Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Are megacities sustainilizable?

Re Green Jean (Gabriella)’s query: What do these eco-theorists think we should do about the megacities? Is there any hope for New York City to become more sustainable or is it too late, has it been completely lost?

Great Question!
Some of the bigger cities are in the forefront of the Green City movement (see below), partly because they can generate the capital to support major infrastructure and restoration experiments. They also also have large devastated areas where major restoration experiments are feasible. Most of them have embraced bold mass transit/car use reduction strategies (efficient mass transit, car use disincentives, express buses in dedicated lanes, etc.) as well as land use & greening strategies (comprehensive regional planning, urban growth boundaries, transit villages, urban farms, green industry, green building incentives, etc.) Key systemic infrastructure changes needed for deeper sustainability, such as those Register is talking about, will take many years in these places, just as is true in small to medium cities.
In the US: San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, Portland are leaders, all located in a progressive coastal cultural region that provides grass roots support. Chicago and New York, are also leaders, with bold visionary leaders.
In Canada, the leaders are: Vancouver, Quebec City, & Toronto,
In Europe: Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, among others
In South America: Curitiba and Bogota have bold, visionary leaders. Sao Paolo is large & innovative.

Others’ comments?