Can a change in urban planning ideas alone help fight climate change?

From a design perspective, cities are in a unique position in the face of climate change.

“The construction and operation of buildings is responsible for just over a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions, so there is no doubt that finding a path to net zero carbon in our buildings and our cities is crucial to solving the greatest crisis facing humanity: climate change,” said Louise Monger is vice president, Digital Buildings, at Schneider Electric.

In a recent article from FRGMonger writes that “the construction and operation of buildings is responsible for just over a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions, so there is no doubt that finding a path to net zero carbon in our buildings and our cities is crucial to solving the greatest crisis facing humanity: climate change.”

“Existing buildings can benefit from retrofits with energy-efficient technologies, such as automatically adapting heating or cooling conditions based on occupancy levels. Add to that technologies that make managing and operating a building more efficient, and we begin to solve the problem at scale, delivering an estimated 30% reduction in energy consumption and operating costs. .

Monger goes on to say, “The technology for net-zero carbon cities exists today. But cities are a complex dynamic of thousands of buildings, businesses, industries, and stakeholders. changes of this nature on a large scale. It requires alignment with goals, specialized skills and good doses of collaboration, courage and determination.”

“In simple terms, city emissions are made up of buildings (homes and businesses, including factories and office buildings) and transportation systems (vehicles or public transport). Achieving net zero carbon will require a transition to clean energy and the large-scale implementation of energy efficiency measures,” she said.

According to Dan Ringelsteinarchitect and urban planner with SOM City Design Practice in London, a holistic approach to urban design can tie all these threads together into a comprehensive and cohesive vision.

“New large-scale urban development projects could implement even more progressive measures beyond net zero. If a majority of new developments can aspire to become “net-positive” and produce Following more energy than they consume, this could help overcome deficiencies elsewhere and allow cities and nations to reach their key goals faster,” he said.

But it’s not just about designing buildings.

As Ringelstein says, “Cities are very complex organisms. We must consider not only built structures – roads, infrastructure, buildings – but also the natural environment, economic resilience, social equity and cultural history. Urban planners and architects do not have all the answers.

“We need to engage in broad dialogue with experts from many fields and work together to invent solutions.”

In other words, the three key areas that have enormous potential to transform the sustainable impact of cities are: energy, transport and technology.

“Private public spaces have always been important in New York,” says Michelle Delk, Partner and Landscape Architecture Discipline Director at Snøhetta. This idea is “high right now because people are more concerned about climate change.”

Among the largest sources of emissions globally, they are also highly vulnerable to its consequences.

According to a report70% of the world’s cities are already facing the effects of climate change, and almost every city faces some type of risk.

“But they are also potentially powerful agents of change. Policy at the national level has evolved painfully slowly in most countries, but urban areas have the power to bring about significant changes in land use and zoning, transport, green spaces and energy policy,” declared Meaghan O’Neill write in Architectural Summary.

As Monger also notes: “Widespread investments in smart energy infrastructure and the digitization of operations will enable the collection of masses of data. This data can be leveraged to make real-time decisions and anticipate user needs by improving building comfort, experience, efficiency and sustainability.

“Net zero cities will require the integration of smart energy infrastructure, clean energy and ultra-efficient buildings, but also leadership and determination. It means designing buildings, neighborhoods and infrastructure for the future we want.

As well as a transformation of their transport networks and their energy production policies.

Without it, we will never become carbon neutral – whether by 2050 or for that matter, 3050.

Picture: https://propertyguideturkey.com/properties/modern-city-project/