and resolve the concerns of citizens.
The responsibility for striking the balance between continued growth, sustainability and social cohesion, rests on the shoulders of ‘super’ mayors. They formulate clear strategic goals to guide their city’s urban development, and collect teams of highly competent staff to drive the plans forward and execute the individual projects.
The reason why big cities foster both continued growth and improved living conditions for their residents, is because of urban strategic planning. The ability to formulate and execute urban development goals will be one of the most important factors in determining the future of the welfare state – and is the theme of this issue of Twentyfirst
Decisive decision-making alone is not enough to gain an edge in the competition between the world’s biggest cities, however. As Danish planning guru Jan Gehl points out in an interview later in this issue, the most successful cities are those who let citizens shape planning. Only the mayors who shape urban development in line with the dreams and wishes of their residents, have a chance of earning their city a place in the 21st century Major League.
Sanne Wall-Gremstrup, editor-in-chief