Cities that work

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

This week on Earth Beat… how do we build a city we can all love living in? From public art and integration to defying developers and preparing for the post-oil age… what it takes to make a place liveable, and likeable.
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Good planning vs. bad planning
Marnie is joined by urban planner Hannah Evans to discuss what good planning is, and how retrofitting bad planning is a tough sell.
Hear from planner Hannah Evans
Can art fix bad planning?
In Amsterdam, “The Bijlmer” is known as the worst neighbourhood in town. Built as an urban utopia, it turned out to be more of a criminal quarter. The Bijlmer has been rebuilt twice, each time trying to make a better place to live. Earth Beat producer Ashleigh Elson takes a walking tour around the Bijlmer with Dutch artist Walter van Broekhuizen who was commissioned to create six public works as part of the most recent transformation.
Listen to the report
Getting there by bus
Hannah Evans reacts to the idea of commissioning art as a way to make things a little less ugly, and comments on how important it is for planners to take the bus if they want to improve public transportation.
Listen to Hannah's response
An urban village for the mentally ill
We hear about a controversial new project in Toronto, which re-envisions the city’s mental health centre as a place where patients and neighbourhood residents co-exist, inside and outside the facility.
Listen to the story
What makes a city great?
Hannah Evans reacts to the project and discusses how integration, density, nature, time and well-designed spaces and buildings are they keys to a great city.
Listen to Hannah's response
Denying developers
In Aberdeenshire, Scotland, residents are refusing yet another golf course, especially because it might mean compulsory purchase of their homes. So they’re taking on Donald Trump – not an easy feat. Marnie speaks to Martin Glegg, one of the people organizing “Tripping up Trump”, and David Milne, one of the holdout landowners.
Listen to the conversation
The failure of planning
Hannah Evans discusses the failure of planning at Balmedie Beach, and balancing private and public interests.
Hear Hanna's response
Peak oil
What is Peak Oil? What happens when we start to run out? Marnie speaks with David Hughes, a former geoscientist for the Geological Survey of Canada, now an “information dispenser” on peak oil.
Hear more about peak oil
Post peak living
Andre Angelantoni is convinced by the evidence of peak oil and is taking stock. He’s started a company called PostPeakLiving, and speaks to Marnie about how he helps communities and individuals prepare for a life with less oil.
Listen to the conversation
Planning for the future
Hannah Evans reacts to Dave Hughes and Andre Angelantoni, and tells Marnie what planners are doing about a possible future with less oil, as well as inspiring places to live.
Listen to Hannah have the last word
Next week on Earth Beat: a road that absorbs pollution. Really.
Well we did some first measurements, three independent measurements on three separate days with different weather conditions. And we noticed a degradation of 25-45% - so reduction – compared to a street without titanium dioxide.

That’s on Earth Beat from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.