Although cities have been centers of culture, ideas, and industry since the Neolithic Revolution 12,000 years ago, today’s bourgeois world culture is only two hundred years old. By 1800, only 6% of people lived in cities – even in 1970, New York and Tokyo alone were classified as “big cities” with more than 10 million inhabitants.
Let’s get to today: The planet is made up of about 34 mega-cities and the cities themselves host more than half of the world’s population. In addition, urban housing is expected to grow to 68% over the next 30 years.
Of course, migration to cities means densely populated areas and concentrated CO2 emissions from traffic and transport. In the US, for example, traffic is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and globally, transportation remains the leading factor in urban centers.
But there is also good news: Through smart urban planning, cities around the world are working to improve the quality of life of residents, while tackling carbon dioxide emissions. How; According to the C40, a global network of cities committed to tackling climate change starts with the priority of “moving people rather than cars”.
For example, the so-called “15-minute cities” and “complete neighborhoods” are two urban planning strategies that operate on the same basic principle: they enable the majority of residents to access all their basic needs on foot. or the bicycle.
This reduces congestion and travel times, frees up space for walking trails and parks, and improves air quality – all of which contribute to people’s well-being and physical health. The following eight cities are taking significant steps to create a more sustainable way for residents to move.
Bogota reduces its emissions in two main ways: By bus and by bicycle. TransMilenio – an impressive high-speed bus network – was launched in 2000. In 10 years, it has reduced the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 40%, and today its 1,500 buses run about 1.5 million passengers each day. The city is also known for ciclovia – the regular conversion of roads to car-free bike lanes on Sunday mornings – and has the highest rate of long-distance cycling among all Latin American cities. Nevertheless, the transports are still responsible for almost half of Bogota’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the mayor is working to change the data immediately.
The greater Montreal area already has about 3,000 miles of permanent bike lanes and trails. In an effort to reopen the city after months of COVID-19 blockade, authorities closed some of the city’s major thoroughfares in June 2020 for cars and other motor traffic by the fall of 2020. With an area of 327 km, this The transport plan aimed to encourage residents to travel actively, connecting cyclists with city parks, major commercial highways and existing bike lanes. Many hope that these pandemic-inspired road changes will lead to the creation of permanent bike lanes in the future.
Taipei is known as the “kingdom of the bicycle” – it is not only the seat of leading bicycle manufacturers, but also has its own infrastructure for bicycles and people. In 2019, it became the second Asian city to enter the Copenhagenize Index – an annual list of the world’s 20 most frequently used bicycles compiled by an international bicycle-focused international urban design company.
A huge government-sponsored public bicycle system, the widespread availability of rental bicycles, annual cycling conferences dedicated to urban design, and scenic cobblestone paths – such as the Keelung River Bicycle Trail – have helped the city to .
Auckland, New Zealand
With the Auckland Low Carbon Action Plan in 2014 – which paved the way for emissions reductions to 40% of levels from 1990 to 2040, Auckland declared its ambition to become the most sustainable city in the world and continues to adapt to emerging challenges. For example, when public passenger traffic increased by 33% between 2010 and 2015, the Auckland Council invested billions of dollars to make the system more efficient and climate-friendly.
Despite the city’s highly successful carbon capture program, the Million Trees program – which has already planted more than a million trees and will add another 1.5 million by 2022 to offset some of its emissions – Auckland was not always able to keep up with the pollution created by its growing population. Between 2009 and 2016, from a city of about 1.2 million inhabitants it increased to over 1.6 million inhabitants and emissions actually increased by 5%. But that did not stop the city from aiming for zero emissions by 2050.
A city with one of the most severe traffic problems in Europe, Barcelona is facing increasing pressure to reduce air pollution and emissions. In 2013, he created an urban mobility plan to improve bus routes and expand cycling and hiking trails. In recent years, it has created the Barcelona Low Emission Zone, which bans vehicles with high emissions from entering certain areas of the city during peak periods.
But its revolutionary urban design idea – the Superblock – is one of the city’s most innovative projects. Each Superblock is an area consisting of nine building blocks in which traffic has been rerouted to pass around the perimeter, speed limits are kept low (10km / h or 6mph) and sidewalk parking is moved underground. These Superblocks encourage cycling, while creating pedestrian-friendly roads and large areas of greenery.
Hoi An, Vietnam
This historic city, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999, has developed an effective plan to increase bicycle use among residents and tourists. To date, the city has improved cycling routes and infrastructure, launched a public-private partnership to implement a low-cost bicycle sharing program, and established car-free zones in an effort to encourage walking and cycling.
Tshwane, South Africa
The ever-expanding city of Tshwane is working to improve urban living and accessibility for all its residents. While walking is already a popular form of transportation, accounting for 29% of all commuting, the city has launched various initiatives to motivate cycling.
These include car-free roads, specialized festivals for the use of bicycles to work, and a pilot bicycle sharing program with regular and electric bicycles. The city also runs the Shova Kalula bicycle program, which provides free bicycles to people living in disadvantaged areas outside the city.
It was the first U.S. city to launch a climate action plan in 1993, and has since surpassed U.S. climate targets by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, despite a population increase of nearly 40%. The summary of the city’s 2015 climate action plan presented plans to reduce daily per capita vehicle mileage by 30% through smarter urban planning and integrated neighborhoods.
Source: Εναλλακτική Δράση by enallaktikidrasi.com.
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