- The current speed and complexity of urbanisation calls for radically new approaches to sustainability of cities
- Study suggests “urban tinkering” as a solution – a systems thinking approach inspired by evolutionary biology
- It can help engineers, architects, ecologists, health specialists and others to develop innovative solutions for reaching Sustainable Development Goal 11 for cities
The speed and complexity of urbanisation over the coming decades will demand radically new approaches to sustainability. The world’s cities have grown from about 200 million people in 1900 to 3.9 billion in 2014 and will likely reach 6.4 billion people in 2050. Enter the concept of urban tinkering. It is a systems thinking approach inspired by evolutionary biology which the authors believe can help engineers, architects, ecologists, health specialists, and other urban stakeholders, in developing innovative solutions for reaching the UN global goal for sustainability of cities.
There are already a number of examples of urban tinkering. They include everything from the restoration of a river in Seoul and reuse of a train line as a public space in New York to the reclaiming of Mumbai’s waterfronts and more inclusive conservation in Cape Town. Other cases include the conservation of “Satoyama landscapes” on the outskirts of cities in Japan, the redesign of public spaces in Dakar, and innovative use of infrastructure elements in the informal settlements of Kibera in Nairobi.