A nutritional label, like for health food, except for cities.
Have you ever wondered how to:
- Quantify the returns of sustainable cities.
- Overcome objections to spending on green design.
- Identify the green features that not only sound great but also perform well.
- Confidently select assets that perform over the long term: financially, socially and environmentally.
Who am I?
This is from an interview I did with Expo Cities 2020, and I think it explains what it is this website is about, so please excuse the question answer format.
Please tell us about the work of Planned Cities
The Planned Cities platform is about helping those involved in city-building access the sustainability dividend from sustainable city projects. The predicted volume of infrastructure needed globally far exceeds the public funds available to upgrade and build new services, so governments are trying to attract investment into their cities to upgrade and modernize existing built assets. However, non-green infrastructure will be a liability when it comes to dealing with the environmental challenges of the future, so cities must create compelling business cases for a better standard of infrastructure. That is how the Planned cities platform is envisaged. Demonstrating the sustainability dividend of better cities – Like a nutritional label for health food, but for cities.
What is your vision regarding what cities have to improve on their policies in order to face the challenges of the future?
The emerging risks for cities include population growth, depletion of natural resources, shortages, and more extreme weather events from climate change. In this context out-dated infrastructure will be a liability. Sustainable infrastructure is being designed to respond to these challenges, and this is what cities must choose to invest in. That puts the responsibility on cities to improve their policies. On the Planned Cities website I have written about 8 principles for city prosperity, including:
- Providing complete services to improve the cities global ranking… ie. Schools, recreation and cultural activities are also important to attracting jobs
- What gets measured matters: don’t rely on GDP to tell you the complete story, and
- Choose the green premium, which delivers a sustainability dividend to the city
Tell us about projects you have been involved in that make the change we all need to improve the quality of life:
In the past environmental work was seen as driven by legislation, but my work and the Planned Cities platform revolves around demonstrating the profitability of urban sustainability. Projects I have had a central role in have aimed to improve the quality of life in cities. In Western Australia we demonstrated the benefits of ecological services, such as storm water infiltration as opposed to drainage, natural land forms as opposed to levelling the entire landscape, and investing more in street trees rather than bare pavements. In South Australia we expanded beyond green buildings to create initiatives for a green precinct, reducing the heat island effect, enhancing walkability, and creating mini-grid energy systems. In Africa we leap-frogged traditional infrastructure to deliver decentralised energy to peri-urban areas using solar energy and mobile connected smart meters. These projects are examples of harnessing the sustainability dividend to attract finance.
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You can contact me at em.mckie at plannedcities dot com.