Urban Design and Neglect
In recent years, we have seen a surge in technological development that allows people to communicate with each other at all times and has let us access information within seconds. As people, we now accel in being able to have knowledge on any subject where we could not say the same thing about 20 or 25 years ago. We are still developing technology which will one day allow us to manufacture products that will aid us even further in our everyday lives.
In this age of technological development, it has come to my attention, through my studies, that the modern planners and designers of our cities and living spaces have neglected the importance of the people that occupy our cities and suburbs. I believe there are assumptions that we are living our best lives because of the amount of technology that can simply improve our lives but this is not the case.
From a perspective of urban and city planning, we have failed to create living spaces that accommodate to people but have rather mostly focused on trying to improve our lives through technological advancement. Planners have separated living environments from work environments and we simply see people less than we see our computer screens and smartphones. Anybody can get in their car and not see a person walking outside until they reach a popular destination like the supermarket or another place where people meet or gather. We don’t see people walking outside very often because our layout of living is, for a lack of better terms, too organized.
This is quite interesting to me because I come from the middle east where you do not even need to leave the comfort of your home to see people walking on the streets. Cities like Paris, France are organized in such a way that people can walk to most of the places they need to be including grocery stores, schools and doctor’s offices. Here in the United States, we do not often see cities designed in such a way. We are instead placed in separate living spaces such as the suburbs or apartment housing. A sense of community is simply not as strong and I would like to further investigate why we have not adapted to the changes that create a stronger sense of community like we see in other parts of the world. Although I do not study mental health, we know that human beings require interaction and we should all be concerned when we do not see people occupying our streets for whatever the reason may be.