Cities are the engines of the world economy and we are seeing them grow at an unprecedented rate. By 2050, nearly 75% of the world's population will live in cities. This growth creates new opportunities but also presents cities with huge economic, environmental and social challenges. As a result many cities are looking to 'Smart' solutions, not just in the form of technology, but also crucially through leadership, innovation and collaboration, to address the current and future problems cities face.
So why, as cities grow and become more technologically sophisticated, is important to keep the human element alive in our cities? Common Purpose graduate, Vishal Talreja, is the Co-founder & CEO of Dream A Dream. He spoke with us about how 'Smart Cities' also need to be 'Human Cities'.
Watch the full interview with Vishal Talreja
"I have lived in a city all my life and I have seen a city like Bangalore transform from what was a pensioner's paradise to the vibrant concrete jungle that it's become today. I think cities are important for economic development of countries - but cities that are vibrant, inclusive and create spaces for creativity to happen - they are extremely important - that's the future.
"However, cities tend to forget its people. When a young man living in a slum community sees a mall come up half a kilometre from his slum and realises he does not have access to it - there are only two choices he can make. Either he's says 'I'm going to work hard, so that one day I can go into that mall, from the other side. Or because I don't have access to it I'm going to be very angry and demonstrate my anger through violence.
"My mother today gets scared walking on the streets of the city because it's such a fast city that there have been times when people have knocked her down and not even looked back to say sorry.
"So in this race of building the cities of the future where it's all about infrastructure, technology, connectedness - we need to ask questions and keep the human element alive in cities."
Vishal Talreja, is the Co-founder & CEO of Dream A Dream. Dream A Dream is an 15-year old professional organization that impacts the lives of 50,000 young people through the active support of over 2500 volunteers. Dream A Dream is acknowledged as an innovator in life Skills development amongst young people from urban slum communities, creating innovative ways for community volunteering and setting very high-standards of transparency, accountability and impact.