Reinventing Cities As We Know It

The advent of the motor car led to more space being made for vehicles. Little did humankind know back then, the repercussions thereof. If we had a chance to do it all over again, what would we do.

It is always easy to point fingers and crib about the mistakes that humankind has made in the last two centuries especially after the industrial revolution. The truth is world over, a significant number of lives have become better on account of the tremendous progress that humankind has achieved so far. Unfortunately, a big unknown was the possibility of climate change caused by human activities. Now that awareness is growing and plenty is being written about in this context, it is important that we look at the matter from different perspectives. There may not be one fit solution. EVs for instance may not be a simple straightforward solution. EVs need resources that aren't available in plenty and potentially could have other problems. It is an interesting time to live in and there is room for everyone to brainstorm and contribute ideas. Something that is convenient and highly feasible might just emerge.

Here are some of the interesting ideas that the teenagers came up with at the Young Executives Club.


The teenagers were given a challenge- an imaginary island filled with trees and zero human habitation. First they made a long list of amenities that we have got so used to in our cities. Then they were asked to think of ways to build a city there making space for all those amenities without cutting down too many trees. At first they were a little flabbergasted by the nature of this challenge and asked how it is possible. But when told that it is a difficult problem, but that we don't have a choice of committing the same mistakes, they sprang into action and here is what they came up with.

  • Alternate modes of transport to avoid the concept of roads and the subsequent vehicular traffic. Train tracks are narrow and hence will require lesser space to be created. Over head cable cars would need not much space on the ground either.

  • Restrict construction. As cities grow, there is demand for more buildings for new requirements. Mechanisms must be in place to stop frivolous constructions in the name of development.

  • Algae powered buildings. Buildings are inevitable. So why not build buildings that can retain greenery and also act a steady source of energy?

  • Restrict factory space. For instance, food processing factories could be banned thus making the requirement for space far lesser. This would also enable people to follow more healthy diets.

  • Control population growth

  • Make provisions for various human activities amidst trees. For example physical education classes in schools typically happen in large open play grounds. Why not have these classes amidst the trees?

  • How about treehouses?

  • Agricultural lands. Food is a requirement that must be met. So if trees must be cut it must be for the sake of growing food. Also this being an island attaining self sufficiency must be a goal.

  • Cut a tree, sow another one must be a policy that is strictly adhered to.

  • Recycle and reuse textbooks and notebooks so that trees don’t need to be cut to make paper.

  • Alternate sources of energy: renewable sources of energy.

 
The objective of the above activity: Amassing information and recognising multiple perspectives as a part of the problem solving process


Students tend to study textbooks for exams and marks. But being aware of how the textbook information has long lasting implications in real life and how learning about policy decisions and repercussions thereof are lessons that will hold them in good stead. It gives them a chance not to blindly accept any one point of view or information about any matter but be open to the fact that there are multiple perspectives which must be considered while any important issue needs to be solved.

 

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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Executives' Club program offers soft skills development course for the 12-14 age group.

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