If sustainability action plans and eco-districts were three legged stools, most would fall over. Environmental and economic sustainability are typically well-accounted for in these plans, but as San Diego UrbDeZine writes, social sustainability, is often an afterthought. However, marginalized communities face a high share of environmental degradation and as poverty sprawls outwards, it will be impossible to successfully address environmental sustainability without a legitimate social component. Looking forward, city-makers that can create three strong sustainability legs will have lucrative prospects, and a stool for cities to sit on.
Re-thinking human relationships with water is critical for climate change adaptation. Waterfront cities have undertaken a range of initiatives to address sea-level rise and future water deficiency. Shaped like an upside-down umbrella, Tåsinge Plads, a public space in Copenhagen, uses clever landscaping and materials to both manage flood control and increase quality of life. The collaborative designs overcame restraints of traditional engieneering solutions. Would you agree that today’s complicated issues are better served by creative multidisciplinary approaches?
Resulting in a global agreement, COP21 was an important step towards limiting the impacts of climate change. However, as The Dirt writes, it was only a starting point. Transportation accounts for the second largest share of energy-related emissions and presents a major opportunity for improvement. Disruption to car-oriented planning, particularly in secondary cities, would have a major impact on CO2 emissions and can also be a major employment driver, as demonstrated in Copenhagen and Brazilian cities. Urban mobility – a catalyst for greener, more successful cities.
After long nights, intense negotiating, and ultimately the most important international climate deal in history, it’s time to get to work. Home to the majority of the world’s population, and with about 1/3 of the carbon budget to stay under 2 degrees, cities have a big role to play. But how will they achieve this? Next City provides a review of key issues and opportunities for resilience, economies of scale, financing, cooperation among multiple levels of government and with the private sector.
Facing an unprecedented drought, Los Angeles is turning to an ancient water-management solution, cisterns, combined with new technology, the cloud. As Next City writes, the project, initiated by Tree People, is a small test that is part of a broader effort to retain a quarter of the city’s groundwater by 2024, a 100% increase over today. This is particularly important with a great deal of wet weather expected with this winter’s El Nino phenomenon. New innovations on ancient ideas, another opportunity to create a sustainable future.
Big news out of Oslo, Norway today. The capital city of a nation that produces nearly two billion barrels of oil a day announced that not only would its city centre be car free by 2019, it would also divest from fossil fuels by 2020. They also plan to halve emissions by 2020 and become fossil fuel free by 2030. In the run up to COP21, this is another indication that cities are leading the way on energy policy.
It is easy to tear a single sheet of paper – and nearly impossible to rip a whole stack of them. Building on this simple observation, researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois, and the University of Tokyo created structurally engineered plastic tubes inspired by Origami arts. The physical endurance and structural flexibility of this lightweight material when folded and stacked, could have important implications on civil engineering, disaster infrastructure and urban resilience. In fact, Pritzker-winning architect Shigeru Ban is already employing some of these techniques.