The creation of equitable, connected and socially sustainable cities pass through the understanding that “Smart!” is not enough. Fostering an urban development that is really sustainable is the key. Cities are facing challenges posed by rapid and at times chaotic urbanization, rising population and limited infrastructured which calls for necessary works and interventions in various sectors to improve individuals living conditions. They must become flexible, to adapt to the mutable needs of populations; circular, to limitate waste and enable the interdependence between environmental, economic, and social plans. But most importantly, they must become “green” and take on the challenge to switch from a reliance on fossil fuels to a sustainable energy system. It is really about winning the battle for an ecological and social transition of cities. How? By fomenting a bottom-up revolution, which hinges on the awareness of citizens and communities.
Urban environments are edging closer to a point of no return. According to World Urbanization Prospects 2018, cities in emerging economies will account for the majority (70 percent) of global growth in energy use through 2030. That is why it is imperative to turn cities into climate – solvers and spur investments in low-carbon city projects. In Europe, Copenhagen is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2050. Among the many initiatives, Copenhagen will ban diesel cars and work to draw 100% of the city’s energy from renewables.
Overall, turning cities into more sustainable spaces implies concentrating and moving along three directions: optimization, by making energy use more efficient in buildings and public transport; electrification, by switching from fossil fuels to electricity; decarbonization, by easing the transition to clean, zero-carbon energy sources for producing electricity. According to World Economic Forum, among the 16 major countries included in the study, in 2017 the United Kingdom showed the fastest transition to decarbonization. Regarding renewable energies, Germany leads the way but In terms of which countries get the lowest percentage of their electricity from coal, Norway sits in the first place.
But as CO2 emissions from transport could increase by 60% by 2050 (Link international transport forum) , making decarbonization a reality, implies encouraging communities to switch to electric vehicles and decrease their carbon footprints. Indeed, electrification plays an important in the role and it spearheads the development of sharing and carbon-neutral mobility solutions. Cities must assess how changes in mobility patterns can affect CO2 emissions and consequently advocate specific measures or policies. Boosting electrification is certainly one of the many steps and GaiaGo understood it. Encouraging people to use a fleet of electric cars represents a solution aimed at reducing the number of endothermic cars on the road.