Alex Steffen has delivered a TED talk in Edinburgh looking at the shareable future of cities. It is essentially a summary of views from the excellent but defunct Worldchanging website – If we can’t generate enough clean energy to replace fossil fuels then we must stop and think of alternative solutions. For Steffen, one such solution is walkable urbanism. He advocates planning, building and refabricating cities so that they are high-density and, by virtue, more sustainable.
The problem I have with Steffen’s utopian vision for the city of the future, is that it is top-down and prescriptive. It provides answers to some important questions but fails to countenance the possibility that people may not want to live in high-density areas.