In this TED Talk entitled “Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city”, Kent Larson gives a truly compelling argument about the societal move away from suburban sprawl to a more urban city environment. In many ways — and more eloquently than I could have put it — this talk echoes many of my feelings I wrote about yesterday about why places like Los Angeles are not the future. While cities like LA are offering great cultural activities for its citizens (I’ve enjoyed exploring this place the last few weeks), the fact that it is fundamentally centered around the car as its main mode of transportation makes it very unlikely that it will ever best other cities at drawing people in.

As Ken explains in the video above, people actually like being able to walk 5-10 minutes to most destinations and when you look at the historical features of many urban cities now and in the past, the proximity of everyday essentials is key to putting a city high up on the livability list. There are so many things I see eye to eye on with Kent about the future of cities and why people are increasingly moving away from the 50s idealism of suburban sprawl (get money, buy a nice car, buy a nice house, and live far away from work) to something a bit more tightly knit as a community (everything I need just a few blocks away).

The timing of this video couldn’t be better as I’ve been thinking lately about the designs of cities and how Los Angeles in particular compares to New York, Melbourne, and other cities that I’ve had the privilege of visiting in the last 5-6 years.