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Climate Action 2014-2015

RESILIENT CITIES GLOBAL

RESILIENT CITIES GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS, GLOBAL SOLUTIONS By Jane Henley, Chief Executive Officer, World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) Our cities occupy just 4 per cent of the earth’s land area, and yet they are home to more than half the world’s population. Efficient, productive, healthy cities are vital to the wellbeing of our people and our planet, but cities are facing unprecedented challenges: climate change, population growth and shrinking resources. In the next 30 years, the built environment will double in size. There has never been a better time to get this right, using partnerships on a global scale. Currently, around 5 per cent of the world’s building stock is certified under a recognised green building rating system – but 5 per cent is not enough. While it is clear that we must scale up our buildingby-building approach to sustainability, it is equally clear that governments around the world are not quite sure how to tackle this. Some city governments are leading the charge in some respects, and falling behind in others. Some are outlining their visions for sustainable cities in 2030, 2050 or beyond, others are taking practical action, and others are struggling to cope with the perennial challenge of balancing competing priorities of a longterm planning process and a short-term election cycle. Organisations such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and R20 Regions for Climate Action are bringing governments together to exchange knowledge and share best practice solutions in sustainable city development – and these efforts are to be applauded. "Some city governments are leading the charge in some respects, and falling behind in others." But as much as we need governments to develop better policies, we need industry to increase its capacity to deliver sustainable solutions. The property and construction industry understands better than any that taking a building-bybuilding approach is not only slow, but misses crucial opportunities to implement large-scale sustainable solutions – whether precinct-wide distributed energy or a city-wide transport system. BUILDING CAPACITY AND SHARED KNOWLEDGE Recognising that industry needed a similar forum to share knowledge and build capacity, the WorldGBC established the Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) as a peer-to-peer networking and knowledge-sharing hub that also acts as an interface between industry and government. The SCI is looking to build successful partnerships between the private sector and city governments, and strengthen the relationships between Green Building Councils (GBCs) and C40 member cities. The goal is to foster a more ‘joined up’ approach to the way we build and retrofit our cities. More and more GBCs are ‘thinking outside the building’, as they acknowledge this as a critical necessity in tackling the urgent challenges resulting from rapid urbanisation – reducing the incidence of 104

RESILIENT CITIES Initial pilots of the Sustainable Cities Initiative are underway in various cities including Rio de Janeiro, Brazil heart disease, building greater resilience to climate extremes and ensuring greater equity in our regeneration efforts. Solving these ‘wicked problems’ will require new forms of governance, innovation and collaboration. It also requires new tools and approaches that industry can embrace in planning, designing and building communities. RATING TOOLS AND FRAMEWORKS Drawing on two decades’ experience in growing the green building marketplace, GBCs around the world are developing the new tools to tackle these sustainable city challenges. New building partnership rating systems and frameworks have been developed to help guide more sustainable outcomes at the city level. In Australia, the Green Star – Communities rating system is guiding the design and development of dozens of projects, from urban infills in major capital cities to greenfield projects that will one day be the size of small cities. The US Green Building Council’s LEED-Neighborhood "New rating systems and frameworks have been developed to help guide more sustainable outcomes at the city level." Development system has certified more than 360 projects that meet best practice benchmarks for planning, design, smart growth and green building. These rating tools have articulated best practice outcomes, allowing government to set urban development performance requirements and the private sector to demonstrate leadership through implementation. But implementing neighbourhoodscale strategies, in an integrated way, can be challenging for many stakeholders, including government policy-makers. However, fractured governance and decision-making systems, isolated assessment efforts and lack of prefeasibility funding continue to constrain successful efforts in district-scale development. Emerging frameworks such as the EcoDistricts Protocol are now providing practical guidance to help urban leaders deploy district and neighbourhood-scale strategies in an integrated way. The Protocol presents a four-phase approach to government policy-makers, private sector developers and community-based organisations by aligning interests and investments through a collaborative governance process. The EcoDistricts Protocol defines an approach for integrated climateactionprogramme.org 105