Tim Stonor has contributed a chapter to a new book, Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation. Edited by Prof Jason Pomeroy and published by Routledge, Cities of Opportunities was launched earlier this year at the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi. In his chapter, “The science of street life and the rebirth of the boulevard”, Tim discusses the negative consequences of spatially fragmented urbanism – car dependency, low levels of physical activity and socio-economic isolation – and argues for a data-driven approach to future urban design, built around connected networks of slow, mixed use and moderately dense streets.
Tim argues that urban planners should use scientific techniques of observation, analysis and forecasting, learning from failed urban development as well as from successful places, to help deliver the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, he advocates for connected street networks, systems of neighbourhood centres, a diversity of public spaces and slow patterns of urban mobility based on walking, cycling and public transport. These, he says, are key to creation of a “people first” city, that supports interpersonal encounters, fosters serendipity and sparks the capacity for innovation that define the human species.