The Plan B given by Lester Brown reaches its climax in chapter six of the text entitled “Designing Cities for People’. In this chapter, Brown talks about the different alternatives that cities have adopted to make the environment safe and conducive for human existence. Most city designs done earlier on had adopted plans, which aimed at ensuring mobility by designing them to accommodate as many cars as possible.
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These designs however come to fail considering the doubling fact of the ownership of cars each passing day as the population increases and the designs remaining as they are. The presence of the cars therefore contributes towards immobility rather than enhancing the expected mobility.
The chapter “Designing Cities for People” explores the different alternatives employed by major city administrators to ensure that the decongestion of cities as well as the curbing of pollution and ultimately giving the health of the city residents a priority. The most innovative alternative as far as I am concerned is the use of bicycles as a means of enhancing mobility.
Bicycles have helped decongest several cities considering that a number of bicycles can use a path or the space that only one vehicle can use. Another outstanding benefit of considering the bicycle as the most viable option in the quest for decongesting cities and making them conducive for human existence is that bicycles do not emit gases that can cause respiratory problems to people.
To curb the obesity pandemic and the early onset of diabetes in countries such as the US, the people need to consider the biking option with seriousness since it provides a good way of exercising.
The problem of settlements is another challenge that cities are facing more so those in developing countries. Considering that most people are leaving the rural areas in search of opportunities of good life in urban centers, the problem of rural-urban migration has greatly caught most city designers off guard.
Most of the people who come to the cities do so based on economic constraints that force them to squat in risky areas such as riverbanks and steep slopes, a thing that makes it impossible for city planners to provide them with basic social amenities. The most viable solution to this problem that authorities in developing countries should adopt is a system whereby they encourage people to live in the rural areas by making their lives comfortable while there.
Through making social amenities cheap and easy to access for the people as well as employment opportunities, the rates that people will move with to urban centers will definitely be low making it easy to deal with the problem of emerging shanties and slums.
By adopting control measures such as those adopted by Enrique Peñalosa, the mayor of the city of Bogota, many problems that threaten the lives of innocent people in cities through pollution as well as the inconveniences caused by traffic jams can be completely dealt with.
One important thing that this mayor stands out for is his insistence on the importance of parks in cities. As he says, these amenities “are important for the physical and emotional health of a city”.
Many city planners are however failing to understand the magnitude of this statement in that many of them are changing the city parks into parking lots, interpreted as killing the cities emotionally as these places are important for they make the people who come to them and enjoy the tranquility feel equal as put forth by Peñalosa.