The Future of Places forum is arranged and financed by Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson foundation and has as collaborative partners UN Habitat and Project for Public Spaces. The overall purpose is to indicate the importance of public space and placemaking in city planning at Habitat III 2016. The means are three international conferences (2013, 2014 and 2015), national seminars, books and reports and an exhibition at Habitat III.
Cities can continue to grow chaotically without regard to human social needs and environmental consequences or we can embrace a sustainable and equitable process which builds community, enhances quality of life, and creates safe and prosperous neighborhoods.
We are convinced that in the future, the most functional cities will be the ones that encapsulate the public realm and the people who utilize these places. This is a people centered vision for cities – one that enables a transformative shift in the traditional planning and management of cities, a shift that benefits everyone, specifically those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
City growth is all too often seen as a problem. We believe that the problem is not the rapid growth of cities per say, however, but the inability of cities to manage growth to best utilize limited space and community resources in pursuit of sustainable urban development. When we begin looking at cities in a positive light, we can see new opportunities for grassroots advocates and city governments alike – to build relationships, to take action, to create positive experiences for people, and to encourage the creative interaction that is essential to creating great cities.