A city is defined as "sustainable" when it guarantees its citizens the right to mobility, the integration of various technologies, personal connectivity and spaces dedicated to urban greenery.
The sustainable city can no longer remain just a utopian idea but must absolutely transform itself into a concrete reality.
An excellent example can be given by Michael Bloomberg (US businessman and politician, former mayor of New York for 13 years, now UN special envoy): when he had to define the city of the future, he emphasized "new models of construction, transport, land use and energy production and consumption”.
According to Bloomberg, cities around the world could reduce CO2 emissions by over one billion tons per year by 2030, as long as they become "smart": a model of sustainable city that becomes a laboratory for change.
The solutions made available to administrators to transform urban centers into sustainable cities are truly many and range from the application of the latest technologies to encouraging changes in the habits of those who live there.
There are many good ideas but if we want a city to be sustainable, some cannot be missing.
Wi-Fi throughout the territory
Checking emails, reading the online newspaper, checking bus timetables becomes much easier if there is a public wi-fi area. The network represents the gateway to a series of essential services, information and "social" sharing between citizens, institutions and companies. Without access to the network, there can be no integration or connectivity.
Coworking are "shared premises" made available to self-employed workers, equipped with all that is needed on a professional level. Some coworkers are also focusing on new technologies such as 3D printers or the use of open source software / hardware such as Arduino. It is the perfect solution for freelancers, freelancers, self-employed and startuppers who cannot afford the costs of an office. But it is also a place for meeting, sharing, exchange and new opportunities.
Green roofs and urban gardens
Another determining factor for the sustainability of our area is certainly encouraging green spaces in cities, both to absorb the CO2 produced by daily human activity, and to beautify our metropolises, with a consequent improvement in livability. Not only do the roofs covered with greenery help to reduce the heat in summer and improve the insulation of buildings in winter, but the vegetable gardens in the city become a real anti-stress aid, which in addition to strengthening the relationship between man and nature, also save some money compared to those who have to buy everything by shopping.
The ability to work from home and via the web is a way to reduce traffic and car pollution, where this is possible. But teleworking also means managing work in various places rather than from the usual office desk: an additional opportunity that favors new organizational methods and personnel management by companies.
Digital documents in the public administration
To avoid wasting paper consumption, in the third millennium, paper documents should be replaced, where possible, with electronic files to be downloaded and saved on a smartphone.
Promote "social" interaction between citizens and institutions
An app and a smartphone are enough to do practically everything. But what if these tools were used systematically to improve decorum and respect for the rules in cities? Perhaps urban sustainability, at that point, would become "viral". Social networks, in particular, should become the virtual place for meeting and confrontation between citizens and PA, but also groups of people, associations and law enforcement agencies. It is not enough to "be" on the platforms, but to move from presence to dialogue: an indispensable step to promote an active and participatory citizenship in the protection of common goods.
Virtuous examples of green cities
Although all the major urban centers in the world are proposing green projects, there are some that have truly obtained a well-deserved reputation as a sustainable city, simply by managing to offer their citizens viable alternatives to traditional methods, which typically involve high consumption and emissions. Among these stand out:
Copenhagen - An excellent example of a sustainable city that has pursued the goal of becoming the first carbon-neutral capital in the world since 2009.
Singapore - One of the environmental sustainability objectives that it aims to achieve by 2030 is that of a city with an energy efficiency of 35% and with green certifications for 80% of its buildings. Vancouver: which has implemented specific ecological policies, including the increase of 'green jobs', the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the spread of 'green buildings' throughout the city.
Stockholm - Awarded as "European Green Capital" in 2010, Stockholm aims to free itself from fossil fuels by 2050, moving from oil to district heating San Francisco: a technology hub that is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world. Technological innovations have found their main field of application in construction and sustainable mobility.
Amsterdam - In Amsterdam we can praise the parks that act as a real lung for the city, or the massive use of renewable energy, and either way we could do it with good reason. Amsterdam is in the collective imagination the homeland of bicycles and in general one of those cities that enjoy highly sustainable mobility.
Reykjavik - Reykjavik has announced that it plans to cancel its greenhouse gas emissions to become totally carbon neutral by 2040. In Europe, the capital of Iceland is already a model of an eco-sustainable city. Today most of the country's energy is already produced from renewable sources, because Reykjavik has taken the zero emissions target seriously by 2030. In addition, the capital of Iceland has joined two innovative projects: the first is CarbFix, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases by turning them into rock, the second is the implementation of electric charging stations for cruise ships in the port.
Tallinn - Tallinn has been awarded the title of European Green Capital 2023. The capital of Estonia is thus awarded a cash prize of 600 thousand euros with which further green projects can be financed. In fact, the Estonian capital is pursuing on the one hand the Tallinn 2035 strategy for a hoped-for green transition and on the other the plan to become climate neutral by 2050. The city is therefore starting a wave of renovations of buildings that will have to use renewable sources.