Opinion – Claudio Bernardes: Effects of urban legislation in the city we all want


Quality urban legislation provides predictability and order in urban development from a wide range of perspectives, including space, society, economy and the environment. Certainly, factors that contribute to attracting investments, strong economic performance and wealth generation.

However, the city that everyone wants must primarily have quality of life and, for that, it must develop a series of important attributes.

It needs to be socially inclusive, accessible, economically vibrant, regenerative and resilient, safe, structured for pedestrians and cyclists, constituted by an efficient mobility system and with sectoral policies on housing, mobility, economy, biodiversity, energy and sanitation, which are associated and connected to a coherent and comprehensive territorial structure.

All these aspects, which somehow originate the quality of life, are directly linked to the built environment, which, in turn, is defined by land use and occupation policies and development guidelines. These factors are determined by urban legislation. Therefore, urban legislation and quality of life are intrinsically connected.

Urban planning begins with a vision of the city that goes through a process of regulation and ends with the physical delivery of the proposed models, which obviously leaves marks on the urban fabric.

The wrong view of the city, or with inadequate rules, will surely leave undesirable marks on the city. On the other hand, the correct vision of urban development, associated with legislation that reflects the planning objectives, will certainly induce the growth of the city in the desired direction and for the city that we all want.

This city for all is one in which people live safely and live in decent housing. A city where citizens move with ease and comfort to carry out their daily activities, and have the possibility to earn their livelihood in an environment of thriving economic development, with employment opportunities and facilities to undertake.

City where people can educate their children in schools with quality education, and have access to health care at minimally acceptable standards. Have access to leisure and contact with nature in urban areas in a pollution-free environment.

However, can urban legislation provide city dwellers with all this?

Certainly, the structuring and implementation of the city that we all want does not depend only on legislation. Appropriate governance models, with generation of resources and investments in physical and social infrastructure, are essential requirements for achieving these objectives.

However, all the necessary resources are not always available to implement all the necessary infrastructure in all regions of the city, and the optimization of this investment becomes extremely important.

Optimizing investments in the city means inducing growth to the most suitable regions, according to the chosen city vision, and structuring models to use the full potential of the installed infrastructure. Thus, without a doubt, urban legislation can and should play a relevant role in this process.

Adequate urban legislation can not only induce the development of the city that we all want, but become the pillar of the fair distribution of the city’s benefits to all its inhabitants, becoming an important ally in the fight for social inclusion.

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