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  • AutorenbildAndreas Welz

City for citizens

Figure 1: Begrünte Straße, Salzburg 2010 (Fairkehr, 2021)

Why is it essential that sustainable urban planning and architecture focus on people? Human beings, with their actions, are upsetting the very ecosystem that supports them. Shouldn't man begin to subordinate himself and accept ecologically compatible cities as his new home, foregoing luxury and amenities in the process? Or can cities only be sustainable if they are geared to people and their needs? Human Needs

Figure 2: Maslows Pyramid (Scribbr, 2019)

Physiological needs form the basis: Warmth, shelter, food and water. The next level in the hierarchy is security. This good, which used to be fulfilled in families and moral communities, is now additionally fulfilled by political stability, economic security, state and community security organs, e.g. the police and judiciary. These are followed by social needs. Communication, family and friendship, and a social role in the community play a role here. Only then come individual needs such as power, recognition and status. Maslow sees self-actualization as the crowning conclusion. Here, each individual can develop his abilities and find meaning in life.(Scholz, 2014) So if people have their way, cities should enable it for as many people as possible to meet all these needs. Cities The first cities were created about 7,000 years ago. From that time on, it is impossible to imagine man's existence without the city. Cities offer higher earning possibilities, a variety of services, health and a steady development. The countryside shows the opposite: since the invention of agriculture and its further development, fewer and fewer workers are needed for it. Medical care is also generally poorer. (Prof. Werner Lang, 2021) As a result, cities around the world continue to grow. In 2014, 53% of humanity already lived in cities. With industrialization and the discovery of fossil fuels, many processes accelerated. Cities and their great wealth thus also showing the greatest hunger for energy. Over 75% of CO2 emissions can be attributed to cities and their needs. (Wanka & Wörner, 2015) Rapid development has forced many cities to accommodate as many residents as possible in as short a time as possible, which has often led to construction methods and developments that can cause social stress and social division. (Prof. Mazda Adli, 2020) In addition, on a global level, more and more migration flows can be observed due to natural disasters and climate change. These migration flows end up in the cities of the world and cause cultural tensions, thus many slums and shanty towns are currently emerging. (Wanka & Wörner, 2015) Cities for Citizens The cities of this world are centers of culture, science and politics. Here the surrounding lands were and are administered and the society can develop here. A well-functioning city can offer its inhabitants everything they need in Maslow's sense. By the scientific development, which has its roots in the universities of the cities, an ever higher standard of living for all can be reached. Also, psychological needs move more and more into the focus of city planners and architects. For example, people always need the possibility of privacy without feeling isolated. Meeting places and public spaces, which are free of stress factors and invite to consecration, can promote the surrounding community. In addition, residents should be able to identify with the city so that they can become involved in society and contribute their added value. This also simultaneously leads to more diversity, variety and new stimuli, which in turn promotes the development of each individual, thus closing the circle and producing a prosperous city. (Prof. Tanja Vollmer & Katharina Kohler, 2020) But … The richer the cities, the more CO2 is emitted. More and more living space is needed per person and thus more land is sealed and built on. As cities expand, the use of cars also increases, which in turn leads to more roads and higher emissions. Dietary habits also create a much greater demand for land in the surrounding countryside, as rich societies consume a lot of meat.(Thierstein, 2020) Overall, cities are responsible for 70% of all CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. (Schreurs, 2020) So … People must nevertheless change and develop together with the city, only then can both profit from each other in the long term. If the residents no longer strives for material products and consumption, urban phenomena will also change. For example, if the car is no longer a prestige object, it will only be used by people who really need it. (Welzer, 2015) A change in diet reduces the amount of agricultural land needed and allows more forests to be planted again. It also ensures food security for the world's still growing population. More growing forests will help us mitigate climate change and, together with more green spaces in cities, keep heat stress as low as possible. The space for this could be created by reducing personal housing space. Here, too, we see that people should adapt. The city can then change at the same time and enable other traffic concepts through the higher density in order to be able to reduce the energy demand here. As a community change and restructuring, each city could fulfill its own visions through and with its inhabitants and create its own identity: A City for Citizens in which people feel comfortable, feel safe and can relax, but also develop. This is an important aspect of sustainable urban planning. It is very gratifying that many cities around the world have recognized the need for action and are taking many different paths. Nevertheless, they are united by a common goal. C40 Cities, U.S. Climate Alliance, Covenant of Mayors are some of the global associations that are facing the change together.(Schreurs, 2020) Bibliography Prof. Mazda Adli (2020). Stress and the City. Nachhaltige Architektur, Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung - Vorlesung, Prof. Tanja Vollmer & Katharina Kohler (2020). Human Needs. Nachhaltige Architektur, Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung - Vorlesung, Prof. Werner Lang (2021). What is City. Nachhaltige Architektur, Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung - Vorlesung, Scholz, C. (2014). Grundzüge des Personalmanagements (2., überarb. Aufl.). München: Vahlen. Retrieved from Schreurs, M. (2020). Cities and Climate Change. Nachhaltige Architektur, Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung - Vorlesung, Thierstein, A. (2020).Urban Development. Nachhaltige Architektur, Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung - Vorlesung, Wanka, J., & Wörner, J.‑D. (2015). Globale Urbanisierung. Perspektive aus dem All. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Welzer, H. (2015). Selbst denken: Eine Anleitung zum Widerstand (1. Aufl.). Fischer: Vol. 19573. Frankfurt am Main: FISCHER Taschenbuch.


Figure 1: Fairkehr (2021, November 6). salzburg 2010 begrünt fairkehr - Ecosia - Images. Retrieved from

Figure 2: Scribbr (2019). Die Bedürfnispyramide von Maslow verstehen und anwenden. Retrieved from

Further References

Goettler, A. (2020). DiverCity – City and well-being. Nachhaltige Architektur, Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung - Vorlesung,

Lesch, H., & Kamphausen, K. (2019). Wenn nicht jetzt, wann dann? Handeln für eine Welt, in der wir leben wollen (1. Auflage). München: Penguin Verlag.

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