Healthy, happy and tropical – world’s fastest-growing cities demand our attention

Urban planning Sustainable development

What does it take to be a happy and healthy city? In any city, myriad factors go into the mix – and of course we are not dealing with just one kind of city. But, due to the world history of colonisation, models are still too often European-centric. In particular, we need to adjust how we think about cities in the tropics.

For a start, almost half of the world’s population lives in the tropics and more than half of the world’s children. This makes it the fastest-growing region on the planet. The pace of economic and technological development is fastest in the tropics, too.

The tropics are also home to the greatest diversity of architectural styles and urban places. Sandwiched between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, nearly 50 countries display singular tropical urbanism, which reflects first settlements, colonial history and the more friendly contact with other cultures. Nowhere else on Earth can we see such a mingling of vernacular, pre-Columbian, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Modernist buildings and urban plans.

Designing for the tropics differs considerably from designing for temperate areas. The climate can be very hot and humid, causing extreme discomfort for city residents.

Read the full article on The Conversation.

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