Nearly seventy percent of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2050. While population estimates vary based on metrics used and definitions of urban, planners nonetheless have the responsibility of providing housing, transit, open space, and resiliency strategies for this large population. The Harvard Urban Forum formed out of an understanding that urban planning and urban policy are at a critical juncture. We find ourselves at a moment of reflection as we consider what has been effective for urban planning in decades past. We also find ourselves at a moment of innovation as we propose solutions not least relating to continued gentrification and displacement, challenges of access, increased flooding, and aging infrastructure.
The Harvard Urban Forum provides a space to engage with seemingly old ideas and ambitiously new ones. Through their research and urban planning-related projects, students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design will provide you with a lens into their work and areas of interest. Harvard Urban Forum seeks to provide a global perspective on urban planning, thus embodying the diverse backgrounds of students at the GSD. This editorial provides students with an opportunity to discuss those notable cities as well as the novel cities that may go unhighlighted in academia. Through the compositions found here, we endeavor to spark new ideas, imagine new ways of improving cities, and to constructively question existing planning practices.
The vision of the Harvard Urban Forum is to create a student-run platform for conversation in urban planning. The works in this editorial will encompass a variety of forms ranging from research papers to anecdotes about growing up in a legacy city. Just as cities and the urban planning field change over time, so will this publication. We hope you enjoy Harvard Urban Forum’s first edition. We look forward to receiving your feedback and submissions.
– Harvard Urban Forum, Editorial Board