Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life

Posted on July 21, 2010
Visionary urbanist Jan Gehl and Walter Hook, Executive Director of the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), have together set out ten keys to creating more sustainable cities in a new publication.

Our Cities Ourselves is a program of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. It is designed to attract interest and stimulate debate, enabling ITDP to maximize its impact in cities throughout the world. The aim is to think about what sort of cities we want to live in, the sort of street we want to walk along, and the sort of future we want for ourselves and our children. Looking ahead, how will each of us help create our cities for ourselves?
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy works with cities worldwide to bring about sustainable transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.

“Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life” shows how cities from New York to Nairobi can meet the challenges of rapid population growth and climate change while improving their competitiveness. The publication’s purpose is to reframe the issue of transport so that it is no longer seen as separate from, but rather integral to, urban design.
“Cities of the twenty-first century should be lively cities, safe cities, sustainable cities and healthy cities,” said Jan Gehl. “All of these qualities can be achieved if we embrace these ten principles, which means putting people first.”
In a concise and accessible format, the booklet is a must read for all those involved in city design and urban planning, and forms the backbone of the ITDP exhibition “Our Cities Ourselves,” now on view at New York’s Center for Architecture.
What are the ten principles of sustainable transport?
1. Walk the walk: Create great pedestrian environments
2. Powered by people: Create a great environment for bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles
3. Get on the bus: Provide great, cost-effective public transport
4. Cruise control: Provide access for clean passenger vehicles at safe speeds and in significantly reduced numbers
5. Deliver the goods: Service the city in the cleanest and safest manner.
6. Mix it up: Mix people and activities, buildings and spaces.
7. Fill it in: Build dense, people and transit oriented urban districts that are desirable.
8. Get real: Preserve and enhance the local, natural, cultural, social and historical assets.
9. Connect the blocks: Make walking trips more direct, interesting and productive with small-size, permeable buildings and blocks.
10. Make it last: Build for the long term. Sustainable cities bridge generations. They are memorable, malleable, built from quality materials, and well maintained.
Cities face massive population growth, particularly in the developing world. By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population, or 5 billion people, will live in cities. The transportation sector currently accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, a growing proportion derived largely from cars and trucks. (Source: International Transport Forum,
Some cities are waking up to this reality, and changing direction. “Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life” showcases examples of cities reaping the benefits of integrating urban planning and design that gives priority to pedestrians and transit. It is a guide for cities and countries that want to make their cities more competitive and livable, while helping to solve the problem of climate change. 
For a limited edition hard copy of Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life, email mobility@itdp.orgDownload the electronic version as a PDF.