Three years ago, the UN established the World Cities Day on the 31st October. A day to remember and recognise the importance of the equitable and adequate use of the basic urban services, the economic and social development and the sustainable urbanization.
The World Cities Day seeks a sustainable urban development that doesn’t deteriorate the environment and provides quality of life to the citizens. According to the State of European Cities Report 2016, produced by UN Habitat, more than 80% of the residents of European cities are satisfied with their lifestyle.
Among them, it should be kept in mind five cities that have been recognised due to their economic, social and environmental potential for a whole year. Such metropolis contribute to a more lasting sustainability.
In this 3rd edition of the World Cities Day, the C40 organization (Cities Climate Leadership Group) has considered 32 factors, which included: transport infrastructures, opportunities to start business and do business, tourism, real per capita incomes, importance of the city for global economy, mobile and Internet connectivity, employment rate, green areas, cost of living and energy efficiency.
COPENHAGUEN – Denmark
Denmark was the first country of the world to initiate an environment legislation and, since then, the environment has played a very important role in its plans.
The city has received special mentions by the European Prize for Urban Public Space. The inhabitants of Copenhagen generally ride bicycles, a step to regain the space occupied by vehicles in favour of pedestrians and cyclists. There is even a free-bike service for tourists since 1995.
One of ten purchases of food in Copenhaguen is organic, a number that make the city into the eco-friendliest city of the world. Copenhagen has established high rates of production and consumption of organic food. It has been classified as the global leader city in clean technology, clean business and sustainable buildings.
ROTTERDAM – the Netherlands
In October 2013, Rotterdam approved the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy (RAS). The process included vulnerability assessments and a social analysis of cost/benefit of 40 adaptation measures. It’s a solid city thanks to the incorporation of sustainable urban development measures and maintenance and renovation activities.
In 2014, the city received the C40 Prize to the Cities Leaderships in the category of Strategic Adaptations. Its 2014-2018 programme to restore the sustainability aims to improve security and quality of life of its inhabitants. It includes green roofs in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or to accumulate the rainwater, among other measures.
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa
In 2008 the city conducted an assessment of its vulnerability in relation to climate change, in order to evaluate its impacts. This has been the means that helped the city understand the climate risk and prepare responses to the consequences.
The Green Bond has been a decisive step to create funding opportunities in the elaboration and implementation of strategies to reduce such vulnerability.
In the case of biogas, the Solar Geyser initiative, as well as the fact that some buses work with dual fuel, and other important projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are present in the city.
A system that redirects 70% of city’s waste to dumping sites and creates campaigns to encourage the reuse of water and the implementation of renewable energies. This strategy gave the city the C40 Prize to the Cities Leadership in the category of Green Energy.
MEDELLÍN – Colombia
Medellín is known as the city with the greatest citizen satisfaction in terms of neighbourhood and parks, the third with the greatest satisfaction in relation to public space and the second in terms of satisfaction with the city’s streets.
This year, the city has received the Lee Kuan Yew Prize thanks to the integration and renovation of some forgotten areas of the city. Among the improvements, we can find a better accessibility through a cable car, made to connect the highest spots, escalators and libraries in public parks.
SUZHOU – China
The underlying principle of commercial viability has guaranteed the project’s sustainability thanks to the implementation of new commercial enterprises, the property development and the obtaining of new concepts and skills.
Its urban plan, awarded by the Lee Kuan Yew Prize in 2014, has provided important infrastructures to new companies and the innovative metro system that connects different areas.
Besides, in order to preserve areas like Pingjiang’s historic district, protected by UNESCO, Suzhou redirected the growth to a new financial district. The city has found a way to balance the economic and urban growth thanks to the protection of its cultural and environmental heritage.
They are a series of initiatives that seek the development of the area without damaging the environment. A point that Horse Magazines shares with the city and that we think it’s essential because the growth that ignores the planet’s health is something that we can’t afford.
Traductor: Paloma Sánchez