Somone recently suggested that cities have a more profound history than countries. Country borders have been altering all the time but cities remained where they were. Nowadays we refer even to “Smart cities”, hardly ever to “smart countries”. But cities are vulnerable, today more than ever. Level 4 adds wit and wiseness to the smartness of the cities. A new complex situation opens up for the urban environment…..
Cities have been very attractive for people to migrate to in order to find jobs and get financial means that provided access to everything people would need. These provisions however had to be sources from outside the city. The rural areas were gradually plundered to serve the ever growing demands of city consumption and development. Cities developped historically around “a reason to be”. This could be market trade, harbour facilities, industrialization, government, defense……People were a resource that needed to be housed, fed and provided with a growing amount of services.
Today about 70% of the world population lives in cities. The world population of human presence multiplied of the last decades exponentially. At the end of the 19th century there were about 1 billion citizens, now we are growing to near 8 billion. With the current speculative, consumeristic lifestyle the threshhold of our planet to recover itself from the damage of people was about 3 billion. This means that we have been canabilzing on our resources ever since that imaginary line was crossed (somewhere in the 60’s). So a huge change in lifestyle and engagement in the challenges is needed or disaster will strike.
The cities have been build up from scratch, layer by layer. The establishment of layer four, within our current lifetime looks with a critical eye to the underlying layers demanding huge transformations as the city redefines its purpose into a large degree of self sufficiency through multidisciplinary co-creation. This demands also different types of leadership in all elements of society.