Under the banner of “New Outlooks for Sustainable Cities: new breeding grounds for innovation”, the 3rd GreenCity conference took place on November 18th and 19th in Marne-la-Vallée, Paris. The aim was to bring together corporate, government and scientific stakeholders to meet and discuss the identification of urban innovations and successful models that will accelerate the transformation towards sustainable cities.
To represent Eurbanlab and World Cities Network, Roger Toussaint and Brian Kilkelly attended the event and provided an overview of the context in which Eurbanlab operates, as well as its related services and outcomes. In a workshop on “International approaches to urban transformation”, Brian introduced the Eurbanlab initiative and its main goals. To provide an example of an Eurbanlab assessment and one of the most celebrated model districts for sustainable urban transformation, Roger presented on the lessons learnt from ‘Quartier Vauban’. The audience raised interesting questions regarding the indicators used, how to deal with qualitative information and requests to share other experiences.
The event was well attended by a wide variety of private- and public sector stakeholders in sustainable urban development. Although the event was mainly French oriented, some other speakers provided the audience with international experience. Most interestingly was a presentation on Masdar City, a large-scale arcology project in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi and the region itself are known for its large ecological footprint, caused by the extravagant use of energy. Admittedly, a brown desert is not the easiest place to construct a green city, but the Masdar City initiative forces the market and industry to rethink construction methods. A combination of traditional Arab building styles and innovative technologies reduce temperatures at the street level and energy use of buildings. Masdar City is yet another example of the complexity in managing big cities, the need for leadership, and the benefits of sharing and learning from international experience.
By Roger Toussaint
Eurbanlab / Javelin Creative Solutions