News / Europe

OECD: Developing Green Cities Key to Sustainable Future

A view of Badong city on the banks of the Yangtze River, in Hubei province, China, August 7, 2012.
A view of Badong city on the banks of the Yangtze River, in Hubei province, China, August 7, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
By the middle of this century, two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities, posing a major environmental challenge. But a new report shows how developing "green" cities can generate growth and lead to a more sustainable planet. 

About half the world's population lives in or near cities. These urban centers also generate about two-thirds of our greenhouse gas emissions. So it may seem alarming to hear the planet's urban population will likely more than double by the end of the century.

But a new study published by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development suggests "greening" cities, by increasing their environmental performance, can also be good for the economy.

OECD urban development program head William Tompson oversaw the report that was released Thursday at a green cities conference in Stockholm.

"When it comes to environmental challenges - and in particular climate change, which is a global challenge - there is a tremendous amount that cities can do. And we are increasingly seeing cities taking action," he said.

The new study largely focuses on strategies that have already proven successful, like building ecological districts, imposing congestion charges on vehicles, and creating green-building industries in Western cities like Paris, Stockholm and Chicago. But the next phase of the OECD's research will target cities in emerging Asian economies.

"Crucially, dynamic Asia faces problems that we do not find in cities like Stockholm and Paris," said Tompson. "First of all, the cities are themselves growing very fast.  Secondly, they are much more likely to be industrializing ... and industrializing very fast. And that is important because in Western countries, particularly in Western Europe, we have largely de-industrialized the cities."

But there are some common messages for cities around the world - for example, the importance of tailoring policies and financing mechanisms that favor green technology, prioritizing mass transit and developing inner cities instead of contributing to urban sprawl.

The overall message: cities are our future, so "green" cities will be key in making it sustainable.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid