How cities of the future depend on models from the past

MIT Media Lab/Promo image

Clive Cookson The Financial Times tours the MIT Media lab in Boston. He visits the City Science department, which is usually identified with high tech folding cars and transformer apartments, but in fact is learning from the past as well. He speaks to Kent Larson and Ryan Chin about cities of the future:

City Science has a “back to the future” philosophy. “We stepped back and looked at the cities where we all like to be – many of them historic European cities,” Larson says. “The cities that work best are the ones organised as they were before the automobile, with small neighbourhoods 1km to 2km in diameter containing almost all the facilities that people need for daily life. So we decided to graft new technology on to the best human settlement patterns from the past.”

The 21st-century version is a “cellular city” with compact, walkable neighbourhoods – as resilient and self-sufficient as possible – connected by public transport and shared vehicles to a wider urban infrastructure.

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Tags: Cities | Urban Life | Urban Planning

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