The Great Debate UK
By Andy van den Dobbelsteen and Nico Tillie
– Andy van den Dobbelsteen is a Professor of Architecture and Nico Tillie is a PhD candidate at Delft University of Technology. Tillie also works for the City of Rotterdam. The opinions expressed are their own. –
This year’s World Town Planning Day, on November 8, was held in 30 countries on four continents. It is a recognition and celebration of the contributions that sound planning has made to the quality of the human environment and provides recognition of the ideals of community planning among the profession and the general public worldwide.
In recent times, World Town Planning Day has been strongly influenced by environmental themes and this year was no different with much of the world’s eyes on the upcoming Cancun U.N. climate change summit. However, our own view is that planners have yet to fully grasp the fundamental question at the heart of the global warming challenge in urban areas: how can cities and towns become far more autonomous and possibly even free from fossil fuels?
In Europe, until now, architects and urban planners have often followed three steps when designing a sustainable built environment. Reducing energy consumption, utilising sustainable energy, and using fossil fuels as efficiently and cleanly as possible. However, to date at least, this approach has not led to substantially more sustainable towns and cities.