The Advent of Smart, Green Cities in Asia and Europe Shows Leadership for Copenhagen Climate Agreement

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songdo7.jpg
Songdo International Business District, South Korea

On the eve of G-20 meetings this week in the heart of the United States, the momentum of climate change leadership is ironically taking shape in Asia and Europe.

That is borne out by new announcements on smart, green city programs, as well as other major developments coming from China and South Korea leading up to December's Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

Before I get to the wired city news, some relevant signs from the tea leaves of Asian political leadership:

Both China and South Korea are home to an emerging model of cities that are being planned with combined IT infrastructure and management systems that reduce carbon and resource use in construction, waste production, water and energy use, teleworking, transportation and mobility.

South Korea, in particular, is designing its national stimulus program and economic development strategy around the convergence of sustainability planning, IT innovation and energy usage.

It's not surprising that South Korea's largest development project, Songdo International Business District, optimizes low-carbon design with ubiquitous information technology.

In China, IBM announced last week an eco-city research center, which will feature a collaboration between the global technology provider and the national government on the latest IT-based water management systems and more.

China is also designing Eco City standards through its central government's Ministry of Housing, Urban-Rural Development; it is looking to such planning and management systems that can scale up to meet 350-400 million more people that its cities will house by 2020. China is said to be looking beyond reducing carbon emissions and water use: it is taking into account other macro design factors such as as climate change adaptation, including natural disaster risk. 

The developer of Korea's Songdo, Gale International, and Cisco also announced last month an agreement with China to develop a city district in Changsha, Hunan Province.

Meanwhile, the European Union is not sitting idle when it comes to wiring its cities for sustainability. After hosting a "Green and Connected Cities" session before The European Union's Committee of Regions last year (at which I addressed delegates), Europe announced last week it is putting significant investment into wiring and enabling 30 cities for advanced IT energy efficiency capabilities.

And the United States? Beyond Boulder, Colorado, which has recently implemented the model for the nation's first Smart Grid-connected city, looks like we will be spending our days leading up to Copenhagen mired in a decades-old health care debate while the rest of world is shaping a future of innovation.   

 

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About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Warren Karlenzig published on September 21, 2009 12:14 PM.

Where are New Green Cities and How Can They Curb Asian Greenhouse Gas Emissions? was the previous entry in this blog.

David Byrne: "I Will Find a City, Find Myself a City...to Bike In" is the next entry in this blog.

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