Commentary

Inclusive, cooler cities: A different take on liveability

Inclusive, cooler cities: A different take on liveability
One way of combating heat in cities is enhancing urban infrastructure such as planting trees to increase shaded areas. TODAY file photo
Published: 4:02 AM, May 30, 2013
Updated: 6:50 PM, May 30, 2013
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GOOD GOVERNANCE

All reports point to the importance of good governance for the liveability of the city. The interaction between the citizens and the individuals that work for the progress of the urban community is decisive in the success of an urban system as a liveable city. Good governance must also be inclusive.

In their book Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson describe Venice during the 13th century as perhaps the richest and most attractive city in the world. However, they also state that the switch from an inclusive to an extractive system marked the start of decline for the city.

They go on to show, with various examples such as London, New York and Vienna, that the opening up of the system to include citizens in decision-making processes has led to an increase in wealth, liveability and attractiveness of the cities. It is good to see that Singapore is taking this approach to involve its citizens in the planning of the city.

AWARENESS

Awareness of best practices is another important precondition for a liveable city. The city’s governing bodies have to be aware of what works and what does not work in cities around the world.

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