I am an urban citizen

January 2, 2015

I grew up in the country.

After emigrating from England when I was three, my family settled in the country north of Toronto near a small village called Kettleby.  Behind our two acres lay a wooded ravine with a small creek complete with the remnants of a pioneer homestead.  My brothers and I spent our childhood exploring its every nook and cranny.  Most of my summer jobs were on farms, as were my brothers.  Being snowed in for two to three days, at least once during the winter, was the norm and being careful with water, especially during the summer, was always top of mind.

Today I am an urban citizen.  Hardly a unique path.  I am part of the largest migration of people in human history – from rural areas to cities. My son grew up in a mid-sized city and is now at home in downtown Vancouver having had a very different childhood than my own.

Already more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas – by 2050 it will be more than two-thirds. More than 80% of Canadian already live in towns and cities.

We need to get cities right – for people and the planet.  Cities will be the crucibles, where new solutions will be found, for building a more resilient, healthy and sustainable future for urban life and the planet.