Planning for people

TRACK 3: Liveable places and healthy cities

congress team: Jens Aerts, Belgium/USA & Mahak Agrawal, India

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Health, safety, prosperity for the well-being of all (including children, elderly, and vulnerable people).

Environmental justice, spatial equity, hope and opportunities for all in a megacity.

Digital connectivity as an opportunity for a better life and as a tool to measure and promote well-being.

Livability and affordability of housing, transportation and services.

Collective space and building the community (formal and informal).

Frameworks and tools to measure livability.

Planning with people and communities: universal design, co-production and open data.

Livability as a universal or cultural value.


Migration, informality and housing shortages affect the livability of city dwellers across the world: cities expand more rapidly than can be sustained by infrastructure and services, and the cost of living is rising far more rapidly than wages. Lack of basic services like clean water and reliable electricity often affect a sizeable part of the population. In addition, the urban environment is often responsible for significant health issues, due to lack of physical activity, pollution and road traffic injuries. These add costs to the economy: in term of inefficiencies and through the consequences of ill-health. Despite a reduction of global conflicts, security in cities is increasingly disrupted as communities lose cohesion: social unrest, urban violence and terrorism, ethnic tensions and more.

Planning for people and their wellbeing is at the core of creating a viable future: improving the quality of life, planning safe spaces and clean infrastructure, promoting child-responsive and age-friendly environments. Improving livability, health, citizenship, community and happiness is increasingly important for cities, and planning is key, to create this urban environment but also to engage communities in the process of planning and adopting sustainable behaviours through place-making and community-led neighbourhood planning. 

Is livability a luxury or a human right? How can it be defined and measured? Is it universal or it is different depending on culture?