Much thought goes into urban design – to shape cities so they connect the local populations with their environment. And it’s a collaborative effort that spans architecture, public space, sustainability, social equity, transportation and other aspects of city life. From Zurich to Singapore, and Amsterdam to Washington DC, we’ve picked a few of the best designed cities in the world.
When Seoul was initially designed as a capital city in the 1300s, political figures were careful to ensure it was well planned, and this has continued throughout its history. Today, the city is working on the 2030 Seoul Plan, the first of its kind to be designed by its citizens. After consulting with experts and metropolitan government representatives, five core issues were agreed: the creation of a “people-centred city without discrimination”; a “dynamic global city with a strong job market”; a “vibrant cultural and historic city”; a “lively and safe city”; and “a community-oriented city with stable housing and easy transportation”.
In 1791, a plan was created by French urban designer Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design the capital city of America for George Washington. The so-called ‘L’Enfant Plan’ developed the 10-mile square plot of land into what it is today. The plan, which was later revised by Andrew Ellicott, placed the White House on a ridge parallel to the Potomac River (though he wanted it to be five times the size of the building actually constructed) and laid out broad streets and avenues in a grid system. The city fell into disarray in the early 1900s, and the McMillan Plan was created to reconstruct the city back to L’Enfant’s design. The city’s well-planned layout could be revamped to better control traffic, though – a 2010 study found Washington-area commuters spent 70 hours a year in traffic delays, tied for the nation’s worst road congestion.