Page 58 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2014
P. 58
Summer 2014 European Energy Innovation


How can cities act for a

sustainable future?

By Marine Faber from the Buildings Performance Institute Europe - BPIE

By 2050, more than 6 arise continuously: what to do planning dialogue, they can for
billion people will live with the urban sprawl? How to instance support mapping, spot
in cities. The urban accommodate and feed people and report potholes or broken
population now in cities? How to maintain a street lights (with innovative apps
outnumbers the rural one for the balance with nature? Cities see such as FixMyStreet or Tripzoom
first time in human history. opportunities to meet these for informed travel decisions).
challenges, becoming even This data can then be brought to
As it appears, cities are facing the more productive and efficient, the policy discussions. Besides,
same broad range of issues and becoming “smart”. Acting at if citizens are not involved, they
challenges. High dependency the city level appearing easier, will do so themselves. There are
on fossil fuels, high greenhouse mayors are seen as key players in many examples developed at
gas (GHG) emissions, pollutants the process. the community level: websites to
from cars, buildings and industry report problems, cycle lines being
creating smog, all require Developed as a marketing painted on the pavement, people
urgent action. Some questions concept by IBM in 2004, the gathering in the Let’s do it2
“smart city” is now more than movement to clean their streets…
Mercado Del Val, Valladolid ever a challenge to meet. What Social media and crowdsourcing
© BPIE exactly are “smart” cities? Are are paving the way to public
they sustainable? Digital? Well, engagement and therefore to
they are both and more. Using change.
efficiently their resources thanks
to innovative approaches, they Initiatives are being replicated
have a holistic vision combining to change the thinking that cities
smart governance and people should be designed around
with smart mobility, environment, cars. Resources are made more
economy and living (Boyd Cohen accessible: vertical farming /
model1). It seems these cities urban gardening, multimodal
have got it all: they attract more (shared) transport and digital
funding, businesses, residents participation are some examples.
and tourists.
More than half of GHG emissions
A smart city thinks and acts in cities come from buildings,
collectively, is coherent (liveable, making them a key area to work
workable and sustainable), sober on to deliver an immediate and
(in terms of energy consumption impactful change. Reconverting
and GHG emissions), digitally and refurbishing old or
connected and puts the focus on abandoned buildings, as well
humans. But technology is not just as the construction of positive
what makes a city “smart”. There or net zero energy buildings are
is more. the cornerstone of a sustainable
city. There is a need to improve
Smart cities are able to the way buildings are designed
understand their citizens and and monitored, as well as a need
communicate with them. to enable active participation in
Citizens become consumers their management through smart
and producers of everyday metering for instance.
information (through apps and
social networks). Being part of the In Europe, most cities are already
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