DIMENSIONS OF DAIMLER’S URBAN TYPOLOGY
“Change” – How rapidly does the city undergo transformation?
This is the essence of this dimension, whereby change can take a generally positive direction, for example through the establishment of new industries, revitalization, or a strong influx of people – but can also undergo a negative development, marked by decay and shrinkage (of the population and industry).
“Life” – To what extent is the city alive?
This dimension describes the vitality of a city, in the truest sense of the word – to what extent is it fit for survival in the understanding of its inhabitants? At one end of the scale we have cities such as Copenhagen that are in excellent “health”; this is reflected for example in a strong economy and a variegated cultural scene. At the other extreme are cities such as Lagos or Baghdad, where many inhabitants have to fight for mere survival. The dimension of “Life” differentiates strongly between cities in highly industrialized or emerging countries and those in the developing nations.
“Form” – What does the city look like?
„Form“ describes the visible shell of the conurbation and, as a consequence, the extent to which it is prepared to meet the challenges of the future. The researchers’ criteria for a hub of development include the following attributes: compact, functionally and socially mixed, polycentric, multimodally connected, variegated, green, controlled in a complex manner, traffic-calmed, and architecturally distinctive. They currently see only a few cities as approaching this ideal, such as Stockholm and Barcelona, or to a certain extent Berlin, London, and Portland. The emerging and developing countries have a long way to catch up in this regard.
„Size“– How big is the city?
A conurbation of 2,000 inhabitants is already defined as a city in some countries, and at the upper end of the scale are metropolises with a population of 20 million or more. Urbanity and urban mobility are to be found in cities of all sizes, ranging in quality from mediocre to excellent. One finding with far-reaching implications for this study is that cities from one and the same size category are by no means identical.
„Relations“– To what extent is the city networked?
This refers above all to the global ranking enjoyed by a city and how well it is known. Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Shanghai each have a distinctive image and are well known throughout the world. At the other end of the scale are relatively unknown cities without a characteristic profile.
„Governance“ – How is the city controlled?
“Governance” describes to what extent a city’s social and political structures can orient themselves toward new objectives at any time – how adaptable it is, and also the extent to which the common good is placed before self-interest. Cities in Scandinavia, but also in autocratic systems such as China, are marked by robust “governance.” The cities at the opposite end of the scale tend to develop strong momentum in favour of individuals, mostly as a result of economic interests. The researchers in Berlin used these six dimensions to analyze numerous cities on all continents. “This provided the basis for the eight urban models that allow us to grasp the diverse nature of various cities,” says Stefan Carsten. In addition to the four categories outlined above, the researchers have also developed the urban models “Classic Sprawl,” “Saturated Urbanity,” “Continuous Decay,” and “Desperate Stagnation”.