|Organization: McGill University|
|Carleton University; Yachay Public Company; New Cities Foundation|
Since the mid-1990s, over 100 new master-planned cities have been planned or are under construction. These mega-projects are located almost exclusively in the Global South, clustered particularly in China, Southeast Asia, India, both north Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and most recently, Latin America. New cities are being constructed primarily as economic strategies with the hope of ‘leapfrogging’ economies from the production of raw materials into knowledge and high-tech economies.
Despite the proliferation of new cities, the vast public and private resources being spent on them, and the prioritization of new cities by governments in dozens of countries, there has been little systematic critical investigation into the successes, failures, and possibilities of new cities to engender a more equitable and inclusive future. Constructing new cities from a tabula rasa presents unprecedented opportunities to learn from past mistakes and to avoid the many environmental, social, and structural problems that increasingly plague cities. Builders of new cities have the potential to create new urban environments to ‘hardwire’ cities with features that promote walkability, reduce overcrowding and traffic congestion, enhance inclusion, and include features that reduce carbon emissions and the environmental impact. As the private sector increases its role in the planning and implementation of large-scale urban development, new cities also present an important opportunity to understand the prospects as well as limitations of private development meeting the needs of an urbanizing population. The session includes 5 presentations about new cities in major regions of the Global South (Southeast Asia, Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America) and one case study of Yachay Knowledge City, Ecuador. The session introduces the current wave of new cities and concludes with some policy recommendations for new cities to help them be more equitable and inclusive.