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Innovating for a sustainable strategy

By Zhang Qian (People's Daily Online)

15:35, July 02, 2013

The relationship between cities and sustainability has been rising up the international agenda over the past few decades. But the role of cities as centers of global economic development and their part in changing environmental and social conditions has gained much more attention recently. For example, at major events, like "Torino: Sustainable strategies".

At the top of the list is that the majority of the world's people now live in cities and urban areas. More than 70 percent of the global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. We are truly living in the urban century. But there is more to it than just a shift in where we live.

Cities are estimated to account for up to 75 percent of global energy demand and 80 percent of greenhouse gas production. Not to mention a multitude of environmental and socio-economic issues related to urban life such as waste generation, air pollution, resource use and water demands.

Zhuang Weimin, director of the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University, expressed building sustainable cities must be about more than creating technically sustainable urban areas and stimulating "green" economic development. In other words, it is not simply an engineering or economic challenge. Truly sustainable cities must attract and excite people about opportunities and new lifestyles. They must be engaging in every sense.

Sustainable urban transformation cuts across many areas including governance and planning, innovation and competitiveness, lifestyle and consumption, resource management, climate mitigation, transport and accessibility, buildings, and public space. It is very broad, but there are some key lessons to learn from initiatives on sustainable cities.

We need to understand cities as a source of possibilities and promote collaboration between organizations and citizens with diverse backgrounds, interests and skills. We need to test different solutions and approaches because, ultimately, it is vision, experimentation, and action that will create cities fit for the future.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:ZhangQian、Yao Chun)

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