sustainable cities are possible, if prioritized
The Internet is saturated with advice that tells you exactly how to go the sustainable route and all the things which you can do towards making the larger community more eco-friendly. But in all honesty – it can get overwhelming at times, even when content and initiatives like this are made with good intentions and reason.
Raising figurative stakes, if one is to imagine a Sustainable City, then an immediate road-block that meets you is that pesky inner voice which says, “Impossible ! It cannot be done”. In a bid to lay rest to that voice and counteract its falsity, I present to you – real-world examples of (trailblazer) cities that have managed to make the impossible happen, balancing sustainability with the full swing of a 21st-century metropolis.
Copenhagen is often ranked as one of the world’s greenest cities. Why?
For starters, the city had set a goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025 as part of its CPH 2025 Climate Plan in 2009. It has focused on reducing energy consumption in myriad ways, from using energy-efficient district heating systems that connect to nearly every household to innovative cooling systems that save around 70 per cent of the energy compared to traditional air conditioning.
The city improved its residents’ health by reducing emissions and improving mobility through integrated transport and building what’s known as super cycle highways.
These highways and other bike lanes spread across the city have led 45% of its population to commute by cycle every day. Copenhagen is in the fast lane, toward becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral city.
Singapore Developed A Sustainable Development Blueprint, Learn How!
With a population of more than five million people, Singapore is often recognized as one of Asia’s largest and forward-thinking green mega-city. It developed a Sustainable Development Blueprint, which outlines sustainability goals in action till 2030 and the targets include an increase in energy efficiency by 35%, green certification for 80% of its buildings and ensuring that 80% of the households are within walking distance (10 minutes max.) of a train station.
Singapore has also improved the sustainability factor by making drastic changes in its transport systems.
The city-state limits car ownership among its residents and has built effective public transport, curbing pollution levels and crowding on streets and highways. Singapore’s public transit system helps residents navigate the city easily, along with biking and walking.
Journey to Perfect City, Vancouver Way
Vancouver is often called the ‘perfect city for living and travel, because of its captivating environs that lie dotted with misty forests, high mountains and the undulating blues of the Pacific. Taking ninth place on the list of most eco-friendly cities the world over, Vancouver recognised early on, that its environmental footprint is three times larger than what the Earth can sustain and to tackle this, the city launched Greenest City Initiative in 2009, which set realistic targets that can be achieved in the near future.
The program was revamped during the pandemic as Greenest City 2020, especially focusing on three thematic areas – zero waste, zero carbon and healthy ecosystems. Of all major North American cities, Vancouver produces the lowest GHGs or greenhouse gas emissions right now, which highlights all the effort put in by local authorities to combat the city’s environmental impact.
There is abundant evidence showing that Vancouver is making notable strides in creating a more livable city for its denizens. For instance, people there witnessed a 23% rise in green jobs and a 26% increase in local food jobs since 2013. Adding to this, nearly 23% of all Canadian CleanTech companies are located in the capital — whether this is done through digital contracts or by implementing a cycle-to-work scheme.
These were just some examples, for countless more exist now – cities eagerly going the green route and reaping rewards for it now. They are living proof of the possibilities and benefits inherent in a Sustainable City.