More than half of the human population is living in urban areas. It is clear that urbanization is inevitable, and countries need to improve their urban infrastructure to enhance productivity and create jobs. Some planners suggest that the concentration of population in large urban fabrics will increase in future, leading to dreadful problems of service delivery. Restricting city growth is suggested as one of the approaches to manage this problem. I oppose this on the following grounds: urbanization provides opportunities for innovation and reducing costs; it requires a notion of coordination between different services. Economic activities stimulate development and the link with public transport is the key for sustainable development. Above all, urbanization promotes economies, thus reducing the costs of production and services. Even if some European cities (such as London or Paris) have been able to preserve green belts around them, there is a limit to controlling urban development, and controls could lead illegal development and security issues. China has invested heavily in urban infrastructure and services especially in coastal cities (Hangzhou and Jiaozhou Bridges) in an aim of linking urbanized fabrics together. This city clustering was a way to cluster business development as well and stimulate economic growth. Yet, and on the other hand, many large Latin American cities are now becoming disordered because they have not been able to handle their growth. Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro… have all run into constraints. So the question is how does this affect the expectations and degree of satisfaction of the inhabitants, and is this growth necessarily sustainable when considering human welfare? I believe, and as it has been discussed in class, these problems are highly associated with a dependency on cars, massive consumption of resources, without necessarily improving the quality of life. This issue, over the past years, has become expensive, environmentally damaging and time-consuming as work and social interaction (not virtual networks) have been increasingly separated and stretched apart. Commuters in London for example might spend more time negotiating traffic than they do in an activity that is as basic to life as eating with family and friends; so imagine the scenario in Sao Paulo, Mexico City or Rio de Janeiro. On the social level, these situations are created by people seeking a better quality of life. We seek the vibrancy of the city and the space of the village. On the other hand, developers rush to make financial profit by catering for our desires. To achieve human welfare, social assessment in this case is important because it can help planners, developers and the public identify potential conflicts of interest that may accompany development. In addition to quality of life issues, it is important to assess how a proposed development may influence neighborhood cohesion or cultural differences among members of the community. This brings us to the issue of why do people tend to believe that what is financially profitable (for developers) is not actually equivalent to economically feasible (positive impacts on social welfare)? The answer is that simply because the relations between growth, income, consumption and welfare (and on what bases are the economic utilities measured ) are rarely considered when designing. Let’s take the example of the Beirut Central District and its redevelopment after the civil war. The gentrification of the urban fabric was the only solutions that the developers found ‘financially profitable’, yet when talking about social welfare, not only was it not an economically feasible decision, but also lost the memory of the old Beirut city. This gap in the design process resulted in the end user dissatisfaction. As Alain de Botton, Author of “The Architecture of Happiness” says that ‘ Yes, humanity is present in buildings, just as it is in music, cooking, fashion and conversation’; this issue of balance between financial and economic profitability can be enhanced and strengthened by the awareness among developers and planners on how to consider the environmental and social externalities in any project knowing that it is a long term economically profitable decision and not instantaneous. reference: