by Alejandro Echeverria at This Big City
With the World Urban Forum taking place this April in Medellin, Colombia, cities come to the spotlight once again at this UN Habitat’s flagship event. This is a climactic moment because as of the last WUF, a handful of events, summits and movements have sprung across the globe celebrating, addressing and debating the cities in which we live today.
Cities are at the centre of many political, corporate and social agendas, from a shifting to local authorities, power devolution to communities to urban innovation initiatives from Fortune 500 firms and dedicated sections in top news journals, everyone seem to be hoping on board the urban train. This however, makes it increasingly harder to differentiate between authentic movements with true adherents and a passing trend that enhance the marketing strategies of some, and the sale of their goods and services.
Of course, cities are important, but are we over-talking them? Is it a case of too much discussion spoils the broth. The latter is hard to acknowledge because cities have been around since the dawn of civilisation and tagging them as a trend becomes somewhat redundant. But, with the advent and growth of new mass communications streams, it is clear that cities have come to be at the centre of everyone’s attention.Given, more than half the world’s population now does live in cities, but whether it is just another trending topic on social media channels or whether the city as a topic for discussion is the wrong scale or view to improve urban life is still uncertain.
For our next #citytalk, we invite you to discuss whether cities are just a passing hype or a true shift for communities towards more localised agendas that puts the immediate surroundings at the centre of their lives.
Image source: UN-HABITAT Photo Gallery