Monday, August 15, 2011

Green city initiatives: some British examples

Bicycle hire station, London

Rows of bicycles for hire at a cheap rate, a brain-child of the Mayor of London himself

One of the many electric vehicle charging stations dotted around London

A car belonging to the City Car Club. The club has over 500 low-emission vehicles for people to hire. Car clubs help to reduce car ownership and encourage a transport mix mor ein line with being a sustainable city. This car is a Toyota Prius, a full hybrid electric vehicle

The London Olympic 2012 stadium under construction. The London Olympic aims to be the first Olympic ever to achieve 100% travel by public transport, cycling and by foot. That's 100%!

BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development). A zero-energy, environmentally friendly residential development in Hackbridge, Sutton near London. The houses have been designed to use minimum energy for heating and cooling through proper insulation and orientation of the buldings. Only energy from renewable sources generated on site is used. The buildings are also water efficient and constructed using low-impact materials. i.e. they are renewable or recycled materials from within 35 milesof the site, thus minimizing the energy required for their transportation

Walkable city. The new town of Poundbury in Dorchester has been planned based on traditional high-density urban pattern designed to create an integrated community of shops and housing. They are designed and built around the people rather than the car. The world famous architect and urban planner, Leon Krier, prepared the overall concept for Poundbury's master plan

This is an advertisement on the glass window of a restaurant. Instead of displaying the the prices of dishes on offer at the restaurant, it actually shows the amount of carbon emission that one could save (reduce) when one consume each type of dish
Small things matter. Even the carton which holds my breakfast egg & mayonnaise sandwhich was manufactured in an environmentally-friendly manner: recycled plastics, recycled paper etc.

The Malaysian Government has announced that Putrajaya - together with Cyberjaya, will be Malaysia's pioneer green city. That announcement was made way back in 2009, during his 2010 Budget Speech.

Not many people understood what that announcement really entails. But almost two years later, the two pioneering cities have managed to make some stride towards becoming Malaysia's true "green cities".

True, a lot still needs to be done. There was a lot of mis-conception. But at least now many understand that being a green city is not about landscaping as in planting more trees.

Green cities, in short, equates low-carbon cities. These are cities with conscious and concerted efforts and programs to reduce carbon emission.

Why the need to reduce carbon emission? It is because the release of carbon into the atmosphere will result in the phenomenon aptly called the "green-house effect" which would lead to global warming. And we all know what global warming means, don't we? Climate changes resulting in  sea level rise and dozens of natural disasters such as flooding, land slides, extreme drought and so on.

So how do we become a low-carbon society? There are numerous ways and means which will contribute to reducing carbon emission. Carbon reduction strategies would cover wide-ranging actions in sectors such as energy, transport, buildings, housing, waste management, and urban planning itself. More specifically, they would include activities like reducing the usage of fossil fuels (petrol, coal), increase utilization of public transportation, reduce long commuting, the use of renewable energy and so on.

Admittedly, we are still new in this. But in more modern societies, low-carbon development and environmentally-friendly life-style is already the way of life. From the housewife who does her waste seperation, right to the taxi driver who would chatter away on how his city is turning green, eveyone understands it and will do their bit to make it a success.

The pics above show some relevant British examples photographed during my trip to the UK last December.



kotastar said...

WOW very INTERESTING and thought provoking. Thanks for the update. I hope to see you at Putrajaya and maybe you can tell us more of what's happening in England esp regarding this environmental planning. You should also make yr way to schools and institutions to talk about this current development. Car ownership, bicycle parking bay, electric charging etc semuanya baru tu. That's why I always say we have to travel and SEE otherwise it will take ages for such developmentto reach us even in this electronic age. I like the advertisement in the restaurant. Kita? masih ikut lama - yang enak dan sedap dan harganya saja.

Selamat Menyambut Ramadan, Bila hendak sampai di Titi Gajah? Come over during this Raya break. Salam

Sri Mersing said...

Salam. Rindu nak lihat green city di Malaysia. Anyway, Kampung Kepayang dah kurang green berbanding dulu. Humm...

Anonymous said...

Salam. Hopefully our township can achive it in future. NKJ.