Hi everyone, looking forward to hear your ideas on critera. Let's aim for around 7.
Propose YOUR criteria for judging a GRUEN
Criteria 1: Self Sufficiency
I believe that a green city should aim to be as self-contained in terms of resource use as possible. Transportation is very resource and cost intensive. If a city has a nearby water source (rain resevoir, lake etc.), minimal need to transport trash (by recycling, upcycling internally etc.) and the like then it will use less resources globally and be more resistant to shocks like COVID-19 as we see now. This criteria needs development, for example transporting within a ten kilometer radius from the edge of a city is very different from shipping it half way across the world.
Criteria 2: Infrastructure Capacity
This overlaps somewhat with the first point but is distinct. If the city is to be truly sustainable, then it needs to be able to support its citizens. This is not just in terms of transport links such as railway or bus, but also in terms of water use, sewage removal, trash pickup, electricity supplying etc. It doesn't matter if 100% of electricity is renewable if only 1% of citizens have access to it and the rest use unofficial diesel generators, burn coal or the like. This criteria should also judge flexibiliy and expandability: can the city support a temporary spike in use of any one resource? If the population increases for 30 years, is there the room ot expand the infrastructure to handle that?
I look forward to hearing from the rest of you!
Being able to raise awareness of our environmental footprint and use guilt as a driving force towards a green urban environment is something that could aid in building a city. For example, there is huge potential in the nuclear sector, producing clean energy with a high start-up cost, but an extremely low maintenance cost. Apart from the huge initial investment (which links to Criteria 6), the huge barrier to being able to access large amounts of clean energy through nuclear is the lack of education. When people hear about nuclear, they instantly think of Fukushima... Did you know that Nuclear accounts for fewer deaths than coal mines? And as technology is advancing quicker and quicker, we have ways to improve our fission reactors. This is why I think being able to educate the public is a good judgement point.
I think finance is a huge part of being able to build a sustainable city, being able to capture the funds to start the city is an important part. For example, the cost of Solar Panels in the US usually has a return of investment of 8 years. Although if we aim for a larger scale we can utilize economies of scale when we are approaching a panel of investors, they won't really like the idea of an 8-year return of investment. And this calculation of an 8-year return of investment does not account for wear and tear and maintenance of solar panels. Although this is just an example, I believe it goes to show how important finance is when it comes to building a sustainable city. Why should the investor risk their money for your city? They won't do it just because it is environmentally sustainable, they would also need it to be financially sustainable.
This is Chaitanya from group 40. I read your point about how nuclear accounts for fewer deaths than coal mines, and I think, this is an incorrect justification for its safety. Nuclear weapons also have caused fewer deaths than traditional weapons and the coronavirus has killed fewer people than the number of people who die in road accidents, but neither of these arguments can be used to justify the threat of the two things in question. In my opinion, nuclear power is a dead end and not suitable in the long run. Did you know, that half of the earth's geological heat comes from radioactive decay? If we choose nuclear power to power our cities in the long run, which have ridiculously high energy demands, we may end up causing the geological death of the Earth, like Mars is right now. Also, have you considered how you will deal with the huge amounts of radioactive waste generated in the process and how we will deal with it? The more the number of power plants in operation, the risk of an accident will increase exponentially. You cannot judge the scale of a nuclear accident in just the terms of how many people are affected. Nuclear accidents have a high level of environmental entropy change and its effects last for generations.
Think about it.
Thank you for your reply. Your concern for Nuclear Energy is respectable and I can definitely see your point of view. Yes, the data about nuclear energy accounts for fewer deaths compared to coal mines may be slightly irrelevant, however, the point I am trying to make is that the public media overexaggerates the disadvantages of Nuclear Energy. And your point on nuclear radioactive decay is interesting. Nuclear waste is pretty easy to dispose of in large pools of water. These pools are so safe that you can swim on top of it with no harm! Compared to coal, nuclear energy has less damage to the environment... And I actually agree with your view on the risk of power plants increases exponentially as there are more, as there could be possible chain reactions. I never actually thought of that point! I'm certain we could space them out so in the unlikely event that there is something wrong, it could be contained.
Thank you for giving me another perspective to this topic!