Some of the most exciting projects she has worked with are ones that involve developing the everyday city.
30 visions for cities
Hanna is very passionate about developing new strategies for inclusive urban mobility on both land and water in sustainable city regions. Currently, Hanna is focusing on the correlation between walkability and public spaces in the urban and social fabric. She is very excited about working on the co-creation project NordicPlacemaking, which aims to develop a placemaking toolbox for Nordic cities, all day, all year. He is also currently focusing on urban democracy and citizen engagement in international projects using Desire Lines and pop-up urban spaces to highlight the importance of urban change.
The new, larger Asker municipality will "go live" January 1st, Prior to that, he was city councillor for Environment and Transportation in Oslo and headed the City Development Committee. He has since chaired the parliamentary Committee on Energy and Environment. Having broad experience from the public and private sector, including the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, she has led a municipality experiencing complicated challenges in the fields of transportation and urban development.
Hear her views on the transition into a low-carbon society in Norway. September Dagny Thurmann-Moe. August However, they were still relatively small, limited to neighbourhood and district scales.
Visions of Sustainability: Cities and Regions
Indeed, such projects can be seen as reflecting an economically driven approach to urban development as much as one focused on environmental sustainability. There is substantial discussion within more critical intellectual traditions about the inherent contradictions between environmental preservation and the capitalist system Czech and Daly ; Jackson ; White While they may be sincerely committed to sustainability, economic growth and cost minimization are the prevailing concerns of Chinese authorities de Jong et al.
Masdar City, for instance, is just one small part of a broader initiative to make Abu Dhabi a leader in the development of renewable energy technology Nader Recent case study research has demonstrated that the Masdar City project is intrinsically linked to and driven by this broader economic objective Caprotti and Romanowicz ; Cugurullo However, capitalizing on this asset in order to promote growth may in time lead to its decay or destruction Chang and Sheppard International institutions can also play a role.
In seeking to market their services by promoting their expertise in sustainable urban development, international actors create narratives about the universality of particular approaches to achieving sustainable urbanism Hult Such ambitious claims can be helpful in attracting interest in a project as well as in investment and political support. However, the presumption that the approach taken in a particular project can be universally applicable is contested. Projects like Dongtan and Tianjin can be seen as demonstration projects, raising the level of environmental consciousness in China Wong Saunders , drawing on his research on a number of ecological communities in Northern Europe, recommends that experimental projects should be used to induce a gradual change of opinion.
The advantage of having a demonstration project is that The general public understands models, especially working ones, better than concepts. As well, a built example is influential because lessons from experimentation can be employed and improved for future projects, thus contributing to the evolution of good design Saunders , p.
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However, it is difficult to predict whether experiments conducted in small, controlled environments can be scaled up to a level at which they may generate widespread change Evans and Karvonen ; Keeton They are the product of a particular set of conditions, in Masdar's case, nearly unlimited oil wealth and a national economic development programme. Such projects risk becoming model towns, exhibits rather than real places Keeton Utopian models of urban planning have always had a poor track record in terms of actual implementation.
This situation creates something of a paradox for ambitious projects whose visions of a sustainable urban future cannot be made into reality without the financial backing of more entrepreneurially minded parties. Masdar also had to scale back some of its original ambitious environmental objectives as a result of the financial crisis Cugurullo The flexible nature of the concept is important, as this helps make these experimental projects happen.
But it is precisely these complexities that we need to understand if the experience of existing projects is to be usefully applied elsewhere. To paraphrase a comment Roelofs made over a decade ago, we need less sets of principles derived from experience, and more descriptions of those experiences Roelofs They offer a valuable opportunity to test ideas for improving the sustainability of urban living at a time when this is one of the most critical challenges facing humankind.
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The research underpinning this article was conducted while in receipt of an engineering doctorate studentship in the Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience at University College London, funded by the UK Environmental and Physical Sciences Research Council and Happold Consulting. I am grateful for their contributions to the development of the ideas presented in this paper.
I am also indebted to two anonymous peer reviewers whose comments helped me clarify and focus my arguments. Any mistakes or omissions are, of course, my own.
Her research interests include urban sustainability, the international exchange of ideas in urban planning and design and the role of private sector consultants in contemporary urban planning. Her doctoral research focuses on the role of international consultants in the development and dissemination of ideas about sustainable urban planning and design.
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