Sustainable Cities Through Human Capital

Human capital exists in every city

Human capital – people in Bogota. Photographer unknown. No copyright infringement intended.

Human capital – the energy and ideas of people – is the new resource that cities need to move towards sustainability. It exists in every city, with creative potential that is largely untapped.

Human capital can address the two problems, in most of the world’s cities, that are noted under “Sustainable Cities Through Planning”:

  • Resources – The energy and ideas of people can provide informal and innovative solutions, while planning resources are developing;
  • Time – Human capital can be mobilized quickly when issues are seen to be urgent.

As noted under “Technology in a Culture of Sustainability” innovation for sustainability, by ordinary people, can be quite valuable. Those people may develop low-cost solutions quickly because:

a) they focus on their own situations where they have knowledge, and

b) they work as communities – groups of people interacting have a great potential for innovation.

Imagine a planning meeting where the public came with a desire for sustainable solutions

A Culture of Sustainability can also make planning more effective. Imagine a community planning meeting where the public came with:

a) an awareness of the issues and

b) a desire for sustainable solutions.

It would be many planners’ dream.