Last time, I even forgot one goal: Sustainable development Goal 11, Sustainable cities.
Again, the question: what is sustainable? So much has been brought together under that heading, all nice things for people, that it does not really help us very much, when it comes to energy and resources. On top of that, we will certainly do it smart, with a lot of energy for data traffic and data centers, not to mention materials to establish ‘smart’ infrastructures. For sure in the industrialized world, which embraces this target: the Cities will embrace it and go for ‘it’. While there are huge threats to cities, which need solutions: how are they going to help their citizens, if there are disruptions in the global distribution networks? When the power goes out, when the heat waves get bigger, when drinking water sources have dried up, when pandemics break out, when there are food shortages? What we need are cities with a contingency plan. Cities that survive in times of stress, which are prepared to protect their citizens in those situations.
What is definitely not needed, are cities that waste energy and raw materials on all kinds of fun things for people, cities that organize their cities in such a way that the effects of threats only increase. Through growth, densification, energy dependence, outsourcing of facilities, export orientation, so that they are unable to provide anything themselves…etc.
There are even cities, as I experienced, that attract companies for their so-called ‘growth need’, while there are no employees for those companies in that region: in number (there was no unemployment) or in education/training. For which these cities started to attract people, but to do so they have to expand and build houses again. (and yes, with ‘sustainable building’…, while it would not be have been necessary to build at all). The final result is only the import of parts and the export of products of some irrelevant company, by people who did not live there before … Poeple that might have been active in education or care taking elsewhere , where they are now short of people … And who will ‘sustain’ those extra people when problems arise, who in that city has prepared for this?
We don’t need cities that are smart or that want to “grow sustainably”. What is needed are cities with a plan for basic amenities in times of crisis. Cities in other words, that are “calamity-proof”. The real SDG 11!
PS : Have a look at the original logo: the 3rd building suggests it has solar panels, but is shaded by the 2nd building. Which by the way looks like an elevator building, where people are trapped when calamities… So the new logo is without that building, and with a apple tree, to symbolize local productivity.