Afther the lunch the EYM continued with working groups session. On green carpet the topic was "Urban development". Today we were suppose to discuss the main issues and problems of urban development in the sustainable development context and to come up with 5 key challenges that we would like to be addressed in Rio+20. So here is our draft of these key challenges:
City planning - city planning is not done with the appropriate independence of city planners, but under the influence of interest groups, technical and financial difficulties. Implementation of already existing best practices, know-how and study cases in the future planning is not ensured. Lack of holistic approach in terms of changing citizen behaviour, menatlity and attitudes. There is no transparency in environmental budgeting and expenditures.
Transportation - intensive urbanisation and daily migration leads to mobility inneficiency. Public transport coverage can’t meet the needs of the rapid dynamic of cities. Lack of eco-frinendly transportation leads to pollution and health hazards. Modern technologies (GIS, GPS) are not used enough in order to improve the mobility efficiency.
Housing, work and services - cities are occupying new space instead of re-adjusting and re-using existing ones. Jobs and services (health, education, culture, recreation ... ) are not in close proximity of residential zones. Lack of symbiotic planning cities at a smaller scale (neighbourhood), as an organic entity where all the needs of the population are at an aprochable distance, that would reduce movements and therefore general traffic issues.
Waste management, water and energy distribution - public services cannot meet the needs of growing population. Outdated network systems lead to great loss of resources. Cities become further removed from the nature than ever, although cities have never depended on nature more than now.
Green architecture - sustainable and green architecture is neither required, nor supported in the city. Current mindset of politicians, decision makers, planners and architects are not developing cities (buildings, parks, green spaces... ) with the principles of sustainability and eco-friendliness in mind. Green architecture is considered as an option, not a standard.
Even though we realize that this is not everything that needs to be done in urban development if we want our cities to be sustainable and green, but these are the challenges that we came up with at this working group and this would be a good start if they could be addressed properly.
After the working groups there was an informative workshop on Fossil Fuel Free Energy, focusing on Solar Energy and case of Photovoltaics (PV).
Some interesting points:
Theoretical potential of solar energy is 120 000 TW (received by whole planet); 1hour of sunlight would equal 14TW for a year.
Practical potential is however only ~600 TW. Generating 20TW needs about 800 000 square metres or 8% of the territory of the USA.
Which if we come to think of is not much at all.
Why are we still not using solar energy widely? Well, it's really expensive at the moment, the price of materials use is very high. However, the progress is happenning now, the next generation PVs are created. And as one of the best potentials is suggested the film technology- it will be cheaper, lighter, flexible, easy to apply and efficient to its price. It will be able to run a car for example, not even talking about such appliances as phones, laptops etc.
Well, this change will be very welcome on green carpet!
After the long, informative and productive day we continued heated discussions at the dinner table. It is however very surprising how "unsustainable" is the meal program at the event for sustainable development. During the season when everything grows and gives produce some still serve vegetables that have been frozen, poor variety of food and completely no fresh fruits or salad throughout the whole day! Shame, shame, shame..