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Inclusive Urbanization

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Mr. John RossantParis based, New Cities Foundation (NCF) is a global non-profit organization with a vision to build more inclusive, dynamic and creative cities benefiting people and society. John Rossant, Founder & Chairman, New Cities Foundation briefs Buildotech on the scale of NCF’s work globally in the urbanization space and with the Indian government’s focus on creating 100 smart cities by 2022, what would be the right course of action for India.

The role architects and planners can play in creating collaborative cities.

Architects and planners play a vital role in creating collaborative cities, not just in terms of constructing the physical space, but also by influencing the way we behave and interact. That’s why we always invite the brightest, most innovative architects and planners to animate discussions at our events such as the New Cities Summit and other leadership events: Rem Koolhaas and Daniel Libeskind, for example, are two of the world-leading architects who have spoken at recent New Cities events. They have the tools to realize bold, ambitious designs for future cities – and this goes beyond the bricks and mortar: it’s about the way people move and interact with each other according to the space around them. The New Cities Foundation recently published a blog post by the leading French architect Odile Decq, who is speaking at an event we are hosting in Paris this October. She argues that architects are well equipped to be entrepreneurs and to find new solutions to urban challenges. This is a powerful perspective and important in our understanding of the ways in which design impacts upon society as whole.

Initiatives by NCF to find solutions for modern urban challenges.

view of Manhattan from The Empire State Building, New York City, USAThe New Cities Foundation, is testing out bold new ideas in-house along with the members and partners. In 2013, NCF led Task Force analyzed the impact of e-health technology on an underserved urban community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The findings demonstrated the huge potential benefits that e-health technology could bring in terms of economic saving for the City, clinical results and social wellbeing of the community. We are working on taking this Task Force to the next level in the near future.

The organization also seeks out the best urban solutions that are being developed by global innovators. Our annual talk series, WhatWorks, brings young urban innovators from across the world to present their urban solutions at the New Cities Summit. This year, two of our WhatWorks innovators were from India: Pronita Saxena of Nextdrop and Meenu Vadera of Sakha Consulting Wings.

Similarly, Omraan is a global contest for tech startup ideas, launched earlier this year alongside our member Oasis500. The eight shortlisted startup ideas will vie to win $30K of seed funding and an acceleration program in Amman, Jordan. We’re excited to see India-based Let’s Ride on the shortlist – a brilliant ridesharing idea.

Impact of urban transport systems on city growth & living patterns

When we plan and re-imagine our cities, the question of transport is one of the most pressing and one that affects each one of us as we move from A to B on a daily basis, whether for work or for socializing or seeing family. Cities are growing at an unprecedented rate: the global urban population is increasing by one million people each week and will reach about seven billion by the middle of the century. How will existing infrastructures in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jakarta and Beijing cope with this enormous challenge? How should we think ahead when building brand new cities, such as GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) or Lavasa in India?

At the end of the day, it’s about encouraging new ideas and fostering a culture of collaboration, dialogue and dynamism into the way we plan and run cities.

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