3E Intelligence

Green cities?

My apologies for not posting much in the last two weeks but i have been quite busy preparing the professional future of this blog.

I moderated a conference last week in Brussels on the future of urban public transport. The conference was organised by one of the main European lobbying organisations on public transport. As I am becoming more and more convinced that the key to finding solutions for climate change and energy security will have to be found in the big megacities, the conference was a bit of a disappointment: too many old-fashioned analyses and very few innovative ideas. I caused, of course, a bit of an uproar when i dared to provoke that for most citizens public transport is the transport of the poor. When public operators do not succeed in making a quantum jump in the quality of public transport or when private car use will not be heavily taxed, there will be not much future for green mobility in the cities. There are of course good examples and London’s congestion charge might be an inspiring model.

Talking about London. My wife and I spend a great weekend there visiting Tate Modern and my favorite Dickens House. I have the impression the quality of life in London is finally improving. Mayor Ken Livingstone and his team seem to be well intentioned to make London a green city. See also his announcement last week of London’s Climate Change Action Plan (I wrote more about this on EurActiv) .

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  1. Making cities sustainable isn’t just a job for the planners – invididual people need to be involved too. And the motivation comes from the community. People won’t recycle, use public transport, invest in domestic efficiency and so on, if there is no local group effort and peer pressure.

    In somewhere like London, people don’t know their neighbours. That’s why sustainable megacities is such a big challenge.


  2. There are some audio files on city design for download in the “Cities” section of Radio Ecoshock, at http://www.ecoshock.org

    That’s a free environment audio download site. Recent files include Sir Nicholas Stern’s testimony to the U.S. Senate; a tour of Ross Gelbspan, author of “Boiling Point”; a speech by Adair Turner defending the Stern Report; new interview with NASA’s James Hansen.

    You can also find two speeches by George Monbiot on the site, plus a weekly radio show broadcast in Vancouver, Canada.


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