Citizen Involvement in Green Developments

Not only do eco-cities have to be green and environmentally sustainable, they also need to be socially inclusive, consider residents’ wellbeing and affordable.

This is the call from experts at the International Green Building Convention.

These environmentally sustainable cities are being built across the world including Serenbe in the US, Eco-City and Binhai New Area both in China, Vauban in Germany and the African Eco-City in Zimbabwe among countless others

Dr Thomas Schroepfer spoke about five eco-cities in Europe and said one, Vauban in Germany, gave residents the chance to design their homes and a say in what their city would look like.

He said car-owning citizens agreed to buy a carpark in one of two parking lots on the edge of the development, then walk to their apartments.

The cities, therefore, became playgrounds and areas where people could socialise, which improved people’s health because they were moving more and, thus, reducing their chance of heart disease and stroke.

Dr Schroepfer said that involving people in the design of their cities could also mean they would be more afford because citizens were directly involved in all aspects of planning and design.

“Future eco-cities need to create a more positive correlation between affordability and innovation,” he said.

“If we don’t find a different way to approach such projects, they might remain in the realm of high-end housing, and that is certainly not the role of sustainable development.”