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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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However, it is also important to understand the contextual differences that affect policies — what functions well in one city may not perform the same way in another.

While cities are studying from one another to deal with certain challenges, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Solutions have to be custom-developed for cities, taking into consideration the local context and the behaviour of its people.

In Zurich, for example, one of the top-ranked cities for liveability, it is vital for the population to be aware of what is being planned for the city, so that citizens are able to take part actively in its transformation and in developing solutions that work well for their city.

RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS

Almost all of the top most liveable cities in the world have excellent universities. However, the role that the university plays is more than merely to attract people to the city in pursuit of educational opportunities.

Often, the relationship between the university and the city is a historic and fruitful one. Geneva, Zurich, Vancouver and Vienna are good examples where the universities play an important role in the development of the city. These universities contribute in providing solutions for its intellectual and material growth, and where most of the value creation originates.

In Switzerland, I had the privilege to lead the participatory development process of the Science City ETH Zurich, in collaboration with the City and the Canton of Zurich. ETH Zurich, or known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, is the leading university in Continental Europe.

Working on the Science City design process, I witnessed first-hand how the university was valued by the population and, more importantly, the people were well aware of the long-term investment required in the quality of the educational system. Similarly, in western Switzerland, near Lausanne, ETH Lausanne is contributing greatly to the development and well-being of surrounding cities.

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