Urban Splash have been in the forefront of innovative design and urban development for decades. Manufactured / system build / modular housing, call it what you will, has to be the way forward.
House is precision-built to your specification in a factory, and craned into position on your street. Modern materials mean house is well-insulated and efficient to run. You can choose the size and internal format which is then delivered to site virtually ready to occupy.
Abu Dhabi’s $18 billion experiment in high-tech, low-resource living–was designed to be the world’s first large-scale carbon-neutral development. In 2012, we wrote: “So far, there are a number of finished buildings, including restaurants, a library, retail outlets, and a handful of structures at the onsite Masdar Institute, a graduate institute focused on sustainability, science, and alternative energy. This is only the start.” Julien Eymeri went recently, and found a much different story. Read his account and see his eerie video of an empty city.
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British planning experts are heading to China to advise on building cities that do not wreck the environment.
They will address mayors on the need to avoid Los Angeles-style sprawl by building dense cities with low-carbon buildings and good public transport.
Their visit follows a report warning that the road-based US model could make climate change impossible to contain.
Europe’s densely-populated cities, with strong public transport links, are held up as an example for China to follow.
The report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate said more than two billion extra people were expected in cities in the coming decades.
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In September 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim launched the Low Carbon, Livable Cities (LC2) initiative at the Clinton Global Forum in New York City. Here we are, a full year later, with the UN Climate Summit upon us, and it’s clear that the Bank’s efforts are bearing fruit, strongly influencing or linking neatly with efforts being announced today.
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Milton Keynes is gaining a reputation for something other than its roundabouts and concrete cows. The much maligned new-town is now leading the way in the economic recovery and topping the league tables as the UK’s most business-friendly town.
MK, as it’s affectionately known by its residents, has many of the key ingredients when it comes to attracting business investment. It has good connections to London and the rest of the country, plenty of factory and office space, an abundance of skilled graduates on its doorstop and house prices well below the national average, as building has kept up with the town’s booming population. All this has helped Milton Keynes build one of the strongest city economies in the UK, boasting the 4th highest business start-up rate and the 3rd highest output per worker out of 64 cities.
Deborah Meaden, the fearsome business brain of TV’s ‘Dragon’s Den’, travels to Milton Keynes to visit different businesses and find out if there is a secret ingredient beyond the issues of location and education. Local entrepreneurs talk about the ‘Milton Keynes can-do attitude’. They say part of the reason MK has thrived is due to their drive to push their businesses forward and work together. Deborah discusses the nature of the unique MK mind-set with three small business owners to pin down exactly what it is.
But there is a question over whether Milton Keynes is going to inspire its next generation – just in the same way today’s business leaders were galvanised by the town’s planners or ‘founding fathers’, who cemented a pioneering spirit into its culture. Two young entrepreneurs tell Deborah that although MK is a great place to start up, it needs to make sure it attracts more innovative hi-tech companies and independent shops and businesses in order to maintain its success into the future.
So what can other cities learn from Milton Keynes? Chief executive of the think tank Centre For Cities, Alexandra Jones, shares her thoughts on which parts of MK’s success can be replicated in other parts of the UK, especially in the cities of northern England where economic growth is desperately needed. Should more cities be doing it the Milton Keynes way?
To listen to the programme CLICK HERE
In a sector plagued by self-appointed, industry sponsored narrators and pseudo experts, it can sometimes be difficult for city planners to see past clichéd statements referencing the need for ‘SMART city systems and ubiquitous connectivity’ and really understand the strategic benefit that maybe garnered by implementing a SMART city scheme.
Read more of Paul Goff’s BLOG article about Smart Cities HERE