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Sustainable City & Urban Planning Experiences. Mee Kam Ng Centre of Urban Planning & Environmental Management The University of Hong Kong. Evolution of the Understandings of Sustainable Development. Meanings of Sustainable Development. 1962, Rachel Carson: Silent Spring

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Sustainable city urban planning experiences l.jpg

Sustainable City & Urban Planning Experiences

Mee Kam Ng

Centre of Urban Planning & Environmental Management

The University of Hong Kong


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Evolution of the Understandings of Sustainable Development


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Meanings of Sustainable Development

  • 1962, Rachel Carson: Silent Spring

  • 1972, United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Barbara Ward: Only One Earth

  • 1983, the World Commission on Environment and Development was established

  • 1987: Our Common Future

    “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987, p.8).


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Meanings of Sustainable Development

  • 1992: United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the First Earth Summit

  • Rio Declaration on Environment and Development & Agenda 21

  • 1992: the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development was established

  • 1996: Habitat Agenda

  • 2000: United Nations Millennium Development Goals

  • 2002: Second Earth Summit in Johannesburg—Johannesburg Declaration & Action 21



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Why SD ?

  • The world’spopulation is now at 6 billion, and estimated to grow to 8 billion in the next 20 years.

  • While most countries’ economies have grown economically in the last 20 years, some have declined.

  • In the developing world, one in every five persons lives in extreme poverty and many associated social problems result: disease, disintegration of family, crime and use of drugs.

  • 800 million people in the world are still malnourished due to poor distribution in more remote areas.

  • Diseases such as AIDS and malaria have greatly affected populations


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Why SD ?

  • Since 1971, global energy use has increased by 70% and is expected to rise 2% per year in the next 15 years. This will increase greenhouse gases by 50% over current levels.

  • The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased enormously since 1950, with the global climate changing drastically.

  • Increased atmospheric nitrogen from fossil fuel combustion and farming of root crops, which release nitrogen, has intensified the occurrence in of acid rain

  • Natural resources (e.g. soils, forests, fish aquatic habitats) continue to decrease in quantity due to fires, pollution and human influences.

  • Loss of biological diversity has resulted from human activities such as deforestation and , pollution. 40% of our global economy is dependent on biologically derived products.

  • Water, soil and air have been strained due to high pollution levels.


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Why SD? We are in a Risk Society!

  • The aging of industrial modernity & the emergence of a risk society

  • Risk society arises through “the ... modernization processes which are blind & deaf to consequences & dangers.”

  • “Reflexive modernization”: self-confrontation with the consequences of risk society which cannot be addressed & overcome in the system of industrial society (Ulrich Beck)


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Why SD? We are in a Risk Society!

  • Risk society: hazards produced by society undermine and/or cancel the established safety systems of the state’s existing risk calculations.

  • Nuclear, chemical, ecological & genetic engineering risks: no time/place limit, not accountable, compensated or insured (Ulrich Beck).

  • Risk Society: recognition of the incalculability of the hazards produced by technical-industrial development

  • Compels self-reflection on the foundation of the social context & review of prevailing conventions & principles of “rationality”

  • Risk society becomes self-reflexive: it becomes an issue & a problem to itself (Ulrich Beck)


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Why SD? We are in a Risk Society

  • Answer: to let “politics & morality” gain priority over “shifting & inherently uncertain science”--a radical (second) modernity & a new ecological democracy (Ulrich Beck)  a need to build a sustainable community



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Meanings of SD

Future impacts

People

People

Resources:

renewable & non-rew

Information & capital

City Region

Goods & services

Energy & water

Wastes & pollution

Goods and services

Resource depletion

Carrying Capacity

Source: Ravetz, Joe (2000), City Region 2020, London: Earthscan


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Human &

Social Capital

Health impacts vs. Human impacts

Income & employment vs. Labour & consumption

Resources & assimilation of pollution vs. Pollution & its abatement

Environ-mental

Capital

Economic Capital

Some Interactions Between Economic, Social and Environmental Capital

Meanings of SD:Economic, Social & Environmental Capital


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ENVIRONMENT

  • Environmental Capital:

  • Air

  • Water

  • Noise

  • Minerals

  • Forests,

  • Land,

  • Species of

    Flora &

    Fauna

  • Soil, etc.

SOCIETY

Human, Social & Cultural Capital

  • Education

  • Health

  • Housing

  • Social Network

  • Community Spirit

  • Social Equity

  • Arts and Culture

  • Sports & recreation

  • Entertainment & media,

    etc.

ECONOMY

  • Economic Capital

  • Built environment

  • Machinery

  • Vehicles

  • Investment, etc.

(Modified from Giddings et. al, 2002, p.192)

Meanings of SD:Nested Sustainable Development


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Meanings of Sustainable Development

  • Basic Principles:

    • an ethical utilization of natural resources

    • an intra- and inter-generational equity

  • Derived Sustainable Development Principles


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Sustain. Development Principles

Basic Principles

Ethical utilization of natural resources

Intra- and inter-generational equity

Economic Capital

Long-term economic prosperity

Restorative economy

Reforming market economy

Ecological modernization

Human and Social Capital

Diversities in human resources

Cultural diversities

Satisfying basic needs

Equity in governance

Social cohesion

Equal opportunities

Environmental (Physical & Built) Capital

Geographical equity

Living within nature’s carrying capacity

Enhancing biodiversity

Replace/ Recycle/ Reuse

Policy Tools

Government

Long term strategic views & integrated policy making

Law & legislation

Financing mechanisms

Government vis-à-vis Market

Ecological modernization

Green consumerism

Targeted inward investment

Promotion of environmental business

Encourage competition

Information dissemination

Government vis-à-vis Community

A learning culture

Three-way (government, private sector, community) partnership

Community based initiatives

Social/cultural/attitudinal changes

Urban Context

Economic Capital

Economy

Urban fiscal base

Economic spaces

Infrastructure

Built environment

Human and Social Capital

Education

Health

Sports and Leisure

Safety

Community

Political System

Governance

Environmental (Physical & Built) Capital

Food

Air

Water

Noise

Architecture

Cultural Heritage

Meanings of SD: principles & policies









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Why Citizen Participation?

  • Plans have a greater chance of being implemented when citizens play a meaningful role in shaping them.

  • They know better what they want!

  • Stakeholders must feel ownership of the plan.

  • Identifying common values in divergent interests

  • Building consensus


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Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation


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The ‘Wheel’ of Empowerment


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Citizen attitude surveys

Use of mediator or facilitator

Citizen training

Telephone hotlines

Interactive cable TV

Open door policy

Visioning sessions

Task forces

Public hearings

Guided tours

Workshops/ charettes

Visual preference testing

Game simulation

Citizen advisory board

Media & public information campaigns

Community planning centres

Involving youths & kids

Techniques


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Characteristics of SD

  • Vitality & Variety

  • activity nodes

  • street activities

  • land uses

  • texture (relationship of buildings and space)

  • grain of street pattern

  • visual quality

  • relation of buildings to street

  • “Greening the city”

  • colour

  • shade

  • softening

  • air pollution absorption

  • micro-climate

  • aesthetics

  • ambience

Traffic and transport

public access to non-polluting transport

connectivity of public transport modes and routes

pedestrian accessibility

pedestrian permeability

pedestrian experience

Form of new development

Sympathetic to topography

Compatible with the desired character of the area

Public space

appropriateness of location

opportunities for ‘conferred life’

quality

connectivity

appropriateness of purpose


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Characteristics of SD

Existing buildings

Physical condition

safety

appearance

special individual quality (historic, architectural, or cultural merit)

special group quality (contribution to streetscape, townscape)

Use

Compatibility with area

Compatibility with immediate adjacent uses

Contribution to needs of area

Contribution to character of area

Re-use potential

rehabilitation

conservation

recycling to other uses

New Building

scale

layout

form

appearance

use

materials




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How to Develop HK into a Sustainable City ?

  • Vitality & Variety

  • activity nodes

  • street activities

  • land uses

  • texture (relationship of buildings and space)

  • grain of street pattern

  • visual quality

  • relation of buildings to street

  • “Greening the city”

  • colour

  • shade

  • softening

  • air pollution absorption

  • micro-climate

  • aesthetics

  • ambience

Traffic and transport

public access to non-polluting transport

connectivity of public transport modes and routes

pedestrian accessibility

pedestrian permeability

pedestrian experience

Form of new development

Sympathetic to topography

Compatible with the desired character of the area

Public space

appropriateness of location

opportunities for ‘conferred life’

quality

connectivity

appropriateness of purpose


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How to develop HK into a sustainable city?

Existing buildings

Physical condition

safety

appearance

special individual quality (historic, architectural, or cultural merit)

special group quality (contribution to streetscape, townscape)

Use

Compatibility with area

Compatibility with immediate adjacent uses

Contribution to needs of area

Contribution to character of area

Re-use potential

rehabilitation

conservation

recycling to other uses

New Building

scale

layout

form

appearance

use

materials


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What are the Costs of DevelopingHong Kong into a Sustainable City?


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“Costs” of SD in Hong Kong

  • Whose costs?

  • Fiscal costs? Hidden costs? Long term costs? Short-term costs? Monetary costs? Social costs? Political costs? Economic costs?

  • Three major stakeholders in SD: the government, the private sector, the general public

  • At different geographical scales: local, city-level, regional, national, global…

  • Costs and benefits are relative… “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”—the cost of cleaning up may be too high for a factory but the unaccounted costs as a result of pollution could be a lot higher…


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“Costs” of SD in Hong Kong: some examples

  • Utilizing the environmental resources in an ecologically ethical way may mean:

    Economic capital:

    • Controlled growth

    • Fewer development projects

    • Fewer jobs? However, maybe engaged in other productive activities

    • A less materialistic and consumption-oriented society… (lowered living standards? Yet what is quality living standard?)

    • Exit from the ‘world class’ city league?

      Social capital:

    • Less convenience

    • Families having more time together

    • A lot of needs are satisfied through social networks rather than markets—’moral economy’

    • More spiritual rather than materialistic endeavours

      Environmental capital:

    • Less pollution

    • Sustainable resources for future generations

    • Fresh water, air etc.


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“Costs” of SD in Hong Kong: some examples

  • Recycling industries

    Economic capital

    • Government subsidies?

    • Self-sustaining? Capital costs, operating costs…

    • Providing jobs (low paying though)

    • Pushing ecological modernization: from design to disposal

      Social capital

    • Nurturing social capital—labour intensive and educational process

    • Community drive & social capital accumulation

      Environmental capital

    • Minimizing ‘wastes’ (resources), turning ‘wastes’ into useful inputs to industries, etc.


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“Costs” of SD in Hong Kong: some examples

  • Diversity in human resources, culture, urban environment

    Economic capital

    • Needs investment in nurturing human capital

    • More resources into designing and providing spaces for all sorts of activities

    • Cannot do things by fiscal calculations alone

    • However, “cultural turn of capitalism”—global tourism, cultural tourism etc.

      Social capital

    • More vibrant and convivial society

    • Happier individuals recognizing their unique potentials?

      Environmental capital

    • Better quality of the built environment

    • Expression of “tastes” in urban landscape…


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“Costs” of SD in Hong Kong: some examples

  • Sustainable planning process

    Economic capital

    • Needs money and human resources in organizing events for public participation

    • Time consuming and may delay implementation

      Social capital

    • Building trust among stakeholders

    • Gelling different groups together and allow mutual education: learning by doing and learning how to reach consensus

      Environmental capital

    • Allowing “politics and morality” to take over uncertain science — the case of Harbour reclamation



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Conclusion

  • Sustainable development requires everyone’s efforts and creativity

  • SD is not just a concept to be learnt. SD is a way of life, a commitment to social justice among fellow human beings and a respect for mother nature.

  • SD perspective carries a long term view and requires us to seek comprehensive assessments of social, economic and environmental costs of our actions, be it government policies, programmes and projects; the private sector’s production activities; or the community’s individual and collective choices in their everyday life.


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