Archive for January, 2010

2010 trends – your thoughts on sustainable cities?

January 30, 2010

Doing some reading on trends to watch for 2010, Trendwatching predicted “urbany” as one of their top ten – super-wired, city based consumers. In 2007, for the first time in our history, the UN says we hit 50% of people living in cities. By 2050 it’s predicated to be as high as 70% globally. This obviously has some huge impacts for the environment.

But interestingly, there have been some arguments that sustainable cities could be the answer to climate change issues. An article in the UK’s Guardian quoted this:

The carbon footprint of urban dwellers is relatively light, says a report by David Dodman in the April issue of Environment and Urbanisation. Dodman, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development, examined emissions reports from cities in the Americas, Asia and Europe.

He found that New Yorkers emit a third less greenhouse gases than the average American and that Barcelonans and Londoners emit about half of their national averages. And urban Brazilians are truly green: the residents of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro are responsible for only one-third the national emissions average. Dodman’s paper complements an earlier study by IIED senior fellow David Satterthwaite, who argued that cities emit about 40% of all greenhouse gases, as opposed to the oft-cited 80%.

Interesting. The article went on to discuss some of the ideas that have been put forward about sustainable transport options and I found myself at the rather futuristic – but very creative – site of Terreform where people have proposed stackable cars and jetpack packing.

So what do you think? Can we make cities and city transport more sustainable – and fast enough to make a difference? Or will it be back to another of the 2010 Trendwatching trends: “Eco-easy”. They say:

While the current good intentions of corporations and consumers are helpful, serious eco-results will depend on making products and processes more sustainable without consumers even noticing it, and, if necessary, not leaving much room for consumers and companies to opt for less sustainable alternatives to begin with.

Which will often mean forceful, if not painful, government intervention, or some serious corporate guts, or brilliantly smart design and thinking, if not all of those combined.

Happy New Year from Flexicar

January 23, 2010

Yes, we know it’s almost the end of January, we’ve been so busy in here it’s taken us this long to acknowledge the big 2010!

The team were spread far and wide for NYE. Greg was in Indonesia, Pete was in Sydney, Ruth was in the US, Kimberly was in St Kilda before heading off to New Zealand the next day….and Monique our CEO was in Melbourne and “on call” for members. Only a couple ended up needing her help, so she tells us it wasn’t too busy, just lacking in the requisite champagne intake! She’s on leave this week, though, so hopefully making up for it.

If you’re having a long weekend this weekend  – enjoy!