Favelas Can Teach Us About Future Cities – Sir David King

Rocinha_Favela_Brazil_Slums11.24.14 Sustainable Cities Collective
The UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, Sir David King, is tonight to tell colleagues dealing with urban innovation that shantytowns, favelas and medieval towns have much to teach us about how cities should be organised.
He will be speaking as chairman of the Future Cities Catapult initiative in London, where he will say that low carbon cities can’t be developed without a much greater understanding of how major urban areas work in practice, especially when they are constructed or adapted by residents to meet their own needs in a self-organised fashion.
The private event is organised by the environment charity Ashden. Speaking to a British newspaper beforehand Sir David says that we have much to learn from the kind of “self-organised urban development” that produced South American favelas: “It’s quite important that we don’t turn the advantages of a bottom-up [urban development] process into a top-down one.”
Sir David of course still believes that modern urban design has plenty of good ideas. But his views contrast sharply with those expressed in a recent McKinsey report, “A blueprint for addressing the global affordable housing challenge”, which pronounced that the world needs to find $650 billion a year to provide affordable housing for the world’s growing urban population.

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