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Chapter summaries for ‘One Planet’ Cities: Sustaining Humanity Within Planetary Boundaries:
Introduction: how civilisation’s war on nature through endless development and appropriation of resources has landed us in a terrible mess: a personal note.
1. Public images: Why we are so poor at imagining positive futures, and what can be done about this?
2. The essential problem: how to reconcile the essential needs of a growing world population that is increasingly urbanising and consuming more resources within the limits presented by the planet’s biocapacity. The planetary boundaries and how they monitored; the results of monitoring; the relationship between human activities and the planet’s biocapacity.
3. Standards and indicators 1: How do we measure genuine sustainability? A survey of the ecological footprinting and other standards, methods and indicators for measuring genuine sustainability, including carbon footprinting, life-cycle analysis, Energy and environmental management.
4. Standards and indicators 2: a look at which standards, moethods and indicators cities and some countries are using, whether they are effective, and which could be useful for governments in transitioning towards a ‘one planet’ world.
5. Food: Meeting the challenge of feeding city dwellers healthy food is considered, in a way that simultaneously replenishes natural resources, by reducing food waste, minimising the use of animals for food, reducing the impacts of food processing, improving the way that food is grown to repair soils, and providing food more locally. Various examples are considered from cities around the world, including a neighbourhood planned around an agricultural college and farm, along with the question of whether we can produce enough food, vertical farming, aquaponics, artificial meat and insects for protein.
6. Nature: Examining the concept of regenerative cities: tackling the monopolisation of the food trade by a handful of companies, the challenge of externalities, the concept of Ecopolis, making space for nature in cities, biomimicry, and taking steps towards ‘closed loop’ societies.
7. Energy: How zero carbon cities can become independent of fossil fuels in every sector by switching to renewable energy, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by ‘locking it up’ in its fabric, soils and trees, removing by design the need to use energy for many tasks, and reducing existing energy use through energy efficiency. Examining the energy trilemma, the problems faced by coastal cities, the design of new and developments and decarbonising the existing ones, substitute for natural gas, eliminating short-lived climate emissions, heat networks, energy storage and which standards to use.
8. Industry: How industry can transition to fully circular, ‘closed loop’ production systems that do not waste resources or cause pollution, in order to reduce consumption and its impacts through industrial symbiosis, with particular emphasis on reclaiming waste heat, Data centres, Energy efficiency, and a case study on the cement production.
9. Water: How to ensure a reliable supply of sufficient clean water, the proper management of sanitation to protect health, and resilient protection from extreme weather events such as drought or flood, by supporting public ownership of the water industry, taking a holistic approach, working with nature, and using techniques such as permeable surfaces, reducing water consumption, rainwater harvesting, water reuse, sponge cities, nutrient reclamation from sewage, constructed wetlands, regulatory change, and associated standards and principles.
10. Neighbourhoods in the ‘one planet’ city: tackling homelessness, informal settlements, the affordability of housing, community land trusts, working with developers, the inclusion of public space, the right to the city, neighbourhood design and greenspace.
11. Buildings: net zero carbon emissions, passive solar and passive house design, carbon-saving building materials, solutions for heating and cooling, and designing for new and eco-refurbishment of buildings.
12. Transport: Meeting the mobility requirements of a one planet city: the central role of planning, street design, walking, cycling, car sharing, making cities denser and converting the suburbs, mobility nodes, no emission zones, superblocks, transporting freight, ending traffic fatalities, bus rapid transit, and self drive cars.
13. Technology: An examination of the requirements for ‘smart cities’: India’s drive for smart cities, open data, smart mobility, management requirements, the wisdom of crowds, measurement and verification, and hackathons.
14. Financing the path to a one planet future: green bonds, impact investing, other large-scale financing schemes, public and private finance, Green mortgages, social businesses, the local multiplier effect and local currencies.
15. A menu of existing case studies of projects and places with qualities and features that would be desirable for a one planet neighbourhood, town or city.
16. Governance: What is ‘one planet’ governance? A deep dive into the experience of the Welsh Government in implementing its Well-being of Future Generations Act, 2016.
17. Summary: A suggested blueprint for how a community from a neighbourhood up to a megacity or nation in size may decide and set a pathway to one planet status.
18: Short story: a few minutes in the life of a woman and her granddaughter in a place containing many of the features described in these pages.