Pope to Urban Planners: Build Better Cities (Next City)

A post-automobile world?

BY ANNA CLARK , PUBLISHED JUNE 19, 2015

Pope Francis called for an extraordinary global response to climate change this week in his much-anticipated encyclical. But the first pope from the developing world also has a message for urban planners: Build better neighborhoods for the poor. And while you’re at it, find a way to integrate the natural world in city design. “We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature,” he writes in Laudato Si. It’s subtitled “Our Care for Our Common Home.”

Cities have become unhealthy places for human beings — not only because of toxic emissions, but also because of poor transportation, visual pollution, congestion, social exclusion, violence, noise and even “the loss of identity.” And inequality looms over it all.

“In some places, rural and urban alike, the privatization of certain spaces has…

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