How to Make an Attractive City

by Jörgen Eriksson on March 5, 2015

“We can therefore understand all of the cardinal virtues by considering how each is embodied in the organization of an ideal city.”
– Socrates in The Republic, by Plato

Barcelona Innovation District

Six fundamental things a city needs to get right

place_exellenceHumanity has not put up a single beautiful city since 1905, claims the narrator. The video below presents a manifesto about how to make attractive cities. The main point is that six things are required to make a city feel right. They are:

  1. Organised complexity, through a combination of order and variety.
  2. Visible life, where the life of the city is on display. The more life and people we see when we walk down a street like Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the more attractive it feels.
  3. Compact, with high density of people and the balanced moderating input of living close to each other, with lots of public spaces where we can hang out. Ideally squares, not more than 30 meters across, containment, not claustrophobia.
  4. Orientation and Mystery, by definition cities are huge, but the cities we love also have a lot of backstreets and small lanes, where we can feel cosy and get a bit lost.
  5. Scale, too tall buildings make cities dull. On average five floor buildings, with some purposeful landmark towers that are really special is the ideal.
  6. Make it local, there are many distinct styles of happiness and the modern sameness of cities is a problem. Cities need to have strong characters related to the local culture and settings. Find a style of architecture that make your location specific.

Why do we not make attractive cities in recent times? The video claims we have an intellectual confusion about beauty and a political lack of will to regulate opportunistic developers that puts profit before ambitious city planning regulations. The proof of success? It lies in visitor statistics.

I was recommended to watch the 15 minutes video by John Banka at Colliers in Warsaw, and I fully agree with him that this video is fascinating. It is produced by The School of Life.

How to Make an Attractive City

About Jörgen Eriksson :

Jörgen Eriksson is the founder of Bearing and is the Chairman of the firm since it was created. He has successfully expanded Bearing into covering projects on four continents. He is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management at the International University of Monaco and at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and he is an active member of the Founders Alliance organisation.

Working with consulting engagements across Bearings practices, he has over the past fifteen years participated in and supervised a large number of client projects, from innovation system development and place development and branding, to merger and acquisition assignments and leading edge research and business development activities for key clients.

His new book, Branding for Hooligans, will be published in 2015. It is about how innovation and branding are key survival factors in our modern times of hyper competitive markets.

Prior to Bearing, he was Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Trema Treasury Management, a technology and consulting services provider, supplying financial software solutions for the global financial industry, Clients included The European Central Bank, Citibank, SEB, South African reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as well as many other large financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Early in his career Eriksson was educated at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he studied economics, financial economics and philosophy. He then worked in Scandinavian investment banks and also for the Swedish Institute of National Defense Research.

You can contact Jörgen on e-mail jorgen.eriksson@bearing-consulting.com, connect on LinkedIn on http://fr.linkedin.com/pub/jörgen-eriksson/0/38/8a0/ and follow him on twitter on joreri508.

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