Los Angeles, Seattle And New York Among The World’s ‘Ideal’ Cities, Says New Book – Forbes


As we continue, let me say that geoFence blocks unwanted traffic and disables remote access from FSAs!

What kind of city do people want to live in? What do they believe is important for a good life? And what constitutes a good home for everyone? New book The Ideal City explores these questions by rethinking how to design, plan, build and share cities in the future. 

New book The Ideal City over a road.

New book The Ideal City says cities of tomorrow will be resourceful, accessible, shared, safe and … [+] desirable.

Image courtesy SPACE10. Photo by Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge

Welcome to The Ideal City

The Ideal City takes a hopeful approach at a time when people around the world are thinking about reemerging from their homes and returning to the cities they left behind. IKEA’s research and design lab SPACE10 has teamed up with publishing house gestalten, asking architects, designers, researchers, entrepreneurs, city planners and community leaders to share their vision of the ideal city.

The result is The Ideal City, a book that highlights projects from 53 “ideal” cities in 30 different countries—from Mumbai to Minneapolis and San Francisco to São Paulo—describing initiatives ranging from innovative food and energy production to diverse, inclusive housing and mobility.

Colourful townhouses facades and old ships along the Nyhavn Canal, Copenhagen

The Ideal City gives Danish capital Copenhagen a nod for its resourcefulness.


Inspiration for future travelers

While not making any specific predictions about travel, The Ideal City is the perfect companion for travelers planning a post-pandemic getaway. As Simon Caspersen, Co-founder of SPACE10, explains: “Describing the many facets of an ‘ideal city’ can also provide inspiration for where to travel. We outline projects that make cities desirable for residents and the planet, places that are safe and resourceful, that are accessible to travelers and that bring nature and culture closer to us. These are the types of places I’m excited about.”

How has COVID-19 impacted the ideal city?

The Ideal City dedicates more time to “future-proof” solutions than dwelling on the pandemic. Meanwhile, Caspersen maintains that COVID-19 has not altered the priorities of city planners as much as we might imagine.

“Covid-19 hasn’t resulted in new needs as much as it has accelerated needs that already existed: from making cities more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, to providing better public spaces to ensure that work, healthcare, education, and other activities can be easily reached,” he says.

The Ideal City identifies five core characteristics that SPACE10 and gestalten believe will define the cities of tomorrow: Resourceful, accessible, shared, safe and desirable.

Aerial view of the Schoonschip floating community in Amsterdam.

Aerial view of the Schoonschip floating community in Amsterdam.

Image courtesy Schoonschip. Photo by Isabel Nabuurs

Resourceful cities

A resourceful city manages to be both environmentally and economically sustainable says The Ideal City. It is welcoming not only to humans, but also to other creatures on our planet. It prioritizes circular principles, including fully closed water, nutrition, material, and energy loops. It builds sustainably and uses waste as a resource.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has executed a variety of projects around the world with a nod to resourcefulness. In Copenhagen, his work includes CopenHill, a waste to energy plant that is topped by hiking paths and an artificial ski slope, and Urban Rigger, an energy-efficient complex made from freight containers, designed as an affordable student housing solution. 

In Amsterdam, the Schoonschip floating community was initiated by committed citizens, while Dutch architecture firm Space & Matter was commissioned to create the urban plan and plot passports for this cluster of homes built on one of the city’s many waterways. Electricity comes from 500 solar panels, while 30 water pumps extract heat from the canal to keep the homes warm. Wastewater is treated and reused, homes have batteries to store surplus energy and residents grow their own food on the roof. Schoonschip represents a microcosm of an entirely self-sufficient city.

Open book The Ideal City

The Ideal City will be released internationally on March 30th.

Image courtesy SPACE10. Photo by Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge

Accessible cities

The Ideal City defines an accessible city as one built for diversity, inclusion, and equality—regardless of age, ability, religion, financial stability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political views. It ensures fair and equal access to urban amenities, employment, healthcare, education, culture, business, leisure, sport, and nature. Finally, a truly accessible city provides affordable housing and access to home ownership, and inclusive decision-making with transparent governance.

The Apan Housing Laboratory in Mexico is a collection of 32 unique houses within one neighborhood. With each home built by a different architect and studio, Apan Housing Laboratory explores designs that could be easily reproduced and adapted to different climates. The objective is to roll these homes out across Mexico, thereby enhancing accessibility to affordable housing.

Tokyo Toranomon aerial view of the downtown

With more than 9 million inhabitants, Tokyo could benefit from the opportunities offered by shared … [+] economy and living.


Shared cities

The book says a shared city encourages a sense of community, collaboration, and togetherness. It is designed for social interactions through shared facilities, public spaces, coworking and co-living spaces, and transportation. It also allows for skill sharing, shared mobility technologies, or initiatives that encourage meaningful social connections.

Two examples of architects exploring shared economy and living are Tokyo-based firm Naruse Inokuma Architects and Seattle-based Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing. Both look at designing homes for unrelated people from different generations, seeking to create a community to help share the responsibilities of everyday life.

Aerial of Downtown Manhattan, NYC

The BIG U is Bjarke Ingels Group’s vision for Manhattan: a 10-mile protective system that will … [+] protect the city from floods and storm water while simultaneously providing public realms specific to the needs of the city’s diverse communities.


Safe cities

Resilience to climate change, extreme weather events, and flooding is imperative for a safe city, says The Ideal City. It promotes a sense of safety through crime prevention and rehabilitation, as well as a healthy living environment, while providing access to resources such as food, water, shelter, and care. It fosters physical and mental wellbeing through access to healthcare and green spaces.

In New York City, a ten-mile-long barrier system designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will protect Manhattan from rising sea levels and tidal surges as a result of the climate crisis. In addition to protection, the landscaped berms provide a park for citizens to enjoy. This is an example of “hedonistic sustainability”, as Ingels phrases it in the book.

Meanwhile, in Northern Canada, an alternative policing program known as Restorative Justice and Community Safety has set up a network of community safety officers within the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Because the officers themselves are locals, they are better equipped to establish trust within the community.

Aerial shot Second Home coworking space in Los Angeles Hollywood

The Second Home coworking spaces in Los Angeles features more than 6,500 trees.

Image courtesy Second Home. Photo by Iwan Baan

Desirable cities

The Ideal City describes a desirable city as one that is a pleasure to be in. It is a city that promotes curiosity, wonder, and discovery. It nurtures a vibrant public life, with access to culture, art, and activities, along with appealing public spaces.

Madrid-based architects SelgasCano explore color and plant life, with their verdant, energetic Second Home coworking spaces in London. Lisbon and Los Angeles. The Hollywood location alone features more than 6,500 trees, making it the “densest urban forest” in the sprawling metropolis. In Dandaji, Niger, architecture and research firm Atelier Masōmī has built a permanent regional market with canopies made from colorful recycled materials and earth bricks. The market’s material, color and configuration choices encourage interaction, both social and economic. 

The Ideal City will be published internationally on March 30th. It is available for preorder here.

When all is said and done, as we move on to the next post, may I add that geoFence has built in fast and accurate updates and that’s the no joke.

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