Sustainable Urban Development

Sustainable Urban Development

Making cities desirable places to live again.

Rising incomes and the growing trend towards private car ownership around the world have often resulted in the flight of the middle classes to car-oriented, and indeed high carbon, living and working environments – vast expanses of expressways, interchanges, wide roads and parking lots, interspersed with freestanding commercial and residential buildings.

ITDP believes that the solution to sprawl lies in remaking cities and suburbs to be vibrant, livable, and sustainable to attract residents, stimulate economic opportunity, and foster low carbon lifestyles. ITDP works to integrate smart urban design and transport by:

  • Encouraging pedestrian and transit oriented real estate development
  • Designing state-of-the-art environments for walking and cycling
  • Crafting policies that turn physical and cultural spaces into economic assets

Pedestrian and transit oriented development (PTOD), in which residential and mixed-use buildings are planned around public transport, bike networks, and pedestrian facilities, is critical in order to move away from sprawl and car dependency. The design of new buildings and open spaces, the reform and creation of new zoning laws, and the removal of other regulatory barriers is important to creating an environment that better suits individuals’ daily needs.

In addition, ITDP also focuses on improving and restoring historic districts and cultural spaces and links to parks and natural resources to help cities uphold their cultural values and attract and maintain residents. Connecting these unique spaces to public transport, as well pedestrian and bike facilities, enables them to thrive and ensures their preservation.

To bring about these improvements in urban space, ITDP works with real estate developers, downtown business associations, and housing and planning departments of city governments. ITDP shares information and case studies from other cities and offers technical guidance. In partnership with organizations like the Urban Land Institute, ITDP holds workshops and speaking events to help developers and decision-makers understand the importance of integrating transport and city planning.

Our Cities Ourselves (OCO)

OCO is ITDP’s signature visioning program, which includes visuals of how future cities will look if designed around sustainable transport. OCO launched as an exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York City in the summer of 2010.  It featured futuristic visions of ten of the world’s most fascinating cities by today’s leading architects.  Each vision followed specific principles of sustainable urban transport and design, and served as an inspiring proposal for the transformation of cities over the next two decades.  Now, ITDP uses OCO as a tool for visioning and collaboration with city governments. OCO asks: what will the future look like if we design our cities for ourselves?