Robert Worcester: The successful city must meet all of a person's needs

From a speech on 'The Resurgent City', given at the London School of Economics by the chairman of Mori
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The Independent Online

Let me begin, as do so many social scientists, with the teaching of Abraham Maslow. Maslow was the American psychologist who in 1943 published a seminal paper with the title "A Theory of Human Motivation". What, asked Maslow, happens to man's desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled? At once other (and higher) needs emerge. And these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still "higher") needs emerge, and so on.

Maslow's hierarchy begins with the satisfaction of physiological needs including thirst, hunger, sex and warmth; a second stage has to do with love and esteem; a third with self-actualisation. The label of self-actualisation applies to the drive for a musician to make music, an artist to paint, a poet to write, an athlete to compete, a politician to seek office, a salesman to convince others. At a yet higher level, there is a desire to understand, to systematise, to organise, to analyse, to look for relations and meanings.

The resurgent city must meet all of these needs.In measures of happiness, satisfaction, liveability, we know from research in many countries that where people have food to eat and water to drink, where they are safe and their possessions are not at risk, where they are esteemed and can find love in their lives, and where we lucky few who have these basic wants fulfilled can find self-actualisation, then we have communities in which people find place, and their place within them.

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