Beyond the urban? Planet-izens of the metro-village

22 marras 2018
Iina Sankala

In this blog series, we catch a glimpse of the BEMINE scenario work led by Joe Ravetz from the University of Manchester, Centre for Urban Resilience & Energy. With Integrated Envisions we aim at new insights which are beyond current trends or the results of any one study or field. These short stories are formed from the ‘baseline envisions’ developed by knowledge-mapping and co-design. This came from the creative ideas of the BEMINE partners, in workshops from 2017-2018, to explore newly emerging futures.

New forms of urban and rural living are emerging, from both local and global forces. The new peri-urban and peri-rural settlement patterns are challenging for conventional spatial planning. The urban agenda is about spatial eco-zones, hubs and policy-centric patterns. Urban-rural ‘metro-villages’ are all around: cities which green up their local neighbourhoods: or rural towns or villages which are now for high-end metropolitans. Old structures are pushed aside by new divisions of growth and decline, high or low value, local or global, insiders or outsiders.

Meanwhile the new generation of ‘planet-izens’, with flexible local-global lifestyles and work-styles show a new kind of relational city. Whether people follow jobs, or jobs follow people, many people follow communities family structures. While modern urban development often builds ‘non-places’ (malls, airports, fast food etc), many search for places with more personal meaning. The result of rapid urbanization and regional growth or in some cases decline is not just a simple technical change, but changes in people’s life patterns and family systems.

This is likely to bring new directions for the future. One is the tech-enabled globalized multi-locality of new work and life combinations, with a new kind of peri-urban. Another direction is towards  nature-enabled, localized, semi-rural communities which keep their links to the past, while serving the logic of the future: a new kind of peri-rural. To respond to these new patterns, it seems local government and spatial planning may need to re-invent itself.

What is the dynamic? Workers and citizens make individual choices on location and lifestyle. There are new models of citizenship and participation that are combinations of social norms and expectations, political mandate and outcomes and cultural mindsets and ideologies. Financiers and entrepreneurs are active in property and development. Infrastructure providers deal with demands for new kinds of systems. Policy makers and spatial planners have to manage a rather different kind of urban-rural pattern.

What are the challenges? New forms of settlement, spatial economies and communities raise new challenges for spatial planning and public services. The new patterns may cut right across the policy objectives of urban fabrics, and the management of density and infrastructure and services.

Joe Ravetz, University of Manchester, Centre for Urban Resilience & Energy

Got interested? Come visit us at the open house poster session in the upcoming Urban Forum V 23.11.2018! These are also some of the most relevant topics in this Envision:


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