by Helen Fitzwilliam published in The World Today
Read original on The World Today's website
City's around the world made sweeping changes to t...Show description
Posted 690 days ago
Doughnut economics, as Fitzwilliam calls it, just seems like economics to me. This is nothing new at all, just maybe seems so in the past few years with the shift of global capital and production, people act as if it's not the way economies worked for the entire history of human civilization. I do think that Thomas Rau's project in Amsterdam, where he "has been cataloguing the componensts of every public building in Amsterdam" to "reuse those parts" if demolished is a really cool one though.
Ambitious is Ada Colau's effort to "free up three-quarters of the current road space" in Barcelona. I lived in the city under Colau, who is a fantastic mayor and who reversed the frightening trends that could have made Barcelona unlivable. I have huge confidence that whatever project she and her team pursues will go well.
In Paris, accusing the mayor of being a "champagne socialist" is probably pretty true, unfortunately. This is happening in a lot of places, that combustion engines, especially those produced before a certain date, are being banned. This does mean that those without the ability to afford to purchase new cars will be discriminated against. But something must be done for curbing emissions and air pollutions in cities (and just better, calmer, safer streets). Maybe giving a tax credit to those who have these old cars but need to commute in public transit would be a step towards making it more just. It's a tricky problem, though.
The thing with Xiong'An, although it's certainly a worthy project, is the sheer fact of building a brand new city must outweight all of the "carbon neutral" things it's putting in place. It's a noble endeavor, especially as population increases, but taking an area that is almost entirely unpopulated (relative to what it will be at least) and building a brand new city simply cannot be "green." There's absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting with technologies and seeing how the city goes, but I think everybody must realize that it's simply not an environmental project whatsover, it's an infrastructural one. Again, this is completely fine, it's just weird to read about people praising the city as if it's positive for the environment. Nope, it's just a little less bad for the environment than building a city revolving around coal plants. This self-reassuring language bothers me.