Urban Futures 2030



Urban Futures 2030

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Urban Development and Urban Lifestyles of the Future

Visions of how cities should be built or transformed reflect the diversity of views and perspectives on how people will and should live in cities, since planning in any form always also pursues normative goals. Architecture and urban planning reflect the designs that urban society makes of itself and the conflicts of interest related to the use of cities. Problems of the present tend to concentrate in urban centers, as do experimental solutions to those problems. The built environment, its design and its redesign are themselves becoming objects of the debate over the city of the future.

Climate change is a major problem of the present. It has become common knowledge that the world’s cities account for around 80 percent of all CO2 emissions, and that they conversely offer numerous options to mitigate emissions. Along with industrial production and transportation, buildings are among the most important sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In virtually every corner of the globe, the energy efficiency of existing buildings leaves much to be desired. In Germany, for example, 80 percent of all buildings currently exceed the primary energy consumption ceiling of 70 kWh per m2 per year stipulated in the German Energy Conservation Ordinance (ENeV) of 2007. Yet the standards of the ENeV are not particularly ambitious. If the climate-friendly conversion projects of the KfW development bank were to continue at their current pace, an additional 25 percent of Germany’s residential buildings could be brought up to current energy efficiency standards by 2030. However, private builders in Germany invest several times the total of the funding available from the KfW in residential construction projects without benefiting climate protection. Furthermore, population growth and urbanization is putting considerable pressure on many countries for new residential building – especially the newly-industrialized China and India – and ecological criteria are applied to such construction projects only in exceptional cases. The sustainable city of tomorrow faces not only ecological, but also major social challenges, and these are reasons enough to dedicate a conference and this associated compilation to urban development and urban lifestyles of the future.

This publication contains contributions from nearly all of the conference’s speakers that illuminate a variety of aspects of sustainable architecture, as well as future building and redevelopment. It is structured in three sections: Philosophy, Predictions and Positions, Projects and Policy.

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Sabine Drewes and Walter Prigge: Urban Futures 2030 – the Sustainable City of Tomorrow

I Philosophy, Predictions, Positions
Peter Droege: The Sustainable City: the Energy Revolution as a Key Urban Development Paradigm
Philipp Oswalt: Well-Tempered Architecture
Fritz Reusswig: Architecture and Climate Change
Weiding Long: Mass Urbanization and Climate Change in China: Challenges and Opportunities
Piet Eckert: “And next to it, at an appropriate distance, go build the city of our time”

II Projects
Sebastian Jehle: Sustainable Architecture
Matthias Schuler: The Masdar Development – Showcase with Global Effect
Ted Caplow: Building Integrated Agriculture: Philosophy and Practice
Sabine Müller and Andreas Quednau: Master Planning of Xeritown, Dubai
Simona Weisleder: The City in a Changing Climate: Key Theme of the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg
Andreas Hofer: KraftWerk1 – Cooperative Sustainability
Michael Müller: Sustainable Building: More Than Eco-Architecture
Stefan Denig: Munich’s Path Toward a Carbon-Free Future
Joachim Eble: ECOCITY – A European Approach to Sustainable Urban Planning

III Policy
Ulrich Hatzfeld: Paths Toward a Sustainable City
Peter Hettlich: Ecological Building Activity – Modern and Sustainable
Franziska Eichstädt-Bohlig: Germany: Seeking the Sustainable City
Ulla Schreiber: “Tübingen macht blau”. The university town’s successful climate protection campaign



This publication is a result of the international “Urban Futures 2030 – Urban Development and Urban Lifestyles of the Future” conference organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and held in Berlin on the 3rd and 4th of July 2009. Urban Futures pursues two corresponding ideas. Our first objective is to deepen the transnational dialog over the role of cities in solving the climate crisis. How do cities respond to the great challenge of our time – the drastic reduction greenhouse gas emissions and adoption of a sound new development path for the future? How can they meet the demand for energy and the mobility needs of an urban population that is growing worldwide without ruining the ecosphere once and for all? From the perspective of global climate justice, it will be crucial to reduce the carbon emissions of highly-industrialized countries by 80 percent by the year 2050. Yet the rising economic powers of the South will also need to make the transition to lower emissions in the foreseeable future in order to keep climate change within manageable limits. The signs are encouraging: China, for example, is in the process of planning CO2-neutral cities for hundreds of thousands of inhabitants that will cover their energy needs using renewable resources and be designed for carbon-free mobility. The impulses for urban transformation in Europe and North America arising from such projects were discussed in detail during the conference.

Our second objective is to collect visions and models of sustainable architecture and urban planning and present them to a broader public. Dealing with climate change will mean taking a critical look at our building work – work that can only be truly described as “building culture” if it lives up to the need for sustainability. What is needed is a “low-carbon building culture”, as described in this volume by the climate researcher Fritz Reusswig. Constructing, operating and demolishing buildings alone accounts for 40 percent of German greenhouse gas emissions. Together with traffic and industrial production, building-related energy consumption is one of the major sources of urban CO2 emissions. Futureoriented urban planning and architecture must provide answers to climate change, and “greening the city” is the new megatrend, as numerous architectural conferences and a genuine boom in ecological building activity testify. This publication contains contributions by numerous presenters of the Urban Futures conference, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their support in its swift production. This compilation makes no claims with regard to completeness or academic rigor. Nevertheless, it covers a noteworthy range of the current discussion on climate change, architecture and life in urban settings.

The contributions cover fundamental thinking on the future structure of cities and an “energy revolution as a paradigm of urban development” (Peter Droege). They also highlight intelligent architecture that unites ecology, aesthetic appeal and technology in a new synthesis. Other contributions present approaches to sustainable architecture that go beyond “eco-building”. Interested readers will discover numerous visionary ideas ranging from climate-appropriate passive air conditioning of buildings in the desert of Abu Dhabi to urban agriculture on New York City rooftops. It goes without saying, of course, that the future of the city is not just a matter of individual new buildings. In Europe in particular, cities are essentially complete, and visions therefore focus on transforming them to protect the climate while improving quality of life and ensuring greater social justice. Some of the possibilities available here can be seen in sustainable cooperative projects in Switzerland as well as in experiments in local power generation in the IBA building exhibition in Hamburg, Germany. How technological innovation can work more closely with grass-roots climate protection movements will require further discussion. With this publication, we hope to deliver numerous impulses to the debate, and above all, to the practical aspects of planning and building.

Sustainable urban development and transformation is a creative challenge for society as a whole. Policymakers at all levels will also need to do their part. Reaching climate goals in the building sector will require more stringent renovation and construction standards than those currently in place in Germany. Beyond regulations and economic incentives, it will be crucial to excite investors, enterprising building project initiators and the urban public for ecological urban redevelopment. Low-carbon cities could then become a reality in Germany and elsewhere.

Berlin, June 2009
Ralf Fücks
Co-President, Heinrich Böll Foundation


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