From urban reforestation to mapping heat islands, discover innovations making cities greener
Monday 31st October was not just Halloween, it was also World Cities Day. This UN-designated day raises awareness about the challenges of urbanisation and the need for sustainable urban development.
The global observance is held in a different city each year, and, in 2022, Shanghai was the host city. This year’s theme was ‘act local to go global’, which draws attention to the need for local action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
To celebrate World Cities Day, we have delved into our innovation library to highlight five of the best solutions making cities more sustainable.
Having experienced life in a bike seat as a bicycle messenger in Vienna, the founder of GLEAM e-bikes put his on-the-road experience into creating a multi-use vehicle that easily handles the complexities of urban cycling. To create something that can easily compete with the carrying capacity of a car, yet with the freedom that biking provides, GLEAM uses a three-wheeled base to carry a multitude of types of cargo. Read more
Today, most of the world’s large metropolitan cities are facing multiple climate change-related issues. Czech company ECOTEN Urban Comfort is using a data-driven approach to help cities adjust by designing greener, cooler, healthier cities. The environmental engineering company is a spinoff of green building consultancy ECOTEN (Smart Energy Solutions). It provides tailored services and works to help urban developers build more resilient cities in a number of ways. Read more
Moss is a highly efficient, natural air filter, attracting tiny dust particles to its fine, dense leaves. The plant biodegrades, stores, and eats airborne particles such as soot, ammonium salts, carbon dioxide, and pollen, all of which are harmful to human health. Moss also absorbs warm air, producing a local cooling effect as heat evaporates. Greencity Solutions tested 16,000 species of moss to find the most effective ones for use in moss wall biofilters. Living walls are becoming more common architectural features, and with the new moss version, cities have an improved ability to bring the fresh smell and clean air of a forest to crowded, busy locations. Read more
Unlit, unused, dirty, and often unsafe locations are almost always easy to find in a city. Imagine, instead, how much beauty could be brought into the world if those underutilised spaces were multi-use community hubs. Mumbai architects StudioPOD, along with Dutch designers MVRDV, turned that idea into reality with the One Green Mile development directly below the Senapati Bapat Marg flyover in Mumbai. Read more
Cities that replace natural land with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other hard surfaces absorb and retain heat. This, in turn, increases energy costs, air pollution levels, and the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths. In a bid to cool our cities, French startup Urban Canopee has come up with an innovative solution – deploying plant canopies at key locations in urban areas. These canopies combat heat, restore urban biodiversity, fight air pollution, and improve the quality of life for citizens. Their deployment is especially valuable as the world faces more frequent extreme heat as a result of climate change. Read more
Curated by: Matthew Hempstead
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2nd November 2022