There is another level of connectivity occurring in our cities. The quest to create ‘super-smart’ cities with the ‘Internet of Things’1 through smart devices is resulting in a global digital mesh connecting individuals, their homes, and communities. Are the connections made online in isolation more important than connections made socially on the streets? While face-to-face street connections can revitalize urban spaces and local communities, the future for the millennial-driven culture for disruptive change in public spaces could be devoid of difference, vibrancy, and interaction. What is the way forward?
As well as reconfiguring urban morphology and movement to confront a car-induced disconnection, Connecting Places, Connecting People offers ways of community-enabled place making to strengthen connections between people, place, and transport.
Pakistan Travel Guide Photo Gallery
The ‘Internet of Things’ is visualized as a hyper-connected urban environment a super-smart city. Sensors provide connectivity to everything from cars, to road infrastructure, to rubbish bins (Perera et al., 2015).
Transforming cites with transit: Transit and land-use integration for sustainable urban deveopment. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. Why do we travel? Isn’t it to access places so that we can directly manage our everyday affairs? Isn’t it to connect with other people? Connecting [with] people, getting things done-that’s what makes the travel worthwhile. (Tim Finchem, quoted in Shipnuck, 2011) wet why do our transportation systems seem more focused on movement between * places (mobility) than on safe and easy access to places (accessibility)?
How have we allowed our cities to be dominated by roads and highways and their designs to be dictated by automobiles? What have we lost economically, socially, and environmentally through this myopic vision where the concern has been solely on movement? These are questions we need urgently to address.
Spurred by these questions, and with the aim of providing a more appropriate road map to creating better communities, Connecting Places, Connecting People reconfigures the urban environment by replacing mobility-based planning with planning centered on two aspects: accessibility and place making. It deals with the negative economic and environmental repercussions of planning around movement as a dominant approach to transportation planning. A cursory examination demonstrates that the ‘mobility first’ approach, due to its reliance on segregating ‘place’ functions and ‘movement’ functions, has, over time, wreaked havoc on cities by reducing opportunities for social interaction (Appleyard, 1981; DiMento & Ellis, 2013; Giles-Corti, 2006; Jones et al., 2008; Monderman, 2005; Tiwari & Curtis, 2010; Weymouth & Hartz-Karp, 2015). Connecting Places, Connecting People refocuses our attention squarely on a fundamental question that has been languishing at the periphery of social awareness over the past half a century. What kind of places do we aspire to live in for the remainder of the twenty-first century, which will lead to healthy, safe, prosperous, equitable, and proud communities?
Perhaps the best place to start is with a review of the current state of urban environments.