Urban planning strategy to achieve sustainable Asia | Ecocity Builders | Kirstin Miller

kirstin millerHumanity is running up against the limits of a finite planet. We are experiencing rapid global climate destabilization and the   endangerment of entire ecosystems. These life-threatening global environmental problems demand a resctructuring of cities for long-term energy efficiency and conservation. Concerned citizens must get involved in formulating and implenting new land use and preserving agricultural lands and open space.

Kirstin Miller,Executive Director of Ecocity Builders, addresses exclusively to AsiaGreenBuildings concerning about city design, urban planning, building, and operations in an integral way and in relation to the surrounding environment. Talking about eco city development and strategies to build thriving Asia ecocities urban design based on their vision on how achieving a sustainable city.

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Urban design is one of the urban aspects which is highly important on the path of achieving a sustainable city. What can Asian cities learn from the US in terms of urban planning?

Not to go down the path of designing cities for cars instead of for people, like the US did for many years. US city planners and mayors now understand what a mistake that was.

With respect to the organization you represent, what is the vision for an ecocity?

Ecocity Builders believe that ecological cities should enable their residents to live a good quality of life while using minimal natural resources. Ecocities should be modeled on the self-sustaining resilient structure and function of natural ecosystems, and seek to provide healthy abundance to their inhabitants without consuming more renewable resources than they replace. Ecocities inhabitants’ ecological impacts should reflect planetary supportive lifestyles: their social order should reflect fundamental principles of fairness, justice, reasonable equity and consensus at ample levels of happiness.

What plans are there to further enforce your presence in Asia?

If you want to change the quality of life in cities anywhere, you have to get people involved. One of the ways we’re making this happen is through our Urbinsight initiative, which we hope to offer to cities in Asia very soon. Urbinsight is a next generation mapping and data analysis platform designed for participatory mapping and planning processes in the form of an easy-to-use web application. The web application teaches basic data collection methods and helps coordinate on-the-ground activities where community members focus on specific issues, such as water quality, access to services, and clean air.

What is the biggest problem that Asian cities face in becoming ecocities, and what do you suggest tocope with ?

One of the biggest problems is that countries buy into myth that they should get rich first and then worry about health and the environment,but can we really have prosperity if people and the environment are not healthy? This specific problem persists when progress is measured by growth in GDP. We all want clean air, clean water, clean streets, healthy food, educational and cultural opportunities, good governance and a happy life in a nice environment;GDP doesn’t prioritize this kind of wealth.

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About Ecocity Builders
Ecocity Builders is nonprofit organization based in San Fransisco Bay Area with an office in downtown Oakland.Ecocity Builders provides education for ecological design. We develop and implement policy, design and educational tools and strategies to build thriving urban centers based on “access by proximity” and to reverse patterns of sprawl and excessive consumption.

Website: www.ecocitybuilders.org

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