Can green urbanism be a solution to climate change crisis?

20 05 2022 | 09:14ODONGO KEVINE

A couple of months back, His Excellency  President Uhuru Kenyatta elevated Nakuru town to a city status . This news was received in jubilation. Residents took pride in their " city" . That was development . Urbanization . 

Development and growth of towns has been rapid in Africa . Recent economic growth has seen surge in population of metropolitan areas. However, as much as the brighter side of urbanization is celebrated , there is a darker one being ignored. Darker, because the world needs to understand  how much danger this concept brings  with it- climate change .

Luckily , there seems to be a solution . Green urbanism . It incorporates various disciplines with sole focus of providing solution to this crisis. It comprises architectural and planning techniques in development of urban areas to achieve a common goal of mitigation . For instance:

(a) Introduction of inner city gardens and green roofs not only creates an aesthetic view but also maximize the resilience of the ecosystem . In addition , it maintains green belt around these areas which absorbs carbon dioxide concentrating in the atmosphere . Urban heat island effect is also controlled in this manner . 

(b) Sustainable transport : Integration of non-motorized transport in areas where  the need for diesel or petrol powered vehicles is negligible is   fundamental in combating carbon dioxide emission. One can cycle or even walk with the latter not only having health benefits but also playing critical role in reducing concentration of harmful gases in the atmosphere . Inclusion of electric vehicles is also a boost in this conquest .

(c) Adoption of renewable energy : It provides alternative to the fossil fuels. Cities can be transformed into local power stations of renewable energy sources . These, for example, are biomass, geothermal power, mini-hydro energy and solar . Considered one if the major solutions to climate change , renewables , surely can necessitate zero carbon emission mission . 

(d) Education ,research and knowledge : There is need for up-skilling and technical training in order to come up with creative and better ways of fixing this problem.  Exchange of knowledge , skills and experiences provide strategy of empowering locals , diversifying jobs and harmonizing results of urbanization .

Cities should work to reduce amount of harmful gases produced . Copenhagen and city state Singapore have spearheaded implementation of green urbanism , they should be emulated .