We had a billion citizens living in urban areas on our planet in 1960. In the 50 years since then we've added 2.5 billion urban citizens and in the next 40 years we will add nearly 3 billion more. Urbanization is not bad, it is just reality. In fact, "cities (and villages) magnify humanity's strengths. They spur innovation by facilitating face-to-face interaction, they attract talent and sharpen it through competition, they encourage entrepreneurship, and they allow for social and economic mobility." (Edward Glaeser)
Effective policy and planning is essential to creating healthy villages and cities. Land title and infrastructure including water and sanitation, public safety, transportation, health services and education must work effectively. Jobs must be available for families to secure housing and meet household expenses. If this environment exists, small businesses will start, big businesses and investors will invest, and families and children can flourish.
To create this environment is a very tough job and we are not good at it. "127 million people in Latin American cities live in informal settlements ... with large costs for residents, insecurity of tenure, lack of public services, discrimination by others, environmental and health hazards, and inequitable civil rights plus indirect costs in public health, criminal violence, and related social problems." (Lincoln Institute) And some nations must cope with catastrophic disaster. Recent examples are earthquakes in Japan (March 14, 2012) and Haiti (January 12, 2010). The Republic of Maldives in the Indian Ocean (population 300,000) expects to be enirely engulfed by rising sea waters as a result of climate change.
We must get lots better than we have been at creating sustainable urban environments. Our purpose is to provide templates for economic development that will provide means for feasibility analysis, development management and investor oversight. Presently these templates are expressed as case studies of actual projects developed in Africa, Asia, South America and in the U.S. Click on (whereever you see it) for a complete list of case studies presented at the pvmm.com website.
Here are two of the examples on which we are focussing to establish this capability plus a new effort to help meet a crisis:
|Easy Start||Potential Detail|
|We are creating a "computer model" that will allow one to say "I want to prepare a plan for a settlement providing for "X" families to be completed in "Y" years and I want the plan to provide for the full range of activities in our 8 categories (of settlement needs)." "X" can be any number of families, perhaps 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000 or millions. "Y" can be any number of years, perhaps 15, 30, 50 or 100. The basic model will have built in a set of standards, policies and assumptions based on our experience and observations.||The person using the model will have the ability to articulate a different set of standards, policies and assumptions. The model can be used for several or many projects and can be constantly updated as planning and development experience proceeds.|
|Current Status of this Project||Our Need for Collaborators|
|This project is made possible by experience in 600 case studies over 20 years in a dozen countries. We are now creating a generic interactive economic model that can do this analysis for any project resembling any of our case studies. This requires serious system development work, and, to make the models easy to use, we need to articulate the policies and standards that can shape our projects. And we must provide the tools to customize our templates to fit specific new projects.||
It is very important that we seek and find the best ideas and plans for our life support systems (employment, education, health care, safety, utilities, community facilities & services, governance,
housing, commercial and industrial space, agriculture, and financing).
As an example, the Rockefeller Foundation articulated these options for sanitation in their book "Century of the City" (page 74).