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Sustainable Cities: Coupling Cycles of Energy, Water, & Land- use to Reinvent the Urban Landscape Kimberly A. Gray Professor Dept. of Civil & Environmental.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Cities: Coupling Cycles of Energy, Water, & Land- use to Reinvent the Urban Landscape Kimberly A. Gray Professor Dept. of Civil & Environmental."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Cities: Coupling Cycles of Energy, Water, & Land- use to Reinvent the Urban Landscape Kimberly A. Gray Professor Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering Energy, Cities, and the Control of Complex Systems Workshop 47 th Session of International Seminars on Planetary Emergencies 14 May 2014

2 Global Conditions Urban face of planet - Since 2008 > ½ world’s population urban; 70% by Creating a precarious condition where 3.5 billion people occupy only about 2% of the earth’s land area

3 Urban Development as Opportunity - Cities may be our “greatest invention”… 70% of global GDP 70% of global energy 75% of global resources lowest energy, GHG / capita - But the typical city in U.S and elsewhere in world is woefully inefficient in the way it transports its citizens supplies information manages its water supply produces food and energy treats its wastes - We must reinvent old & new cities by devising strategies for sustainable urban design, which is based on the ecological principles of material & energy cycling and on policies & incentives that make business sense. - Cities are hotbed of adaptation, resilient actions

4 Human Footprint on Earth System: - Beyond the Boundary; Limits to Growth? - Metrics Rockstrom J. et al. (2009) A safe operating space for humanity, Nature, 461:

5 Key vulnerabilities may be associated with many climate & ecologically sensitive systems: Food supply Infrastructure Health Water resources Coastal systems Ecosystems Global biogeochemical cycles Ice sheets Modes of ocean & atmospheric circulation S. Schneider (2009) Science as a Contact Sport (National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.)

6 Overarching Question What makes a city truly sustainable? How do we design a truly sustainable city?

7 Yet... Over last 50 years we have seen many examples of green or eco-design -BedZed (London, England) -Dockside Green (Victoria, B.C.) -Frieburg, Germany -Hammarby Sjöstad (Stockholm, Sweden) -Curitiba, Brazil -Copenhagen, Denmark -Singapore -Masdar (Abu Dhabi, UAE) Why, then, do we continue to question the feasibility of eco-developments & don’t we observe projects scaling up?

8 Why? Economic viability – incompatibility with principles of sustainability Scale – neighborhood vs. city vs. region Metrics - not single parameter Is sustainability still possible? - Lack of definition – can mean almost anything - Less bad - Not an end state; dynamic, process (flows & networks) - Human systems (institutions, behavior, acceptance, etc.); not technology constrained.

9 Energy Water Food Materials HEAT CO 2 Used Water Biomass Waste Solid Waste Diffuse Large Inputs & Outputs of Energy & Materials Linear Flows Today Value Added: Economic output Wealth Quality of Life

10 Energy Water Food Materials Reduced HEAT C - Neutral Zero Net Waste Water Zero Net Biomass Waste Zero Net Waste Biomass Water Food Materials Energy Future Increased Value Added: Economic output Wealth Quality of Life Diminished Inputs & Outputs of Energy & Materials Coupled & Cyclic Flows

11 Four stories Living Cities: Transforming APEC Cities into Models of Sustainability by 2030 Transforming Chicago’s Water Cycle to Closed Loop System Biorefinery – coupling energy-water-land-use systems Human Engineering vs. Nature’s Engineering

12 APEC We were asked to research: Environmental Goods and Services Eco-Cities LEED and other green certifications “conduct study on the best practices using environmental goods and services in new construction and development...particular interest in eco-city design & in LEED...”

13 Developing world --Unprecedented demographic shifts (both rates & scale) are occurring. - It is estimated that an urban area supporting a million people will be developed every 5 days for the next 40 years, effectively doubling the urban face of the planet at about 10 times the rate of previous eras. Post-industrial world is changing, too. - Some cities shrinking; others growing, but both slower rates & smaller scale Demographic Shifts

14 Living Cities: Sustainable Urban Design in the 21 st Century

15 Living City Inner workings based on ecological principles of material & energy recycling Locally tailored Distributed vs. centralized systems Resilient & adaptive All major functions linked**** Coordinated through networks of smart connections that monitor, manage, integrate & inform – central nervous system Teaming with business opportunities A sentient place, the city will not just gather information but change and react to feedback. Leo Hollis, The Future of the City, April 11, 2013.


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