SUSTAINABLE CITIES, THE CHALLENGE OF THE CENTURY
The transformation of cities into more sustainable places is without a doubt one of the main challenges of this century. Institutions play a huge role in this sense, as they are responsible for facilitating and promoting green projects to make our communities cleaner and more efficient. In big cities we are beginning to see electric solutions to make transportation easier for citizens and to help reduce the large beret of pollution that hovers over some of them.
Cities have the continual problem of pollution, which, without a doubt, affects the health of their inhabitants. This is due to various factors, including transportation and construction. At an international level, communities, settlements and big cities are all candidates to receive one of the most prestigious awards in urban sustainability. The Global LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction awards technical innovation to face problems like waste management or water treatment. It also places a high value on social integration and the use of construction technologies.
At an international level, there are two sustainability levels for buildings that guarantee quality of construction and of the environment. The Breeam and Leed seals are increasingly studied in the sector and are taken into consideration when planning new urban spaces.
Leed and Breaam focus on the comfort of citizens and the problem of pollution. In addition, the areas that are certified with these labels must be well-connected by public transport, have charging points for electric cars, easily accessible recycling systems on the streets and sound pollution control.
Spain has a long way to go to catch up with Great Britain and the Nordic countries; however, innovative solutions are arising in Barcelona and Madrid that are aimed at constructing cities that are more sustainable for the environment.
One of the most complete propositions in our country is Madrid Nuevo Norte, which consists of a planning model that will completely remodel an area of the capital city to make it more sustainable and efficient. In this area, buildings will be constructed under efficiency, health and safety standards. This project seeks to revitalize the north area of Madrid by integrating existing neighborhoods and new spaces. In addition to housing, the goal is to make this part of the capital city a central point for big companies and business centers.
Changing the way we build cities to make them cleaner and greener. Stress, pneumonia and lung cancer are some of the diseases caused by pollution according to the World Health Organization. Taking care of the planet we live in means investing in our health.