Archive for July, 2007

Model – Vehicle pollution charges in cities

Posted in Models, Movements, Visions by fedwards on July 26th, 2007

Pollution charges or vehicle congestion charges are gaining popularity in large cities as Milan has recently announced they’ll join London in imposing a “pollution charge” on vehicles entering its historic center to reduce exhaust emissions, the mayor’s office said on its Web site. Unfortunately a similar strategy for New York City was recently overturned by the New York State Assembly (click here for more information). In Milan, a 10-euro (US$14) daily fee will be charged for vehicles which enter the centre during weekday daytime hours over a year-long trial period. Read the full story on Planet Ark’s Environment News.

Do you know of any other cities in the world who charge vehicle congestion fees? Please list comments below.

Model – China takes on more clean energy sources for Olympics

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 24th, 2007

Beijing, China, is investing in more clean energies to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games. 580 million yuan (U8S$76.69 million) has been invested to build 33 windmills to generate an estimated 100 million kwh of electricity a year and help reduce the city’s reliance on polluting coal-fired generators, the China Daily said. The new power plants will sit on the outskirts of Beijing combining with other efforts to reduce the pollution in the city of Beijing which include imposing a Car-Free month and supporting other clean technologies such as solar energy.

According to an article published in Planet Ark World News, the wind-generated energy project will cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 10 million tonnes per year in addition to powering at least 20 percent of the Olympic venues. The government was also considering subsidies to encourage people to use wind power. “China has the greatest wind power reserves in the world, but the high cost and China’s reliance on imports of equipment has slowed down the development of wind power,” an energy official was quoted as saying.

Resource – Feeding Sustainable Cities

Posted in Models, Movements by fedwards on July 20th, 2007

Urban agriculture is a key aspect to creating and feeding sustainable cities. Urban agriculture has many benefits – local food that doesn’t require transportation, green urban zones reduce atmospheric pollution, the integration of key systems, the re-use of waste materials, the ability to provide food for one’s self, and more. In addition, urban agriculture also plays a very important role in maintaining health and livelihoods in the developing world while offering the developed world to reinvent themselves into a more sustainable form.

Key sites that provide urban agriculture models, research, projects and connections are listed below:

Resource Centres for Urban Agriculture and Food Security

International Development Research Centre

RUAF Foundation

Movement & Resources – Green Roofs Movement

Posted in Movements by fedwards on July 19th, 2007

Green roofs have a history and certainly look like they’ll have a future – especially with regards to re-inventing carbon neutral, sustainable cities. Green roof’s popularity are endorsed by the number of websites devoted to them. See a list of such resources below. – US based Green Roofs Network - UK based Green Roofs Network – information site from Canada – Scandinavian based – Green Roof research team, Mitchigan, US – Australia’s Green Roofs for Healthy Cities website

Resource – Urban Sustainability Worldwide: An Information Resource for Urban Practioners

Posted in Models, Research, Visions by fedwards on July 18th, 2007

Urban Sustainability Worldwide: An Information Resource for Urban Practitioners“, November 2003, is a companion document to “Urban Sustainability in New Zealand: An Information Resource for Urban Practitioners” prepared under the Ministry’s Sustainable Management Fund. Both these reference guides have a practical focus and are aimed at assisting urban practitioners create liveable and sustainable towns and cities. To download the document, click here.

Model – China to convert suburb to wetland

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 17th, 2007

According to a news report on the Planet Ark Worldwide Environmental News, the city of Shanghai, China, plans to set aside 15 sq km of its suburbs as wetlands to improve the quality of its water. The wetlands will be developed around the existing Dianshan Lake in the financial district – also the source of about 30 percent of the city’s drinking water, to act as a filter. For more information, visit the news article here.

Resource – “Manufactured Landscapes” documentary

Posted in Uncategorized by fedwards on July 17th, 2007

The film, “Manufactured Landscapes“, has recently been launched (see the shorts here) with striking images captured by photograher Ed Burtynsky based on the production of goods in China. This film provides a vivid insight into the landscapes where our cheap products are created – a factor that is often overlooked. For a detailed review of the film, visit the Worldchanging website.

Marketing Movement – Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS)

Posted in Movements by fedwards on July 17th, 2007

Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability or its acronym, LOHAS, describes the emergence of the expanding niche market for goods and services based around the concept of “sustainable living”.

This broad term incorporates the profitable marketplace sectors of:
sustainable economy (green building, renewable energy, alternative transportation, etc),
healthy lifestyles (natural, organic products, dietary supplements, personal care),
ecological lifestyles (organic and recycle fiber products, environmentally-friendly appliances, eco-tourism, etc.),
alternative healthcare (alternative treatments and complementary medicines, holistic disease prevention) and;
personal development (mind, body and spirit products such as CDs, books, seminars, yoga, etc.).

Read the rest of this entry »

Resource – Improving sustainability in Canadian Cities

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 17th, 2007

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), Canada, is “dedicated to exploring new opportunities to integrate environmental conservation and economic development, in order to sustain Canada’s prosperity and secure its future”. As part of this goal, the NRTEE conducted the Urban Sustainability program which aimed to catalyze momentum toward alternative or more coherent strategies, based upon sustainable development principles, that improve the quality of life and competitiveness of Canada’s cities or urban regions.

One of the outcomes from this project was the 2003 report, “Environmental Quality in Canadian Cities: The Federal Role“. This report covers aspects such as the policy, transit and planning in sustainable cities that could also be applied in other cities around the world. The report can be downloaded from their website.

Model – Partnerships to sustainability

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 16th, 2007

The capital city of Kunming, southwest China, is an excellent example of the power of partnerships towards urban sustainability. The technical cooperation between Kunming and Zurich started with a project in drinking water supply, expanding to later include “old town protection”, “sewage and waste water treatment”, “city planning” and “urban and regional transport planning”. The model of exchange between the two cities consisted of trust and travel with specialists from Zurich supporting Kunming in urban planning and development while Chinese specialists traveled to Zurich for technical visits or trainings to gain an insight into the management of a modern European city.

Transport pollution – a huge problem in China – has lessened due to this collaboration. Solutions include:
1. Establishing the Kunming Urban Public Transportation Master Plan, which prioritised the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRT) policy. The modern BRT can reach the carrying capacity and service level of rail traffic and its construction and operation costs are much lower that of rail traffic, which makes it suitable for Kunming as a middle-sized city in China. And, 2. Kunming built its first modern bus lane in 1999 which has now extended to a four special bus lanes. Many other changes have also taken place, which include adopting a prohibiting automobiles turn left policy, which has produced mixed responses.

For more information about Kunming and it’s path to sustainability read the article on the S-DEV Geneva ’05 website.