We might live in the ‘Age of Connectivity’, but surveys tell us that we may be far lonelier than we imagined. As services such as banking and grocery shopping move online, people are losing convenient opportunities to connect with one another. Statistics Canada reports that 1.4 million seniors say they’re lonely. And it’s not only the elderly. Social isolation can impact anyone at any point during the course of their lives. Young people are experiencing epidemic levels of loneliness. The impact is not inconsequential. We humans are meant to be social, and if we do not get enough human contact, the joy and the quality of our lives diminishes.

According to UN estimates (April 2018), the current world population is 7.6 billion. With over half the world’s population now living in cities, urban ‘liveability’ has taken centre stage. What can be done to make living in cities safer, healthier and less alienating? What creates the kind of city where people want to live, work and stay?

To support our ‘Growing Communities’ theme, here are a few approaches urbanists have proposed about liveable spaces in urban environments: