I saw a great TED video the other day. Mosche Safdie, revolutionary architect, talked about the high rise flat and how to make living in urban spaces better: "How to reinvent the apartment building" was his TED title. It's at the bottom of the page. As I listened, I went from digesting his words with interest to stopping the video to write down a question which struck me hard.
Can we achieve quality of life in the density of city we live in today?
Can we achieve quality of life? I thought about it. I wasn't sure we, as city folk, are aware of the urban density we inhabit. The figures don't do it justice. No one is counting how many people stand in trains, buses and trams per square meter. Four? Five? And whilst we travel alone on our commutes, in the main, we aren't really alone. We tend to have a good amount of stuff with us. So we and our belongings inhabit dense spaces. But are we aware of that?
Are we striving for quality of life? That's an assumption Safdie's made. If we are, we should draw circles around the things we can influence and those we cannot. We cannot, in the most part, influence the housing available to us. Lucky Safdie has that under control. However, there are things within our sphere of influence which we could influence to achieve greater quality of life in cities: making our commute as easy and stress free as is economical,eating more healthy, being more of a mensch - as Guy Kawaski might put it.
Can we achieve quality of life in the density of city we live in today? I think we must first realise that our increasingly densely packed and urban lives are impacting our quality of life. Then, look at what we can influence, and what we cannot, to see whether we can change our lives for the better within our means. Having thought about it for a while, why wouldn't we want to achieve greater quality of life? Each of us? Doing that in an urban context, however, may require some new ideas.
I'll be unveiling a new rucksack which is designed for urban users. It has your quality of life, calm and security at its heart. If commuters and urban travellers do want to increase the quality of their life, in densely packed cities, this may just be something for them.
I'm launching my first product for urban users - the RiutBag - on Kickstarter for 30 days only this year. Sign up to find out when it goes live. Thanks for your support!