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From 28th November to 2nd December 2004 in Guadalajara, Mexico, an international conference was held on “The future of cities”. Over the four days a series of Mexican, Argentinean, German and Spanish researchers spoke about general and specific issues on this theme. In order to take part in this Round Table conference, the chairman had asked participants to present a number of general thoughts on the topic. By publishing these ideas, the author aims to contribute to the debate on the question of cities.
Three quarters of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. The problems for the future of cities are problems for the future of humanity. Cities have different dimensions; they are urbs, civitas and polis all at once. Urbanism must consider all these dimensions, and not just the physical aspect.
Urban development has until now been developed and implanted from top to bottom, when now what is required is for it to be implemented in an upward direction. Technical professionals and politicians must be attentive to the needs and demands of the people, and participation must become a basic urban development tool, in order to guarantee public debate and, through this, control over the decisions taken.
The purpose of this manifesto was drawn up by the author during the Round Table Conference. It constitutes a stance in the light of certain issues which arose in the discussion and includes a 34-point list of assertions relating to an urban development approach which gives priority to public interest, the needs of citizens, and the expression of these needs through active involvement.
Google Earth: Nouakchott, Mauritania