Building carbon-neutral cities for the future: Interdisciplinary approach in planning is key

Building carbon-neutral cities for the future: Interdisciplinary approach in planning is key

From Western countries like Denmark to Asian countries like Vietnam, governments are now planning for sustainable and healthy cities for future generations. Trang Vuong (Managing Director, enCity) answered on Vietnam national television about sustainability.
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Cities are directly responsible for around two-thirds of total global energy use, and account for around 75% of global CO2 emissions. The world is heading towards carbon neutral cities, wherein the amount of emissions released by urban activities into the earth’s atmosphere is balanced out by an equivalent amount of it being absorbed or removed. Applied collectively, it can ultimately reduce greenhouse gases and create a significant impact in limiting the increase in global temperatures. From Western countries like Denmark to Asian countries like Vietnam, governments are now planning for sustainable and healthy cities for future generations.

According to Trang Vuong (Managing Director, enCity) in her feature on Vietnam national television on 6 February 2022, there are diversified solutions to attain sustainable cities: energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart traffic and transport, green buildings, smart and environment-friendly homes, and so on. But what makes these solutions feasible? Of the four factors, namely technology – finance – institutions – social adoption, the first two can be quite volatile and practically changeble. However, in order to raise social awareness and gain the consent of the people, it takes a larger effort to achieve.

In order to build a sustainable, carbon neutral city, the first necessary step is to develop an integrated and multi-sectoral planning framework. Cities do not share the same formula or stategy towards a carbon neutral initiative, though they may share a common vision. Each locality has a different social, economic, environmental and cultural context that needs to be analyzed carefully. As a consulting firm in planning and policy for government leaders in Asia, enCity understands the importance of recognizing the strengths, weaknesses and challenges of each city and region. It is essential to have a comprehensive plan to accompany policy making and to outline an implementation roadmap, which is adaptive and flexible according to actual conditions. Along with this, cities should plan for unpredictable events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic or others in the future.

Sustainability is the foundation of all our work at enCity. We achieve it through site-sensitive design, climate-responsive urban frameworks and integrated strategies to promote equity within communities. One of our featured sustainable projects is the Ben Tre Province Strategic Vision 2045, where we enhanced the unique settlement morphologies of the Mekong Delta province, integrated transportation systems with water management to optimize local resources, and drafted action plans to help the city adapt to climate change.

More than ever, there is greater awareness and concern for the future of our planet. As stated in the Paris Agreement in 2015, countries are bound to take action against global warming to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century. With more advanced technology and systems, it may seem easier to achieve this goal. However, an integrated approach is still key to develop cities that can not only curb emissions, but contribute to creating better and healthier environments for generations to come.

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As a consulting firm in planning and policy for government leaders in Asia, enCity understands the importance of recognizing the strengths, weaknesses and challenges of each city and region

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