Isobenefit urbanism provides DNA for future cities


Geneva – The concept called isobenefit urbanism lets planners look at cities from the point of view of pedestrian accessibility. Researchers believe this can help address the challenges facing cities of the future.

Isobenefit urbanism is the concept for the cities of the future, write researchers Luca S. D’Acci of Turin Polytechnic and David Banister of Oxford University in an article for the World Economic Forum. According to her, this concept guides urban planners to “think of cities that develop around walkable centers with green zones, which in turn are connected by public transportation.”

The term isobenefit refers to proximity to amenities, services, jobs, and green space, all of which should be within a one-mile radius. The authors describe isobenefit urbanism as “a kind of urban DNA that offers individual measures for specific contexts.” Thus, isobenefit cities of all sizes have a constant ratio of developed to green space. Central places and green areas are within walking distance. And these cities reap benefits of less heat buildup, less pollution, and lower car density.

Using a self-planning algorithm, isobenefit urbanism can “generate an infinite number of city phenotypes from a single city genotype,” the article says. Each of these phenotypes is a meta-1-mile city, meaning that the nearest centers, amenities, services, jobs, and natural areas are within walking distance of any point in the city. “Meta” refers to different entities being connected by public transportation.

However, he said, it is difficult to make isobenefit urbanism a reality except in completely new cities. In practice, urban planning institutions would have to review the existing situation and assess whether it meets the indicators of isobenefit urbanism. “Applying isobenefit urbanism to the rejuvenation of existing cities and the construction of entirely new urban areas would provide residents with a good quality of life while contributing to the global fight against climate change,” the authors said. em