When you look at a city, it's like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it. ― Hugh Newell Jacobsen
According to one study, urban areas including small towns and cities contribute to 2/3rd emissions in India. And it is estimated that 70% of the buildings in India that will exist in the year 2030 are yet to be built. Hence, how cities are planned to minimise emission or maximise carbon sink is very important for Climate change Management!
Plans are Nothing, Planning is Everything
Significant amount of Infrastructure needs to be developed to meet the unmet civic demands and to keep pace with the economic growth, in developing countries like India. Land Use Planning is a key component of Urban Planning and the ratio between natural and built environment ought to be maintained.
The damage and health hazards caused by Climate Change and extreme weather events are likely to drastically increase and cities need to be better equipped to deal with it. Without proper planning, it is also difficult to optimize and channelize the old and upcoming infrastructure and transport systems in cities to be more energy efficient.
It is very important that Urban Planning is driven by the availability of resources like water and land and with an acceptable density of population.
Urban Planning and Infrastructure practices which support low greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the city for climate adaption are the need of the hour.
Construction Sector– Building a sustainable lifestyle
It is estimated that Buildings contribute as much as one-third of total global greenhouse gas emissions. The Indian Building sector consumes around 33% of the total energy; with the commercial sector accounting for 8% and residential for 25%.
Although dealing with this situation seems difficult, it has lots of solutions already in place. And with some improvisations, these will cater to low carbon emissions and a sustainable lifestyle.
To start with, we as consumers should choose Architects and Consultants aware and applying Energy Efficient Design / Green Building Design, buy property that assures Green Infrastructure such as Solar Water Heating, Organic Waste composting, Common lighting on Solar PV, Greenery and right sort of vegetation in the premises, insulation for the roof when buying the topmost flat, etc.
And more importantly, each household should optimize use, demand less (so as to not compromise environment for comfort) and prioritize need over wants. We need to meticulously avoid Ultra-urbanization which promotes lack of contact with people and nature.
This can be achieved by climate-friendly policies. For a start, the established Energy Conservation Building Codes should be implemented and made mandatory. Also, policies for auditing energy and water consumption and waste generation, identifying areas of improvement, incentivizing Green Infrastructure and penalizing the offenders will play a crucial role in this transition.
Policy makers and citizens should be aware and responsive, experts need to innovate and improvise and professionals need to train and manage Energy Efficient and Climate Friendly Design to achieve a Sustainable Infrastructure and Future.
It is important to note that – Climate Mitigation measures will also help India to deal with its environmental issues like Pollution, Deforestation and Waste Management.