Improve Quality of Life in your Community

September 17, 2020
Malaga, Spain - Sustainable Cities - Improve Quality of Life

Improve Quality of Life by Creating Sustainable Communities

Seven urban Planning Principles and Strategies


Around the world most large cities have generally reached consensus in how we can create better cities to improve quality of life and and liveability for its residents. In order to develop better cities, governments prepares goals and strategies to strive towards. This article outlines the seven key urban planning principles and strategies generally observed in most large cities. These urban planning goals and strategies are designed to overcome most of the common deficiencies in our cities today.

Urban Planning Strategies and Principles

1. Culture and Identity

All cities have a history and culture which is reflected in the current urban form and identity. Culture and heritage should be celebrated and used to enhance the uniqueness of the city. The core strategy for ‘Culture and Identity’ could be to:

  • Promote Heritage: Protect, preserve, restore and enhance the unique local heritage, cultural elements and traditions.
  • Appropriate Surroundings: Ensure that the urban development, building character and architectural style is appropriate to the cultural history of the area and on a human scale.
Culture and Identity - Improve Quality of Life - Sustainable Communities
New York has a rich culture and identity, with a large amount of historical assets.  

2. Land Use Mix

A land use mix within a community brings about economic, infrastructural, environmental and health benefits. This includes walkable communities that increase business opportunities, property value, private investment, lower infrastructural costs, public transport use, active lifestyles and identity. The core strategy for ‘Land Use Mixes’ could be to:

  • Density & Mixed Uses: Promote a higher density and land use mix in areas located in the vicinity of public transport and urban centres.
  • Green/Brownfield Development: Develop vacant or unused areas within urban areas with land uses responding to the community needs.
  • Community Amenities: Ensure the community is served with various community facilities and amenities.
  • Housing Diversity: Ensure various residential typologies are provided to address the changing needs of individuals and families.
Bordeaux, France - Mixed use - Land Use mix - Sustainable community
Bordeaux (France) mix of land and promoting higher density in urban areas.

3. Public Spaces for All

Public spaces should be of high quality, be safe and accessible within the city. They should be non-discriminatory and open for all kinds of people. The core strategy for ‘Public Spaces for All’ could be to:

  • Quality Open Space: Ensure quality open space is accessible for all residents.
  • Public Space Identity: Design public space and public realm to reflect the strengthen the character and identity of the city.
  • Neighbourhoods Spaces: Develop an easy, safe and accessible streetscape of high quality giving character to neighbourhoods.
Bryant Park, New York - Improve Quality of Life - Sustainable Communities
Bryant Park in New York is a park created for everyone to access.

4. Protect the Natural environment

While development and urbanisation occurs, it should be sensitively managed to protect and promote the natural environment as a key element of the city. The core strategy for ‘Protect the Natural Environment’ could be to:

  • Preserve: Ensure the preservation of the natural environment for future generations and as an attractive characteristic feature.
  • Resilient: Protect the natural environment as a means of fighting urban climate change and reduce impacts of natural disasters.
Seoul, South Korea - Improve Quality of Life - Sustainable City
Seoul (South Korea)  preserves a green belt around the city.

5. Efficient and Safe Transport System

Transport is key to a city and its development. Well designed transport solutions can help us travel efficiently across a city. Communities should promote walking and cycling as the primary mode of transport, public transport as the secondary and car as the least preferable transport mode. The core strategy for ‘Efficient and Safe Transport System’ could be to:

  • Redesign Roads: Roads should be redesigned for a better public realm that encourage walking and cycling. In the core of the city centre, car access could also be reduced or car-free. Such measures can substantially improve quality of life.
  • Public Transport: Ensure residents have access to one public transport service within a set perimeter from the home and office.
  • Maximum Parking: Remove minimum parking requirements in cities, and set a maximum limit instead. Development located beside major public transport modes should have limited parking options.
Paris, France - Walking and Cycling - Sustainable Communities and Quality Neighbourhood
Paris (France) is pushing for greater focus on pedestrians and cyclists.

6. Resilient Infrastructure Network

Infrastructure is fundamental to the structure of our cities. All new infrastructure should be coordinated between the respective authorities to ensure safe, reliable and resilient utility services. The core strategy for ‘Resilient Infrastructure Network’ could be to:

  • Coordinate: Infrastructure planning should be coordinated to ensure well designed solutions that are reliable, safe, sustainable and is well integrated into the public realm.
  • Regular Maintainance: Existing networks should be maintained regularly and replaced as per their life cycle.
Orchard Road, Singapore - Quality of Life - Sustainable Cities
Orchard Street (Singapore) has infrastructure well integrated into the public realm.

7. Design and Implementation

All development is required to obtain development approval from the respective authorities. Prior to getting approval it is important for the government to ensure well designed solutions are in place complement and enhance areas. The core strategy for ‘Design and Implementation’ could be to:

  • Transparency: Ensure collaboration and transparency in the planning of developments, both as developers and authorities.
  • Planning Framework: Amend regulation to ensure the strategies and principles here are part of the overall plan and sustainable for the future.
  • Integrated Approach: Promote integrated solutions offering better places for the people that will use them and thereby improve quality of life.
Design and Implementation - Sustainable communities - Quality of Life
Transparency, Regulations and integrated approaches can go hand in hand. 

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