Statistics can only tell part of a story. For this issue of Cities of Opportunity, we also conducted in-depth interviews with seven uniquely accomplished individuals whose life experience and knowledge illuminate and add important context to our study.
We have to make cities a lot more livable. By that I mean, more consistent with the fundamental emotional needs, the instinctive needs of human beings. If we can do that, we really can develop something close to a paradise.
Urban planners say you need an environment in cities where people come together, eat together, where a cluster of activities comes together—then innovation will happen. You had this in Paris, with art; in New Orleans, with music; in Silicon Valley, with technology. But now you can also create clusters virtually.
Cybercrime is the crime of the moment and the crime of the future. The capability to cause phenomenal havoc—financial, personal, economic, or among nations—is very real.
Places like the States get embroiled in politics. In the UK, there’s a fairly large degree of politics, but the planning process grinds on. You end up with a very good result, but it takes time. In Singapore, with one level of government, decisions are made, stuff happens quickly.
[Toronto] gets the best and the brightest young people from around the world. We have an incredible opportunity for innovation, for entrepreneurial activities, for learning from each other, for having a diverse labor force.
I can’t help but be impressed by Singapore. Things there are done as part of a grand plan… They set a high level target, then planned the social and physical infrastructure accordingly for that population.
Even though we’ve been building infrastructure, we’re not able to keep pace with demand. That results in huge productivity losses and delays, mainly in urban areas.