TRANSITIONS TO NET ZERO URBAN FUTURE
Join us to help create a net zero future where cities are major contributors and innovators.
1. Roadmap to building more sustainable infrastructure
Following on from workshops held in November 2021, at the United Nations organised Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 in Glasgow, the Institute has formed a partnership with insurance group AIG, and Aberdeen-based Wood to to create a roadmap around building more sustainable infrastructure and driving down carbon emissions
Working together, the partnership will deliver insurance solutions, risk management expertise, and financial services to insure and fund resilient infrastructure and transformative renewable energy projects (AIG), help design and construct the new and improved infrastructure required to unlock economic growth and protect critical resources (Wood) and create balanced strategies that understand the complexities and differences of cities, including their systems, challenges, and futures (IFC).
Along with the initial involvement of COP26 host Glasgow, Milan and Pittsburgh, the partnership has recently welcomed Singapore and Lilongwe to develop strategies for improved sustainability and resilience.
2. The city centre and net zero
Challenge: the distinctive socio-economic, cultural and political setting of the city centre raises significant challenges in the transition of society to a net zero future. The variegated agglomeration of, and inter-connections between, different land uses and functions, the multiple organisations owning and managing spaces, and the diverse governance structures involved in place making and development provide additional complexity. The fragility of the economic base of the city centre – exposed to changing societal trends in retail, working, and leisure – risks being aggravated and reinforced by the introduction of low carbon planning initiatives, including 15 minute neighbourhoods reducing a need for agglomeration and centralisation, and a push to low carbon forms of mobility and travel that challenge the current city centre relationship with its hinterland. Yet city centres are dominant nexuses of social and economic carbon emitting activities and systems, and ambitious, transformative action in these spaces is needed for national net zero targets to be delivered. The key challenge is achieving that transition in ways that recognise and deliver positive impacts, ensuring the city centre remains the ‘beating heart’ of the urban system whilst also contributing to a more economically equitable, socially just, and environmentally sustainable society.
New cutting edge research and knowledge is needed to accelerate action towards net zero goals, augmenting knowledge of deployment of net zero technology. Such impactful research needs to demonstrate how the desired regeneration, transformation and resetting of city centres as low carbon spaces is achievable, for the benefit of business, industry and communities.