Futurity

Why city planners should make water a top priority

City planners are investing in the urban core, prompting more people to move in. But adequate water is crucial for lasting rebirth, says Philip A. Stoker.

Many cities are now pushing reinvestments in the urban core, prompting people to live, eat, and play in walkable city centers.

Unlike in the past, cities today have challenges associated with adequately housing greater numbers of people while balancing scarce and threatened natural resources. In particular, cities must meet demands around public transit, water, infrastructure improvements, and even open, community spaces.

And in some ways, the most rapidly growing cities and regions—Phoenix, Denver, and Seattle, and cities such as Portland and Salt Lake City on the Forbes 2017 list of America’s fastest-growing cities—already are overextended, says Philip A. Stoker, assistant professor in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona.

For example, the Denver Regional Council of Governments reports that, by 2040, the city will likely see rush-hour traffic extended by hours, adding risk for traffic backups and collisions. In San Diego, renting and buying have become increasingly difficult, contributing to the region’s growing homelessness problem. San Francisco historically has experienced limited space, high congestion, and housing costs at about three times the national average.

In response, cities have begun to adopt more mixed-use development, where single buildings or blocks contain not only housing, but also restaurants, grocery stores, cultural centers and the like. Also, some are placing a greater emphasis on walkability, which carries financial, environmental, health-related, and social benefits.

Stoker works to best integrate land-use planning with the management of natural resources—with a specific focus on water.

“The importance of the environment on our economy, social well-being, and humanity cannot be overstated,” he says.

Stoker and researchers from the University of Utah created a typology of urban neighborhoods that share distinctive combinations of natural, built, and social structures expected to shape water system dynamics. Typology isn’t usually part of urban planning, but the data can help planners create water systems that encourage social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Stoker, coauthor of a new study in the journal Science of the Total Environment, discusses the future of cities in the face of changes in climate and environment.

Source: University of Arizona

The post Why city planners should make water a top priority appeared first on Futurity.

More from Futurity

Futurity2 min readTech
Facebook Posts Can Predict 21 Health Problems
Facebook posts alone can predict some 21 diseases and conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and depression, a new study shows. The study, published in PLOS ONE, includes 999 participants who consented to share their social media post
Futurity3 min read
Noninvasive System Lets People ‘Mind Control’ Robot Arm
Using a noninvasive brain-computer interface, researchers have developed the first-ever successful mind-controlled robotic arm with the ability to continuously track and follow a computer cursor. Being able to noninvasively control robotic devices us
Futurity2 min readSociety
White People’s Racial Apathy Can Diminish Over Time
Prejudice among white people can lessen over time, according to new research. The study examines how some white people express racial prejudice—in the form of racial apathy—over time. The researchers also developed a new way to measure this type of p