Urban Planning and City Futures: Planning for Cities in the Twenty-First Century

  • Ian Strange


Historically, cities have been the powerhouses of economic growth and development, the centres of major social and cultural change, and the sites of rapid movement and change in population. As we move more and more into the twenty-first century, it is clear that cities will continue to be the focus of economic activity, the key spaces of social and cultural interaction and the home for larger and larger urban populations. The first half of the twenty-first century is throwing up major challenges to cities, to their populations, and to those who seek to plan for their development. These challenges include a rapid and rampant process of economic growth and restructuring that often leaves some places as ‘winners’ and others as ‘losers’, the continuing pressures of urbanisation and demographic change, the call for the development of sustainable forms of urban transportation and infrastructure, the need to provide more secure and affordable homes, and the rising tide of local accountability as communities seek greater involvement and participation in local decision-making. A key question to ask is: How do cities, and those who plan for them, respond to these challenges so that urban futures produce fairer and more just places? Equally important is to ask: What are the technological challenges that face urban planners and decision-makers as they search for solutions to complex and multi-faceted urban problems while cities transition from their analogue pasts to their digital futures? What forms of governance and local democracy allow greater degrees of citizen involvement and participation in the making of urban futures? And, what is the role of the state in shaping the policy and political context within which cities can plan for their futures? Addressing these questions is the focus of this chapter, and as such, it will outline and discuss some of the complexities and difficulties of planning in, and for, the twenty-first-century city.


Urban planning City futures Urban change Twenty-first-century cities 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of the Built Environment & Engineering, Leeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK

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