Smart Urbanism: a new initiative started by leading urbanist, Kelvin Campbell, advances a radical evolution in the planning, design and delivery of cities. Drawing on the great urban theorists, new science and systems thinking, it is designed to work with the complexity of the city.
At a time of rapid urbanisation, many in authority can only exercise the lightest touch when it comes to guiding urban change. This change is happening, despite planning. Now, more than ever, there is a greater focus on the role of the community in shaping their own built environment. This is our ‘new normal’. This proposition comes at a time when we have a to do more with less, when so many of our big plans have failed, when big government promises a move to localism, and at a time when there is an increasing emphasis on the relationship between urban resilience, social innovation and civil society.
We now understand more about the irreducible complexity of life where bottom up systems display a remarkable ability to innovate in difficult conditions, but top down has the real power to enable. Viewed through the lens of natural systems, genetics, the web and the new economy, we can see how order emerges from chaos. Drawing on thinking from other sectors (such as economics, business and computational studies); and on our rapidly developing knowledge of complexity science, Smart Urbanism integrates systems thinking with responsive environments to make cities and towns that are capable of sustaining life in a continuously changing environment.
Smart Urbanism shows how cross‐over thinking can translate into the “choice architecture” of practical solutions for the built environment, and demonstrate relevant thinking on planning, ethics, precedent, learning and adaptation mechanisms, protocols, and environmental and cultural tests for success, amongst others. As planning is so critical to the ‘plan>design>deliver’ process, our work focuses particularly on evolving the planning system and the ethics of the planning profession to make it fit for purpose for this new world. This is where Smart Urbanism can make an immediate and enduring impact.