What would a city that has managed to cope with the climate emergency look like? If we could create a neighborhood from scratch, what would we do differently?
The pandemic has made us question the model of the metropolis where we want to live, that is: what the post-covid city has to be like. Coboi lab has designed a series of talks, debates, and workshops on the possibilities of the city of the future: ciutat[s] possibles[s].
So far, we have talked about possible urban co-design detached from the covid, the role of young people in the construction of the city, and the first concrete challenge: housing, to think of new models.
When it comes to the future, we are often presented with hyper-technological scenarios, with flying cars, few trees, and few social relationships. And from the climate narrative, they warn us that in the near future we will be living continuously with natural disasters. Constant exposure to dystopian futures has diminished our ability to imagine a better future. The collapse leaves us motionless.
Action against climate change has been built on the flight of a worse future. We need to build something wherever we want to go. A new paradigm in common. There is talk of mitigating the effects of climate change, but a lot of how to adapt.
A session of possible cities where two papers with different profiles participated in order to answer our central questions and imagine nine possible cities:
→ Andreu Escrivà: environmental disseminator specialized in climate change and technician in environmental projects of the Valencia Climate and Energy Foundation. His book “Encara no és tard“ has received the 2016 European Prize for Scientific Dissemination.
→ Nerea Morán: Ph.D. architect specializing in agri-food systems, sustainable urbanism, and urban resilience. Author of the revealing report published a couple of weeks ago Las ciudades frente a la crisis ecológica.
What would a city that has managed to cope with the climate emergency look like?
1 -. A healthy city: the city of the future is one that does not go against the citizenry and that makes you sick. People’s health needs to be at the center. There is an interrelationship between fossil fuels and human health.
2 -. A city without cars: Cars are killing us at levels comparable to the COVID pandemic. Inside the car park (10m2) many things fit: a swing, a ping pong table, an urban garden. By taking space out of the car, we gain space to play. To sit down. To walk. For things to happen. Space for life.
Many strategies focus on electric cars as a solution, but they also pollute – suspended particles, externalities of the cost of production, accidents – and occupy a lot of public space that could be dedicated to people. We have to bet on other modes of transport: public transport, bicycle, pedestrianization …
3 -. A slow city: the climate emergency cannot be fought by going faster. We have to have time to be able to buy without plastic, to cook, to walk, …
4 -. A nearby city: that in the neighborhood itself there is a diversity of potential destinations. To be able to find spaces for leisure, work, knowledge, sports, less than 15 minutes walk from home.
5 -. A green city: renaturalizing our cities is important for a healthier life, to be part of the ecosystem, and to combat the footprint of cities. Take advantage of the spaces to make urban gardens, green roofs and put vegetation in the courtyards of schools and day centers.
6 -. An agricultural city: the city will always be a black hole of energy, materials, but it has to consume as little as possible and reduce its footprint. Agriculture has to be relocated and multiplied within the city. relocate the economy within the city to avoid international displacement.
7 -. A resilient city: Nature generates more resilience in communities. It is not just about having more green spaces, but also about recovering the functions of the ecosystems. We have to reconnect with the cycles of nature.
8 -. Although it sounds bad, a “cheaper” city. A slower and greener city generates health savings that already offset all costs. In addition, it serves as prevention. A renaturalized city will avoid disasters, torrential rains (due to drainage systems), snowfall (native vegetation resists much better). In short, less maintenance.
Andreu defends that large-scale actions are needed: “There are some who when they want to build a highway they do it and that’s it and we always go with proven drivers. We are clear about what it takes, enough to justify ourselves: let’s dare! ”
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