ARTICLE BY: DIOGO FREIRE DE ANDRADE | GUEST ARCHITECT 14ºC
In 2015 the UN defined the 2030 AGENDA consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This AGENDA reflects several aspects for sustainable development at social, economic and environmental levels. I would like to develop one of the Goals, the one in which architects can and should participate in order to offer more to Society, the 11th. Sustainable Cities and Communities. The goals up to 2030, 9 years from now, of objective nº 11 are very demanding:
Guarantee access to housing for all; Provide safe and sustainable transport system; Increase inclusive and sustainable urbanization; Significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected by disasters; Reduce negative environmental impact, in particular attention to air quality and municipal waste management; Support least developed countries, including through technical and financial assistance, for sustainable and resilient construction using local materials.
Cities occupy only 3% of the Earth's territory but consume approximately 80% of energy and account for about 75% of waste and carbon emissions. It is estimated that by 2050 almost 85% of Europeans will live in urban areas. In fact, the European and world population basically grows in cities, which is why it is so important to ensure green and sustainable cities.
According to the Jornal de Notícias to Miguel Eiras Antunes, president of the Welfare and Sustainable Cities jury, the future involves a green and circular economy, a sustainable city must be a smart city. It must have collaborative governance models that put the citizen at the center of policies but also benefit and take advantage of data and technology to improve people's quality of life.
He referred that Portugal emitted, in 2018, 67.4 million tons of carbon dioxide, more than 50 million tons were emitted in cities alone. In fact 65% of our population is urban. It is clear that it is in the cities that we have to focus.
To meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it will be necessary to act on the following points:
More electric cars and more charging stations, car parks on the periphery and good public transport, well thought out and executed bike paths.
Less air pollution that kills about 4 million people a year worldwide, according to the UN, 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air.
It will be urgent to deal with the waste that can be a potentiator of diseases and is a polluting element of soils and water. Circular economy is essential to fight waste, reuse and reduce is necessary.
One of the most important and impactful decisions is to transform cities into greener and more natural elements. The bet is to create large parks but also small gardens and vegetable gardens.