The Natural Edge Project The Natural Advantage of Nations Whole System Design Factor 5 Cents and Sustainability Higher Education and Sustainable Development




"Hunter Lovins gave a very informative and inspirational presentation. Her perspectives and rationale behind Natural capitalism were enlightening and demonstrated practical ways where everyone, no matter how concerned they are about profits, production and progress, can make a contribution to business success without selling out the environment."
Monique Kraemer, Engineers Australia Queensland Division





The Natural Advantage of Nations (Vol. I): Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century

 
 

Section 4 - Sustainable Cities: The Challenge of the 21st Century

1 Governance of municipalities: a snapshot of sustainable development in China  (Mark Diesendorf)
2 The Goa 2100 Project: a breakthrough project from India (Alan AtKisson)
Chapter 17 - Profitable Greenhouse Solutions (Michael H. Smith and Alan Pears)
1 Energy systems: drivers for change
1.1 Vulnerabilities in the energy system
1.2 Threat of climate change
1.3 Greenhouse solutions that do not cost the earth
1.4 A historic opportunity
1.5 Issues identification
Chapter 18 - Greening the Built Environment (Cheryl Paten and Janis Birkeland with Alan Pears)
1 Building positive examples
2 The significance of greening the building and development industry
3 Perceived barriers to change
3.1 Information failures
3.2 Market failures
3.3 Institutional failures
4 From pioneers to systemic change: cultural reform
4.1 Information reform
4.2 Market reform
4.3 Institutional reform
5 Rating schemes
6 Design practice reform
6.1 Design process elements
6.2 Residential buildings
6.3 The future in design approaches
7 Summary
 
Chapter 19 - Sustainable Urban Transport (Jeff Kenworthy, Robert Murray-Leach and Craig Townsend)
1 Economic impacts of transport choices are significant
1.1 Methodology of the Millennium Cities Database
1.2 Characteristics of urban transport systems
1.3 Sustainable transport systems
1.4 The importance of urban form
1.5 Sustainable urban development
1.6 Designing around the mind: understanding behaviour
1.7 Civil society and business
Chapter 20 Water: Nature's Gold (Michael H. Smith with David Dumaresq)
1 Key drivers for change
1.1 Rationale for dams in the past
1.2 Creating a robust foundation and framework for water management
1.3 The Council of Australian Governments Agreements on Water Policy
1.4 The COAG communiqué to develop a National Water Initiative
1.5 A robust separation framework
1.6 Water access entitlements: allocations and use conditions

(Extract from Book)

... Cities are increasingly being seen as critical to the economic success or failure of regions, states and nations. Despite increasing globalization, many experts see economic growth being driven by these 'global city regions', which have strong concentrations of emerging and traditional industries, supportive infrastructure and a highly educated population.In these global city regions, diverse knowledge clusters and networks are formed that allow innovation to be rapidly combined with existing information in traditional industries, driving broad-based industry development. Despite globalization these local clusters are even more critical to national competitiveness than ever before. One of the most successful cities has been the Indian city of Bangalore, otherwise known as Silicon Valley II. But as a result of its economic success, the scale and speed of growth of Bangalore is unprecedented. It is creating challenges to urban planners and the urban infrastructure never seen before. This has been mirrored in numerous other rapidly growing cities throughout Asia. Such is the mainstream concern about these issues that Newsweek magazine dedicated a special issue on Asia's urban explosion. The edition argued that 'the stresses [of urbanization] will either make the region or doom it'.

In this rapidly urbanizing world, cities are not just important for achieving sustainable economic growth but also for achieving sustainable development. The world's cities take up just 2 per cent of the Earth's surface, yet account for roughly 78 per cent of the carbon emissions from human activities, 76 per cent of industrial wood use and 60 per cent of the water tapped for use by people. Cities are home to more people than ever before and the existing and potential future negative environmental impacts are significant. In 1900, only 160 million people, one tenth of the world's population, were city dwellers. In contrast, soon after 2000 half the world (3.2 billion people) will live in urban areas. As Figure 16.1 shows, many developing countries are undergoing urban transition with relatively high urban population growth rates.

Industrialization in developing countries has led to urban health problems on an unprecedented scale. Cities around the world affect not just the health of their people but the health of the planet. In response to this, there is now a growing level of commitment to creating sustainable cities. Citizens and local leaders from Curitiba in Brazil, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the US and Vancouver in Canada, are already showing the way as they overcome financial and political obstacles to put ideas for ecological sustainability into action. But overall internationally we still have a long way to go.

Note: All averages weighted by population. Lines indicate increase in share of urban population

between end-point years (25-year increments).

Source: World Bank (2003)

Figure 16.1 Average urban growth rate

China, for instance, has reported 3 million deaths from urban air pollution over two years. China is growing economically at ~10 per cent per annum, and with a population of over a billion the development choices China makes on development and urbanization in the next 30 years will be critical to whether globally we can achieve sustainable development. As Mark Diesendorf writes: ‘The desire of many of China’s ‘New Rich’ to emulate the more extreme manifestations of the American/Australian  way of life, with big cars, big houses, junk food and conspicuous wastage of everything, is undermining China’s potential for sustainable development. For instance, in several cities, the number of cars is growing at 15 per cent per annum. New urban areas, that are under construction on the outskirts of existing cities, are being built at lower densities, thus encouraging car use and discouraging cycling. China stands on a knife-edge between sustainable and unsustainable development. Its future and the future of this whole planet depend on whether wise minds will guide China on how to leapfrog over the mistakes made in Western economies, to create a better China and a better world.’

Therefore we start Section 4 with a snapshot of China to reinforce the importance of this section’s discussion on sustainable cities and whether leapfrog technologies will be adopted or not. It is vital that the West acknowledges its mistakes, and leads on sustainability and encourages by example China and developing countries to follow. If
nothing else, it is vital for global security this century because today the USA imports more than 50 per cent of their oil, Europe 70 per cent and it is estimated that China will import as much as 40 per cent of its oil within ten years with much coming from the Middle East.

In Section 3 the role of government in achieving sustainable development was discussed in detail. In those discussions it was implicit that there were just three levels of government in any nation – national, regional or state, and local. But there is another level of government emerging that will be critical to whether or not sustainability is achieved in mega-cities around the world – municipalities. Mark Diesendorf discusses this and other issues pertaining to where China is at, and some actions that any country could take to assist China’s transition to a sustainable economy for mutual benefit. Having considered the current situation in China, Alan AtKisson then reports a stunning new vision for the future of sustainable cities proposed by the remarkable Indian team responsible for the award-winning Goa 2100 Sustainable Cities project. The Goa 2100 team proposed an integrated approach to sustainable cities that also ensured the whole region, not just the city within it, achieved ecological sustainable development. This award-winning submission demonstrated that not just a sustainable city but a sustainable region could achieve ecological sustainability within 30 years cost-effectively.


In the chapters that follow, we explore exciting, innovative, emerging technologies and new policy approaches in the energy, built environment, transport and water sectors that will help any city and region become sustainable. Through these chapters we seek to show not just that significant cost-effective progress is now possible but there are already demonstrable benefits to those cities, regions and nations leading the way. We trust that these chapters provide further evidence and support to the notion that it will be possible to make significant strides to ecological sustainable development more quickly than previously hoped. As we explained in Section 1, achieving ecological sustainable development is not an academic exercise. It is vital that we do achieve this as fast as possible, because the sooner we do, the more likely we are to succeed in sustaining the vital species and ecosystems upon which life depends...