The World Future Council called for the design of the 21st century city to be an Ecopolis â€“ to operate a circular ‘urban metabolismâ€™ that incorporates circular flows of biological and technical resources – at the UN Climate Change Conference in CancÃºn. They presented their ‘Regenerative Cityâ€ report â€“’ a road map to a ‘regenerativeâ€™ urban development.â€
The Ecopolis will receive many of its key resources, including energy resources, from its local hinterland. The nutrients that it detracts from nature are returned by clever waste management systems. Renewable energy sources close to cities, a dramatic increase of energy efficiency measures as well as urban agriculture, avoid emissions and in addition create jobs in the city centresâ€, delineated Prof. Girardet. He proposed national governmental bodies as well as national action plans for sustainable city development.
‘The city of the 20th century, the Petropolis, was a linear, open-loop system that receives goods linearly and discharges waste linearly. In a new report titled ‘Regenerative Citiesâ€ the World Future Council (WFC) called on national governments at the UN Climate Change Conference in CancÃºn to enable their cities to take vigorous measures to deal with climate change.
cities must be focal point
‘Cities must be the focal point of action in the global effort to reduce global warmingâ€, WFC Co-Founder Prof. Herbert Girardet said in an official press conference at the UN climate summit. ‘Cities also must be enabled by national governments to reduce their vast consumption of energy and materials and to minimise their waste discharges, which put enormous pressure on the Earthâ€™s climate and ecosystems.â€
According to the organisationâ€™s statement, cities use 80% of global energy and materials. ‘Cities are at the heart of economic lives and they need active support to build resilient future-proof economiesâ€, Prof. Girardet continued.
The Hamburg-based organisation stated that the majority of positive examples are rather stand-alone solutions or state-financed prestige projects. In their report the WFC and an expert commission of 30 internationally acknowledged climate scientists, city planners and architects suggest 38 measures for ‘regenerativeâ€™ urban development. Not only well rehearsed measures such as energy-saving buildings or the expansion of renewable energies, but also sewage reprocessing, the use of composted bio-wastes in peri-urban agriculture and large scale tree planting schemes for carbon sequestration are part of the proposed solution.
national governments are not aware
‘Whilst it is crucial that the climate negotiations need to agree upon emission reduction targets and concrete mitigation measures, governments mustnâ€™t continue to ignore the role that cities need to play in this endeavour,â€ affirmed Prof. Girardet. In the report the WFC states that global urbanisation is increasing without the existence of an appropriate concept for sustainable urban development. According to the WFC one of the main causes of that is a lack of awareness among national governments and urban policy-makers.
The report ‘Regenerative Cities’ (see images) is available as PDF-Document or can be ordered free of charge at the World Future Council headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.
The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy making. Its up to 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision-makers with effective policy solutions. In-depth research underpins advocacy work for international agreements, regional policy frameworks and national law-making and thus produces practical and tangible results. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany. For more information see www.worldfuturecouncil.org.