Daily Management Review

Top-5 world's most innovative cities


Cities are our future. The world's urban population exceeded the rural population in 2008, for the first time in the history.

According to the UN forecast, nearly two thirds of the population, which at that time will be close to 9.7 billion people, will live in cities by 2050.

City planners are already thinking about how this system will work. It is a struggle for balance of population growth and quality of life in cities. Already now, some of them are implementing ideas that help solve these problems.

Below is a list of the most innovative cities in opinion of experts, architects and urban planners.


Most of the experts unanimously agreed that Singapore is a successful model city of the XXI century. The city develops business, education, and keeps the government free of corruption. At the same time, the authorities impose severe restrictions on norms of behavior of each individual member of society.

What deserves more attention is the ability to manage the extremely limited resources. This is a situation which is increasingly faced by many cities around the world.

The city-state is dependent on neighboring Malaysia, which supplies the water. City imports 90% of food products, and partially depends on quite a large group of non-permanent residents - about 30% of the population that support economic growth.

In addition, the city is forced to accommodate nearly 5.5 million residents, and maintain free traffic in the territory, which is approximately equal to the area of New York.

Take, for example, road traffic. The city was the first to introduce penalties for drivers who enter the central business district during the morning rush hour.

The quota system reduces the number of newly registered cars.

In addition, the city plans to obligate all owners of cars to get a satellite device that could accurately calculate the distance. This is necessary to make it calculations and fee charging easier depending on traffic and time of day.

Water is the next problem. Demand for water is constantly growing, and it becomes the biggest challenge in the XXI century. Singapore is trying to make the most use of its limited resources.

Two desalination plants can produce about 100 million gallons a day from the sea, which is about a quarter of the total needed city. Furthermore, Singapore collects and recycles rainwater.


Many citizens of places like London and San Francisco are increasingly talking about the fact that they cannot afford to live there.

But this is not about Houston. In the period from 2010 to 2014, the city's population has grown by more than 140 thousand people, or 6.7%.

However, what distinguishes Houston from other growing cities, is the fact that it managed to expand its housing stock to settle newly arrived population.

Approximately during the same time period, the Houston metro has received permission to build 189,634 new facilities - the highest rate in the country.

It is not surprising that over 60% of homes in the "Greater Houston" area are available for families with an average income, according to the National Association of Home Builders. For comparison, there are only 15% of such houses in Los Angeles.

This growth was contributed by a number of factors. Houston became the center of the oil industry, which had developed rapidly in the US. Now, however, it is experiencing hard times.

The city has a medical center, which is recognized as one of the best in the country. Besides, there is an airport, which picks up more and more passengers every year.

Analysts pointed out that population growth has been promoted by affordable housing, as well as the policies of local authorities, aimed at stimulating growth.

In addition, the city is not divided into zones, which makes it easier to move around, especially in the light of changing economic conditions.

Medellin, Colombia

Like many not so rich cities, Medellin aims to develop construction projects. However, there’s something that distinguish the place from others: it places the most ambitious projects in the poorest areas, which previously had the highest crime rate.

Many know this city as the capital of Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. Seeking to get rid of this reputation, Medellin invests in modernization, particularly in the urban transport system Metrocable, which serves the poorest areas of the city.

The Spanish Library is among the new buildings there. It is located in the quarter, which was formerly known as the center of the drug trade.

Perhaps one of the most ambitious projects was the system of escalators built in one of the poorest areas of the city. This project has received several international awards. And as the city observed the growth of tourism, the tourists often appear in the most unexpected areas.

The construction of escalators systems cost about $ 6.7 million. It is still too early to say whether such a costly investment can somehow improve the lives and financial situation of those living in poor areas. Although, one must admit that such projects contribute to the general economic interest, as they allow development of all segments of the population.


Detroit, which started to recover from bankruptcy in 2014, does not have substantial funds to restore all the city areas.

Therefore, the city adheres to a fairly radical strategy: it pays attention and allocate funding to areas in which the standard development rules do not work.

Developers and designers complain about that Detroit’s suppressing and outdated rules seriously complicate the reconstruction and conversion of the shopping areas.

To minimize these obstacles without the expense of time and money, the city proposes to define specific areas. Developers and entrepreneurs there will not be confused by bureaucratic foot-dragging when building their business and revitalize commercial districts.

The purpose of this project is not to remove the zonal division, but weaken the barriers faced by new projects. Among other things, this includes requirement of a minimum number of parking spaces, or the reports on the environment impact.

After receiving a $ 75 thousand-grant from the Fund John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the city planning department intends to hire designers and planners. The administration wants them to make up a general scheme for all those who want to start a business or to do construction in these zones.

This pilot program is the first test of such zonal division idea. According to the plan, this project will stimulate the development of small-scale projects, including those in other cities.


Everyone knows that walking is healthy. Vancouver wants to make this activity the residents’ transport priority.

This Canadian city may not be an ideal place for pedestrians, yet it regularly gets  in the top 10 cities on this parameter.

The local authorities are constantly working hard to make the city more accessible, safe, and enjoyable for hiking.

Roads are built in such a way that priority is given to pedestrians. For example, the busiest areas have traffic lights regulating pedestrian traffic.

All the city’s attempts to make Vancouver more attractive for hiking are yielding results. Residents of the city spend more than 26% of the way on foot. This figure is higher for those who live in the suburbs. 

The level of transport movement there has decreased over the past 15 years, while the number of vehicles entering the suburbs has fallen by 20% since 1996.

source: wsj.com