By: Daniela Navas
Urban planners all across the world have been planning how to make cities smarter. The envisioning of a sustainable city is not a disruptive way of thinking anymore, but a shared goal all over the world. The reason could not be simpler: smarter cities translate into quality of life.
Fortunately, smart and sustainable cities do not belong to utopic futures. Technology is already helping make them a reality. We have developed ideas and systems that are helping us create truly sustainable cities. In some cities, such as Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates or the Fujisawa town in Japan the concept of a sustainable city is a reality.
According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, by 2050 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, that is 13% more than today, another 2.5 billion people in cities. This is a huge challenge that needs to be addressed through innovation and the design of smart and sustainable environments.
This massive growth could be threatening to future cities. It has been said that it can lead to social instability, which can definitely undermine the capacity of cities to be sustainable. Thus, being aware of the challenges ahead can help us create a new model of sustainability that includes incentives to save energy, to reduce water consumption or even to share car rides.
This takes us to another challenge: promoting car sharing and walking. According to the Make My Trip Count commuter survey, 46.7% of people drive alone in their cars. Of course, our cities have car-oriented landscapes and often, walking is not an option. But what we can fix is the continued tendency to drive alone.
A study shared by University of California-Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center found that in 2015 the car sharing industry eliminated an estimated 146 million vehicle miles traveled in five cities of the US which equates to preventing about 39,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting the air in those cities.
At EYESAFE we think car sharing is an important part of the future. This is certainly a way to make our cities more sustainable. As a conscious business, we are aiming to create an environment that will contribute to the sustainable development of our cities and our planet, which is why the transformation of the mobility landscape is our goal.
The third sustainability challenge is cooperation and joined-up action. As we have stated in previous articles, all actors need to sit on the same table. In order to follow a sustainability agenda, departments need to talk to each other so we can build cities while creating jobs, reducing inequality, crime, and congestion, improving citizen health and well-being and curbing carbon emissions and our ecological-footprint. These strategies need to be applied consistently across the board if we want truly sustainable cities.
In 2015, countries embraced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 11th one is ‘Sustainable cities and communities’ and it states that common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, declining infrastructure and rising air pollution within cities. These challenges can be overcome if we create smarter and safer ecosystems where different actors of the industry converge and work together towards this common objective.
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