They say that one of the biggest problems of this modern, anti-intellectual age isn’t the actual discussion regarding whether, for example, climate change is real and so alarming as claim or not, but the fact that too many people, even officials, are taking science facts for granted. Consequentially, weave reach the moment when climate change dangers are becoming obvious and clearly threating, thus it is probably our last chance to gather experts’ forces and make thorough action plan on how to take control over it. Copenhagen is hosting city for one of the greatest gatherings of experts and political officials who will try to discuss the matter, address all of its aspects and come up with precise projects. More than 80 countries are represented at a climate change summit in Copenhagen which is intended to spur politicians into taking action on global warming. The scientists are warning that sea level could rise by more than a meter by 2100, three times the average predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its report in 2007. Climate change offers us a chance to change how we think and how we organize our lives, and a chance for towns and cities to take a lead and become more socially and economically responsible.
So how do you go about creating a sustainable place? This website demonstrates that it can be done, with practical examples from around the world on the big issues:
- Energy – reducing carbon emissions and ensuring security of supply.Every town and city should produce an energy strategy that maps current and future needs and prioritizes a range of low-carbon, sustainable energy sources. Copenhagen has had a strategy to reduce energy consumption and dependence on oil since the 1970s and a network of efficient district heating and power schemes that use energy from waste, wind, ground and spare heat from industry.
- Making buildings comfortable, safer and cheaper to run.Towns and cities need to do more to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, which produce about 45 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions. In the UK Woking has pioneered the development of a network of over 60 local energy generators to power, heat and cool municipal buildings and social housing and has cut its carbon emissions by 77 per cent since 1990. Malmö in Sweden aims to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2012 through a range of design and planning interventions.
- Creating streets fit for people.Towns and cities need to integrate transport and planning in urban areas to reduce the need to travel, make places better connected and make walking, cycling and public transport attractive and easy options. Ashford’s integrated sustainable development strategy is helping the town absorb growth with infrastructure including a permeable network of streets, good public transport and green public spaces. Copenhagen has integrated its transport and public space policies to encourage an increase in walking and cycling and a decrease in car use.
- Rethinking waste.Attitudes to waste have to change and it needs to be seen as a resource to be reprocessed into something useful or treated to recover value or energy rather than something that is thrown away. At Hammarby in Stockholm, recycling networks are integral to the design of the whole place. Waste and biomass provide energy for residents and business.
- Planning for a shortage and excess of water.Cities and towns need to take a strategic view of water supply and storm water. The East London Green Grid aims to create a network of open spaces with the potential for managing surface water and flood risks and generating energy.
- Moderating the urban heat island.Cities and towns are warmer than surrounding areas because heat is stored in concrete and tarmac and traffic and poor air circulation between tall buildings compound the problem. In August 2003 35,000 people across Europe died unnecessarily from heat. Green spaces are protected at strategic places across Stuttgart to allow cool airflows, improve air quality and reduce the heat island effect.
- Making green spaces work for people and wildlife.Urban green areas can be a significant source of sustainable food, help community cohesion and protect biodiversity. Benwell Nature Park in Newcastle is now a focal point for community that helped create it and Warrington has pioneered the establishment of urban forestry.