The Significance of the Moment
This is an important time in the world’s history of human settlement. The human species is now predominantly urban. The cumulative forces that have brought this about continue to impact the planet’s natural systems. This awareness has created new terms. Some assert we are now a new (urban) species: “homo urbanus” (Anna Tibaijuka, UN Habitat). Others refer to our time as that of the “Anthropocene Age” or the “age of man” (Eugene Stoermer, popularized by the Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen).
Such responses make all the more evident the major shifts in our natural and man-made systems. This accelerated pace of change brings particular and unique challenges to the well-being of cities and citizens of the world. It is up to us to try and address them.