After being to hundreds of cities, what are my expectations for our future cities?

Today, let’s talk about the “city”.

Since I started traveling a few years ago, I have been to hundreds of cities, in different countries and in different sizes. 

From the ancient European city of Rome to the beautiful Portugal city Lisbon with their shining yellow trams; from the intricate old city of Fez in Morocco to the Abzerjian city of oil Baku,…

Every city has its own history, culture, and unique character.




[ Functions of A City ] [ 城市的功能 ]

First of all, as a city, what are the functions it provides?

First of all, office space.

This is more obvious in large cities in North America.

Take the structure of some major American cities as an example, the separation between their downtown and residential area is very obvious. Basically, the city center is composed of office buildings, restaurants, and bars, while most of the residential areas are in the outer ring of the city.




以美国大城市的构架为例,downtown(城区)和residential area(住宅区)的分开非常明显。基本上,市中心就是办公楼,餐厅和酒吧,绝大部分的住宅区都在城市外环。

(Urban and residential areas)(城区和住宅区)

Because people need to commute to get off work, this kind of urban construction has increased residents’ demand for cars.

There are reasons why the United States is called the “country on wheels”: highways pass through the city, the construction of the entire city is based on it and separated into different functional areas.



Second, dining and entertainment.

At the same time, a city is also a place where people gather to have a cup of coffee with friends and chat about work.

I often joked with my friends, saying that in Beijing right downstairs of my place is a kiosk and a small bar. But if I want to party with my friends at night in Vancouver, I have to take a half-hour bus ride to the city.




(Vancouver bus system, in front, is a rack for bicycles)(温哥华的公交系统,前面是放自行车的架子)

[ The impact of the epidemic ] [ 疫情的影响 ]

In 2020, during the epidemic, due to the closure of cities, the functionality of large cities in Europe, North America, and many other affected countries are greatly reduced.

Here, we can take India as an example, where a large number of unemployed workers returned to their hometowns during the epidemic. However, in the countryside, these returnees cannot even earn basic living expenses, and many had to return back to the cities again to find opportunities.

However, under the epidemic, job opportunities in cities have also been drastically reduced, “the job market has died anyway”, people said.

These people, who lost their welfare subsidies because they left their hometowns, and were unable to return to their hometowns because they could not have a job opportunity, fell into the gap between the city and the countryside.



但是,可惜的是,在疫情下,城市中的工作机会也大幅度减少,“the job market has died anyway”。


What if, 

when the epidemic is over,

the city is no longer where we work, we can work from home without going to and from the city center;

we no longer go to places where people gather to meet friends. 

What else does the city can offer us?




[ The New Concept of A City ][ 新的城市观 ]

Although we always advocate the concept of a green city, there is one thing we cannot ignore, that is:

“The city is a past dependent infrastructure.”

Our city is built on fossil fuel products. We have built various highways and viaducts. In order to provide convenience for those who drive, each of our shopping centers has a large parking lot. There are also gas stations every couple of kilometers in our cities.

How can we transform into a green city?


“The city is a past dependent infrastructure.”




( The gooses of Vancouver )(温哥华的大鹅称道)

Some people say, “add to an existing system is cheaper than starting something new.”

During the epidemic, Paris has vigorously promoted the establishment of bicycle lanes, closed automatic lanes, and transformed them into pedestrian streets.

Vancouver has also begun to charge the congestion fee in the city center.

有人说,“Add to an existing system is cheaper than starting something new.” 




What will we see in the next few years?


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