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The Planet of Cities


Read Greg Clark’s monthly column with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The column covers cities, climate, and the built environment. 

Cities can be the engines of the net zero transition

2 August 2021

It’s been a busy few weeks on the global urbanism stage. Many cities and city groupings are gearing up for COP26 – readying themselves to address the array of tectonic imperatives scheduled for discussion in Glasgow in November. For the next few months, I propose that we use this column to chart the emerging story of COP26 and the world’s cities.

Let’s start with a quick review. From where I stand, it appears that... READ MORE

Has the world left Europe behind?

12 February 2021

As I wrote in my Planet of Cities column Business Districts as Usual? in October 2020, different parts of the world are in distinctive cycles with the pandemic itself. Whereas some are largely free of COVID-19 and their city centres active again, others are still in full lockdown. In certain places, leaders are... READ MORE

Good governance pays dividends

13 November 2020

I’d like to begin this month’s column by asking a question. How could it be that cities with broadly comparable attributes enjoy varying levels of success on the global stage? Take two cities with apparently similar fundamentals: population size, geographic...  READ MORE

Business districts as usual?

15 October 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has only sharpened the debate over the future of cities. Distinct perspectives, underset by a variety of considerations, are emerging across the world. Attitudes towards public and private amenities, the adoption of new technologies, and existing preferences for mobility, transport systems and housing all appear to be shaping.. READ MORE

The net-zero transition and post-pandemic prosperity

4 September 2020

As the western world moves into the second half-year of COVID-19, one senses widespread expectation that the pandemic legacy must include lasting environmental dividends. Sustainability has become a key motif of recovery strategies at... READ MORE

It's too soon to sort the Covid-19 winners and losers

7 August 2020

If you were to rank the cities best placed to emerge from the pandemic with their reputations enhanced, you’d likely settle on one of two lists. The first The first would include cities such as Taipei, Athens, Singapore, Seoul and Kyoto; those in which... READ MORE

The new map of urban investment opportunity

3 July 2020

As you will know by now, July is WBEF’s Build Back Better month. We, like many others, are focused on how the planet can emerge stronger from this ordeal. For my part, I’d like to focus on the funding challenge. I believe there are three critical, crosscutting considerations...  READ MORE

The beginning of the end of the urban century?

5 June 2020

As the Covid-19 crisis has played out, the chorus of voices prophesying a new great moment of de-urbanisation has grown. Those with portable jobs, able to leave the world’s major cities, temporarily appear to be doing so in significant numbers. The professional class is capitalising on newly won, digitally enabled freedom of movement....  READ MORE

An accidental experiment in a new way of life

7 May 2020

You’ll recall that last month, I posed three questions regarding the urban legacy of the Covid-19 crisis. I must say thank you to everyone who replied: the volume and quality of the responses that we received was wonderful to see. If you haven’t already, you can read a selection of the most thought-provoking answers here. What is clear to me... READ MORE

Thoughts on a pandemic

3 April 2020

Firstly, I hope all of our readers are well. We are living in very troubling times. Like many of you, I am working from home and keenly following developments across the world. Clearly, there is much to keep abreast of. The seemingly exponential growth in infection rates across... READ MORE

MENAT’s year in the global spotlight

5 March 2020

The cities of the middle east, north Africa and Turkey – collectively, the MENAT region – are, for an urbanist, some of the most interesting in the world. This year alone, three cities in the region will host major gatherings of global importance. The tenth session of the World Urban Forum... READ MORE

RICS Year in Review

13 November 2020

Watch the RICS Year in Review here in which Greg summarises the monthly columns of The Planet of Cities.

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