PLANNING FOR GREENER & SMARTER CITIES
Cities with all of their complexities are homes for diverse group of people. Among today's 7.6 billion people, it is projected that approximately 5 billion people will be living in the urban areas by year 2030. This number is accounted for about 65% of the world's population. Cities become important because there is no other way to stop urbanisation and without careful planning, the uncontrollable growth of cities can easily contribute to climate change. When we plan a city, we start from it smaller unit - the community. Community is a fundamental unit of a society. It supports economic, social, and cultural functions. In other words, communities become a sub-system in the overall city structure. The design of each sub-system must be conducive to nurture social harmony and environmental sustainability.
Philia Earth adopts many of the UN 17 SDGs and when it comes to urban planning, we in particular support SDG's goal no. 11" Sustainable Cities and Communities. Collaboration of multidisciplinary professionals, advancement of technological innovation, socio-political participation, public education, and governments' leadership are needed to enhance the urban dwellers' quality of life in developing new cities or in transforming older cities. It is critical to make cities to be inclusive, safe, resilient, smart, and sustainable. It is important to preserve the natural and cultural heritage, to improve economic vitality, and to promote a healthy and sustainable development in infrastructure. Most importantly, we need to understand that cities are complex habitat for diverse people with various cultural diversity that we must respect.
In September 2017, Philia Earth team presented a 2-year research entitled "The Role of Governments and Green Building Councils in Cities' Transformation to become Sustainable: Case Studies of Hong Kong (East) and Vancouver (West) at the 12th International Conference on Urban Regeneration and Sustainability in Seville, Spain. Through conducting this qualitative research, we learned the various players and their views in shaping the future of cities. Philia Earth's perspective on master planning a city is to build a greener and smarter one. When it comes to planning and operating cities, competent urban planners collaboration with the IT experts and community leaders. We see architecture, infra-structure (bridges, roads, transportation systems), landscaping, and urban planning as an integral man-made eco-system which interfaces in the natural environment. We are interested in interweaving the approach of sustainable and smart city in a neighbourhood scale to harmonise the built infrastructure with the natural landscape. It provides an organisational rhythm for the creation of a building/landscape with a goal to establish an integrated system between the built and the natural environment in harmony. This is Philia Earth philosophy when it comes to planning better cities: they should be greener and smarter!!!