Making smart cities more attractive places to live is a climate strategy.
03 October 2021
The bad news? Climate change is everywhere. Ever since Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, global warming can and must no longer be ignored. People are wasting the earth’s rich sources at an unseen pace. City-living puts major limits to the sustainability of our planet’s strengths, and restricts one’s daily outdoor enjoying. The good news? Urban designers and civic planners are booking great results concerning urban green space projects. Introducing nature into cities - and that’s not just parks - is slowly finding its way in today’s society. Let’s call them… smart cities!
Making cities more attractive places to live asks for innovative and even more attractive E-projects. We like to present you E-bikes: electric bikes and electric scooters used for the delivery of goods and passenger transport. This project was launched in 7 different European countries. For this project, 39 companies operating in different sectors and offering a range of different services and goods, teamed up to test 74 e-bikes. Looking back, this project was facing some drawbacks, but benefits definitely prevail:
- The tempo of the deliveries improved, which equals time gain;
- Fuel savings compared to cars, scooters and vans;
- Better access because of less distance travelled and no time-slot restrictions;
- Participating companies inspired other companies, which equals market enlargement;
- Environmental benefits, like energy and emissions.
Like we already mentioned, not only far-advanced technologies are important in order to build smart cities. We are all connected to this “Internet of Things” on a 24/7 base. Social media is an interesting tool to bring like-minded people together. Thanks to social media channels (like Facebook), closed groups and mobile applications, we are able to create communities and promoting the use of sustainable transport modes. It’s important to trigger the community members of these channels through social incentives. Enrich them with relevant knowledge, ask questions to keep the online conversation going and provide tips and tricks. Last but not least: challenge them! Ask them to share pictures to show how they participate.
Why should we invest in urban nature? It offers benefits for us, humans, and for our planet. Not only does it offer a perfect escape for people who would like to get away from daily city activity and reduce stress and anxiety by doing so, but it also improves public health and water quality, and decreases violence. Also, children can benefit enormously from more green in our cities: studies have proven that greenery improves attention and memory. Furthermore, more green has major advantages for our environment - which is pretty self explanatory, we guess.
The U.S.A. offer us some great examples of green space successes. Let’s take a look at three of them:
- The Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta: The BeltLine is a greenway, which inhabits an old railroad corridor that encircles Atlanta’s downtown. It connects no less than 45 neighborhoods and a number of parks! The BeltLine is a real outdoor party: street art, a lantern parade and an arboretum are just of few of many activities which are organized there. Oh, and did you know that this tourist attraction started as a master’s thesis, 18 years ago?
- Klyde Warren Park, Dallas: a green space speaking to anyone’s imagination. This park was constructed as a five acre deck over an eight lane (!) highway, and connects Uptown Dallas with Dallas Arts District for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Not only is this futuristic park a real eye catcher for the city, it also transformed an inhospitable no-man’s land into a relaxing, comforting and natural zone.
- The High Line, New York: a park inhabiting a preserved, almost demolished railway? You can find one in The Big Apple. The High Line can be seen as a green roof, with native and low maintenance urban plants - the natural habitat of this vegetation. The pathways in the park absorb water, and limit storm water from running off. The High Line’s sustainability is proven by its drip irrigation, integrated pest management and composting. And how about some cultural relaxing with its ample art supply?
As you can see, green spaces in urban spaces have numerous advantages. Not only do they provide healthy surroundings for their citizens, but they also imply major benefits for our climate, thanks to a relatively large-scale installation of more green and smart ecological initiatives in this urbanized world. Conclusion: smart cities might be the next big thing, but green smart cities? These are the future.