Eco City & Trend
Written by Cho Yong-seong, Korea Energy Economics Institute President, Professor of Food and Resource Economics, Korea University
Cities are now suffering from the side effects of fast growth in just a short time. Let’s take a look at cities that have found solutions to such problems through ‘eco-friendly’ approaches.
Cities take up only 2% of the world’s total area; however, they also consume a whopping 60% of the entire world’s energy usage. As such, cities account for 70% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 70% of the world’s trash. Under such circumstances, cities are faced with various problems in terms of housing, transportation, energy, the environment, and climate. In order to solve these problems, the world is transforming itself through cities where the environment and people manage to co-exist. It is expected that this movement will spread throughout the world in the era of climate change.
Exemplary Case of an Eco-friendly City | Eco Viikki, Finland
This sustainable eco-friendly residential complex represents a first for Finland. In order to obtain approval for construction, various standards needed to be met, such as for CO2 and trash output, water consumption, and noise level. To prevent the winter-time thermal energy from lowering, a tree belt was established in windier spots and individual heating systems using solar power were also introduced. As a result, the CO2 emissions for Eco Viikki are 40% less than those of other complexes, while the water usage and trash produced only reach a third of others’ levels.
A Future-oriented Eco-friendly City | Masdar City, UAE
In order to enter Masdar, people should park their car outside and use the personal orbit vehicle of ‘Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).’ The buildings of this city are designed to save energy and water — at 40% of the average. The wind-power tower in the center of the city keeps the hot wind inside and cools the breeze by spraying out water. The tower then circulates the air so that the urban area can be supplied with a cool breeze. Meanwhile, the photovoltaic power plant in the nearby desert provides power for the city, as Masdar utilizes the infinite energy resources from the desert, such as the sun and wind, conscious that oil resources will someday be depleted.
A City that Successfully Transformed Itself | Curitiba, Brazil
As a place that has transformed itself from a city with a high crime rate and severe environmental pollution into the world’s best eco-friendly city, Curitiba now holds the biggest factor for success: “enhancement of efficiency in public transportation.” The city constructed central bus-only lanes, introduced the Bus Rapid Transit system, and unveiled the double bendy bus that can transport up to 250 passengers, to name just a few of its innovative policies. The bike road network along ‘Rua das Flores’ is yet another example of this city’s uniqueness.