The Urban Planet

The idea of cities has held the fascination of many theorists, poets and other intelligentsia; and they have all described the city in many many ways over centuries.

But the single most important value that a city epitomizes is :

Human Aspiration.

Cities at their very core are simply a testimony to the essence of human ambition and aspiration – The ambition for a better life ..for progress…

Cities represent a superior way of life given that a city gives people access to the finest educational institutes, the most advanced healthcare amenities and a diverse set of cultural and recreational facilities et cetera. This ‘life’ is at the heart of why people are moving from villages to towns and cities, in virtually every geography of the planet. Every individual who migrates to an urban area is doing so with a fundamental aspiration for a better life. Cities therefore nurture the primitive instinct of a human being to advance to a higher plane.

Many of these men and women who came to cities with these inherent ambitions of progress went on to shape most of humankind’s greatest achievements. Look back at the pages of history , be it in art, philosophy , religion, culture, commerce, or technology; and you will observe that the highlights of the supreme feats of the human civilization was rooted in its cities. Therefore, urbanization is fundamentally about development of the human species. It is about human evolution and is simply irreversible.

Of course, one also recognizes that cities hold some of our greatest challenges today – from climate change to extreme poverty. But we believe that they also offer the answers and solutions to these grave challenges. We hope to bring forward some of those ideas through this forum.

Manhattan panorama



Creative Commons License photo credit: Matti Mattila

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About the Author

Prathima Manohar Prathima Manohar is the Founder of the Urbanism think do-tank “The Urban Vision . Prathima holds a bachelors degree in Architecture. She was awarded Stanford University’s prestigious Draper Hills Fellowship bestowed to rising international stars who work on issues related to Democracy and Development in 2011. She has been a Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center Fellow where she studied ICT for Good Governance, Gov 2.0 as well as entrepreneurship, Adaptive Leadership and Strategic Planning. She consults on urban design & urban policy related subjects with architecture and large development firms. As an urbanist, she has worked on projects and researched on issues such as placemaking , affordable housing, participatory planning and green cities. She has been a contributing columnist on architecture, urban development and design with India’s Leading News daily – The Times of India. She has been a contributing TV Journalist with France24 and TF1 where she did news reports and several documentaries on Indian economy, Developmental and Cultural issues. She has also written for the opinion pages of the International Herald Tribune , The Wall Street Journal and has reviewed for the Architecture Record. In 2017 , She was listed as top 50 Most Impactful Global Social Innovators at World CSR Day. She was awarded by the iGen Design Forum 2016 as the top 50 Next Generation Architects driving innovations in Indian Urbanscape . She was among Global Honourees of 2009 CONSIUSA’s “Young Leaders Program” which reconizes emerging leaders under the age of 40, who have distinguished themselves and have demonstrated leadership qualities and potential in various careers