Oxford Programme for
the Future of Cities The Flexible City: rethinking the urban to face future challenges
Tim Dixon (Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development, Oxford Brookes University) looks at ‘critical success factors’ that need to be in place for cities to be more sustainable by 2050.
Abstract: The majority of the world’s population now live in cities. This poses great challenges, but also great opportunities in terms of tackling climate change, resource depletion and environmental degradation. Policy agendas have increasingly focused on how to develop and maintain ‘integrated sustainable urban development’, and a number of theoretical conceptualisations of urban transition have been formulated to help our thinking and understanding in both developed and developing countries. Drawing on examples around the world the paper aims to examine the key ‘critical success factors’ that need to be in place for cities to traverse a pathway to a more sustainable future in urban development terms by 2050. The paper explores how important the issues of ‘scale’ is in the context of complexity and fragmentation in the city’s built environment, identifies the lessons that can be learned for future sustainable urban development, and the further research which is needed to address future urban transitions to 2050.