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contents nº4 cities autumn 2008


“It’s all the grownups’ fault” Francesco Tonucci, founder of the City of Children project, explains the need to work towards a new philosophy of urban planning, looking at the city from a child´s perspective.


What did the lizards and dragons do? Jordi Sargatal y Vicens, director of Fundació Territori i Paisatge, Obra Social de Caixa Catalunya, invites schools to learn from urban biodiversity to create more attractive and vibrant cities.

Sustainable urban development Credits Editor: Heloise Buckland Art and design: alexis @ barcelonya Editing and proofreading: Mariano Carrizo, Olga Llobet, Marta Moreno and Sarah Clark de Garcés Editorial committee: Teresa Franquesa, Antoni Grau, Oriol Lladó, Josep-Lluís Moner, Cristina Monge, Paula Pérez, Sonia Pérez, Inma Pruna, Montse Santolino and Marc Vilanova Printing: El Tinter (ISO certification 9001, 14001 and EMAS) Printed on recycled paper. October 2008 Legal deposit B-23656-07 ISSN 1887-7230 +34 93 405 43 73

Rafael Tuts, Lars Reutersward and Helen Andreasson from UN-Habitat reveal significant gaps between research and education agendas and the real challenges of urbanizing poverty.

A harsh lesson to be learnt Ana Lucia de Oliveira, architect and planner, analyses the effects of the Yacyretá mega-dam on cities in Paraguay and Argentina and reflects on the consequences of today´s education system.

A city that listens, that understands, that educates Àlvar Miró, educationalist and member of Sinèrgies cooperative, outlines key concepts and practical actions to help create more sustainable cities.

Competing for number 1 eco-city? Oriol Lladó, environmental journalist, proposes rigour and complexity in education, and to look beyond the hype of eco-labelled cities.

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In brief, educational initiatives for our urban future Educational resources Interview with Antanas Mockus ex-mayor of Bogotá, director of the National University of Colombia and president of the Visionarios por Colombia movement.

2050 Visions “What will your city be like in 2050?” Calendar of urban development and sustainability We recommend books and documentaries on cities Ecological footprint of this magazine

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Back to the woods?

September 23rd was the day we used up all the resources that nature will generate for this year. Around the same time, the media proclaimed a crisis in the global economy. Are the two headlines connected? There are many complex parallels but what is certain is that with 50% of the world’s population living in cities, we could say that the future is urban.

On the one hand, our cities have the highest concentration of consumption, buildings, traffic, crime, pollution and waste production per square metre, but on the other hand, they are characterised by a level of density and intensity that engenders shared knowledge, culture and creativity. “I imagine my city with flying vehicles, portable parks, and water will be supplied by robots. I will be an astronaut and I’ll fly to the moon and work in tourism in outer space”, Juan Manuel, 8 years old, Bogotá. Firstly, who better than children to design the drastic changes that have to be made in the city? If the city is a good place to be through the eyes of a child (they can play in the street, meet friends, move around freely, climb trees and, why not, daydream and see dragons in the streets...), it will be a good place for us all. Who wouldn’t want safe streets, efficient and accessible public transport, green areas and open spaces? Giving children a voice and a vote in city planning is a good step forward. In this issue of the magazine we focus on other ways that young people can transform their cities; take eco-safaris, green guerrilla teams and urban biodiversity mappers, as just some examples.

economy and the city? Why not prioritise these matters in the education of the entrepreneurs, engineers and politicians of the future? Looking to the future, and on a more positive note, what do Frieberg (Germany), Dongtan (China) and Portland (Oregon, USA) have in common? They all appear in different lists of the world’s “top eco-cities”, but there are so many ways of measuring sustainability and so much “talk”, that we now need to be a little more wary of the claims to be the most sustainable city, and know how to wean out the genuine “eco” from the future “city”.


At the time of publishing this issue, over 12,000 world leaders and experts are meeting in China at the fourth session of the World Urban Forum to discuss urbanization and its impact. Will they talk about the role of education? Let’s hope so! Meanwhile, we present an array of ideas and resources for teachers and educators in the frontline of our urban future. Heloise Buckland


If we also look at the poorest cities in the world, where the urbanization process is happening at a faster pace and in many cases is out of control, can we sit back and relax, believing that we have the educational resources needed to deal with these urban realities? Do we know enough about sustainable urban development, the right to housing, risk management, community selfsufficiency, urban governance and connections between the rural

The Editorial Committee does not assume responsibility for the opinions expressed by the authors in this magazine.

The graphic work on the front cover “Abandono de la distopía” (abandoning the dystopia) is a composition made from two photos: “Salto” (jump) was taken in Bahia Rio Paraguaçu (Brazil), by Edson, a photographer and idealist, who has travelled over 10 thousand kilometres on a second-hand bike. I met him at a permaculture fair in Portugal. The second, the skyline of a futuristic city, is from a classic science fiction film (“Metropolis”, Fritz Lang, 1927); the scene is dominated by the New Tower of Babel, symbol of the panoptic power of capitalism which finally succumbs to the rebel workers. alexis urusoff ramos


The city of children is a sustainable city

autumn 2008 · cities


“It’s all the grownups’ fault” In the light of the serious problems of environmental sustainability and social degradation, ecologists, sociologists, psychologists and doctors are calling for urgent changes to make our cities habitable again. When working with children, it is surprising to discover that the city that they ask for and need is very similar to the city that experts on the subject describe.

Francesco Tonucci Director of the International Project of the Italian National Research Council Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies

ket was also brought to life here, a symbol of exchange and interaction. The historical city did not have areas separated by different social classes. Its streets were attractive as they were made up of the fine mansions of the nobles, built by great architects, and the humble houses of the artisans. Diversity enriched the city and made it pleasing to the eye. This is the same as ecosystems: an ecosystem will be healthy and full of life if it is complex and joined-up, if each of its parts interacts with others. For some decades since the Second World War, cities have managed to sell their own character down the river by adopting a model of separation and speciali-


urthermore, the city that they propose strongly resembles ancient cities. When asked how he imagined the city of the future, the acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano replied: “As similar as possible to that of the past”. It isn’t about being romantic or nostalgic, but rather it’s about reclaiming the role of public places in the city, their function as a place for meeting and exchange, a place to express diversity that has gradually been lost up to the present day. The Renaissance city was dreamt up as an alternative to the medieval model of the castle, based on the principle of separation: the powerful and wealthy feudal lords lived within the castle walls, and outside the walls was the village of the serfs and the peasants at the service of the powerful. The city broke with this way of thinking and was built around a main square, a symbol of public space. The governmental palace and cathedral were in this square, and the mar-

sation. The historical city centres have become depopulated, suburbs have emerged, neighbourhoods have been created for rich and poor, dormitory towns, cultural areas, working areas... In this modern city, thought out for adult male workers, the car has become king. Cars have caused




Education and Sustainability

the city to lose its public spaces, clean air, silence, beauty... Most citizens feel left out in this city adapted to suit working adult citizens. In fact, take a look at the streets of a city, whether large or small, and you will be hard pushed to see elderly people, children roaming freely or disabled people getting about in wheelchairs. These groups of people have been excluded from

public spaces and separate, specialised spaces have been created for them, with services for the elderly, disabled or children (infant schools, nurseries and play centres).

The right to play Children are the first to lose out in this city as they cannot exercise their most important right, recognised in article 31 of the 1989


autumn 2008 · cities


Convention on the Rights of the Child: the right to play. To be able to play properly, a child needs to be able to go out alone with his friends and experience adventure, discovery, surprise, obstacles, risk. He has to savour the sweet taste of victory and the humiliation of defeat. He needs to get to know new people, unknown places, but most importantly, get to know himself. All of this would be possible if there weren’t adults accompanying them, watching over them. This option has unfortunately become tremendously difficult in the modern world. A child in a developed country will probably spend all of his time between school, homework, afterschool classes (languages, sport, music, dance, etc.) and the television or computer, not even having the possibility of living experiences by himself or with his friends. If we continue along this path, tests, difficulties and risk will disappear from the lives of our children. When asked the question “What is play for a child?” the well-known psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto replied: “I would say that it is enjoying fulfilling a desire by overcoming risks”. This situation leads to serious developmental consequences with dramatic effects that can often be seen during adolescence. Because they have never been able to experience the risks that correspond to three, five or eight year-olds, the desire for risk, challenges and danger builds up. This explodes the first time the thirteen or fourteen year-old girl or boy gets hold of the keys to a house or a motorbike. And we are shocked and surprised by the many young victims on the roads, by the disconcerting number of cases of school bullying, by the increasingly young age that young people start smoking, drinking or taking drugs, and by incomprehensible teenage suicides.

The city of children We set up the City of Children project seventeen years ago in the light of this situation of unease, neglect and danger. The project aims to get those who govern cities to ask the children for help. We encourage them to adopt this as a new parameter (instead of the model of the adult, male worker) to evaluate and change the city based on the conviction that a city adapted to children is a better city (1 ) for everybody. The idea is to give children the right to speak, ask them for advice, listen to them and take their opinions into account. It also consists of returning autonomy to children, allowing them to fully exercise their citizenship which gives them the right to freely roam the

city’s public space. If this were to happen, children would be able to live essential experiences once again, would become more independent and would need fewer toys, less TV and fewer afterschool classes. For less money, children would have more fun and (2) would grow up to be healthier. If children can again experience autonomy in the city, walk to school with their friends and not with their parents, play in their neighbourhood, going to places that best adapt to the games that they choose and not just parks created especially for them, we will have achieved an important change. The city will become safer. We, the adults, deny our children freedom because the city is dangerous, but in fact the city is dangerous because it has turned its back on children. The presence of children on the streets and in squares obliges residents to look out for them, to be responsible and supportive. The Safe routes to school programme was run in different municipal areas of Buenos Aires, a suburban area with a high level of environmental degradation and hazards, with a subsequent (3) reduction of over 50% criminal activity.

What do the children suggest? After more than fifteen years experience with children’s councils and after gathering hundreds of proposals from youngsters, we can confirm that Italian, Spanish and Argentinean children share certain needs and concerns. We will now give three of the most common requests by way of example.

Public spaces Children do not want specially-designed spaces that always remain the same and where they need to go accompanied by their parents. They want to use real spaces in the city alongside other people, adults, the elderly, and thereby draw out their own spaces and experiences. A space is public if and when it is alive and visited. It is public if it corresponds to the diverse interests of diverse groups and generations of people. It is public if it can be walked or run across, if it is sufficiently safe, so that children, elderly or disabled people feel like they are at home in their own city. It is public if it is attractive. One child said “Just going to school is lovely, but the streets should also be lovely”.

Fewer cars Children come into great conflict with cars. These take up their play spaces and make the street more dangerous, justifying prohibiting them from going out alone. One child in an


Italian city made a suggestion to the mayor: “There are loads of car parks in this city, why don’t we share them? Half the space for cars and half for the children”. The suggestion was met with a condescending smile but the mayor had misjudged. The proposal was wise, and would have improved the city for everybody, not just the children.

The right to play

(1) The

project was established in Fanno, Italy and since 2006 it has been coordinated by the Italian National Research Council Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies. More than 100 Italian and international cities have signed up for the project, making up the “cities of children” network, with Rome as the main city. (2) Children in our cities are being exposed to the serious risk of childhood obesity, mainly caused by a sedentary life at home, in the car and in front of the television. Paediatricians are also in agreement with the project, insofar as it promotes autonomy in children so that they can go to school on their own or play with their friends. (3) According to that stated by the security director of the City of Buenos Aires in a public conference in July 2005.


Education and Sustainability



Children ask to be able to play, and to play for the right amount of time and every day. We do not understand why they have to go to school for so many hours (article 28 of the Convention), then they have homework to do, leaving little time for playing. If a city set itself the goal of guaranteeing that all children could play, we would need to remove all the prohibitions that currently exist in public places and community spaces (these are unlawful after the Convention). We would have to close play areas and allow them to play in public places (pavements, streets, squares, gardens). We should empower children’s self-sufficiency. A girl from Suria, a town in the province of Barcelona, said “Play areas are always flat and we can’t hide” and one boy from Buenos Aires pointed out that “For a square to be good for children it shouldn’t have too much security”. In conclusion, a girl from Rosario, Argentina, said: “It’s all the adults’ fault. We should set limits on grownups”. A terrible indictment, but if we observe the environmental degradation of our cities, the growing percentage of serious illnesses and the paucity of experiences lived by our treasured children, can we really consider this to be misleading or an over-reaction?


Lessons in urban biodiversity

What did the lizards and dragons


autumn 2008 · cities

The landscape is the appearance that we give to the land. If we were to make a comparison, imagining that the land corresponds to our head, then the landscape would be each person’s hairstyle. There would be very natural heads of hair, which would be the untouched woods; very elaborate hairstyles, which would be the well-tended crops; bald heads like the rocky or eroded areas... we could go on comparing hairstyles and landscapes.

Jordi Sargatal y Vicens Director of Fundació Territori i Paisatge, Obra Social de Caixa Catalunya


ust like a hairstyle, the landscape is modelled by the human species. Initially, some 500,000 years ago, when the human population started to settle in Catalonia, the country’s landscape was basically natural, the fruit of the evolution of vegetation and fauna which followed the strict and evolved natural laws of ecosystems without human intervention; this is only seen these days in the most hidden corners of the planet. Humans were still not able to transform things, something that they soon learnt how to do with the help of fire, but they were still able to “style” the land with crops and pasture, with tracks and villages, and later on with large infrastructures and cities. Ecosystems continued to function, obviously, following their natural rhythms, but human

intervention has always been deep and farreaching on a small scale and now also on a global scale. Man has exterminated species or has introduced new ones, has domesticated some, has changed entire habitats, and although in the past all of this took place willy-nilly, slowly, over the last century or so it has happened so quickly that many species have not been able to adapt. They have not been able to resist the pressure, and have disappeared in specific areas or have been extinguished from the planet forever. Of all landscapes, both natural and humanized, living landscapes stand out. These landscapes move thanks to the animals that live in them. They elicit human emotion and therefore more easily seduce us in environmental terms. The African savannah, for example, is




Catalonia has managed to hang onto adequate examples of biodiversity in natural and rural environments, but biodiversity also has a strong presence in urban environments, otherwise known as urban biodiversity. In fact, firstly rural environments and then urban environments have progressively taken over spaces in natural environments with varying fortune. There are very “green” urban areas and others that are totally overcrowded where it is difficult for any native animal or plant species to survive or be reintroduced. The native fauna and flora have returned, or perhaps had never left, to urban areas, villages or cities where people have their main

home, or urbanized areas with second homes, where there are good connections with natural systems and sufficient suitable habitats (the buildings themselves, tree-lined streets, parks, small “natural” areas, etc.). What did the lizards and dragons do (both species with a low dispersion capacity)? Did they cling on in tiny crevices or reoccupy new artificial stone habitats? Birds like the house martin must have gradually returned when they saw that the walls of the villages and towns looked similar to their natural rocky habitat, where they could make their nests in an even safer place due to the reduced presence of natural enemies. But the human factor soon rears its head: in some pla-

Education and Sustainability

Urban biodiversity


aesthetically beautiful, but it would not have the same power of attraction and would not be quite so stunning if it were not for the thousands of large mammals that bring it to life, that make it move, that bear witness to its richness. It is clear that fauna brings landscape to life.



ces these species, and others, have been wellreceived and are respected, and in others, by contrast, the house martin’s nests are destroyed and all kinds of birds are shot. I always say that if shops were to sell a self-running apparatus that would eat 10 g of flies and mosquitoes in the area where it is placed, everyone would rush out to buy one. This is what the house martins do, and it is low-cost: all you have to do is let them breed under the eaves or balcony. Better still, let’s talk about excrement. It is only found at certain times (during the breeding season from May to July) and in certain places (under the nest). It can be used as an exceptional fertiliser. Why go out and buy plant fertiliser from a shop when the birds will bring it straight home, and for free!


autumn 2008 · cities

The House Martin Project In order to breed, house martins need suitable places to build their nests, mud to build them and insects to eat. If we stop and think about it, all of this relates to good indicators of environmental health. Houses where house martins can nest safely are more stable and healthier; if there is mud nearby it means there are natural or naturalised areas, and if there are insects to eat it means that there are good conditions for life in general in the area. Although insects are often a nuisance, places where they have disappeared entirely can normally be put down to non-existent or scarce environmental health conditions. The presence of house martins and the number of nesting pairs should be a further indicator that helps us find out a site’s level of habitability and environmental quality. As well as finding out the number of heavens knows how many things per capita, it would also be good to find out how many house martin pairs we have per inhabitant in our villages and towns. This would be a true indicator of two

things: the health of the environment and of humanity, of respect for house martins and their nests. With all of this in mind, the Fundació Territori i Paisatge has set up the House Martin Project(1) with the collaboration of the Catalan Institute of Ornithology. The project involves taking a yearly census of the number of nesting pairs in all of the villages, towns and cities in Catalonia. This task can be done by anybody, and above all by schoolchildren. This is also a good way for them to learn the names and location of streets, learn about the birds, do statistics, work on language skills, and something that is even more important, they can help change their village’s environmental conditions and level of humanity. They can also learn to manage and lead change. House martins are encouraged to return to artificial nests if there are no nests in the village, and protection campaigns can prevent people from destroying the nests.

Our other neighbours The Fundació Territori i Paisatge’s Department of Environmental Education, with the support of the Generalitat’s Department of Education and the collaboration of Victòria Comunicació and Thalassia Estudis Ambientals, is working on learning support material entitled “Els Altres Veïns”. You can be sure that near many schools and colleges there are crops, streams, copses, the sea or even the playground or building itself where our other neighbours can be studied. These are wonderful examples of biodiversity in the shape of colonies of lizards and dragons, frogs in a small pool, house martin and titmouse nests, moles and hedgehogs. It is about studying and learning to love all the flora and fauna that surround us. They have resisted,


and we should help them live amongst us as good neighbours.

Corners of landscape, chunks of biodiversity Initially, the main goal of Territori i Paisatge was to acquire land to manage. Over these first ten years of the foundation 24 spaces have

ners and managers, but even so there are many small abandoned private properties, forgotten scraps of public property between roads and roundabouts. In short, there are many corners of landscape that we could maintain and promote as small chunks of biodiversity. This job could be done by schools and colleges, scout groups, excursion clubs, environmental NGOs


been bought in Catalonia, totalling some 8,000 ha. “Land custody” agreements have also been signed for a total of 140,000 ha. All in all this represents 4.5% of Catalonia. We are very pleased with what has been achieved, but there is still a lot of work ahead, and we need to involve the whole society. Land custody is a concept that should be of financial benefit to all owners or managers of land in Catalonia who follow good agricultural, livestock or forest practices on their estates. This means that if an individual or family looks after, for example, 100 hectares of the country with its corresponding landscape and biodiversity, and looks after it well, society will compensate them with tax allowances. If we are able to establish the concept of custody we will have a better managed country, given that we offer tools and incentives to ow-

and neighbourhood associations (why not take over custody of parks and green areas?). All of this means that with maximum involvement, and with the work done by people dedicated to education (an essential piece of the puzzle), we hope and wish that we can have a more beautiful and above all more vital country to live in. Jordi Sargatal has been director of Territori i Paisatge since its founding in 1998. He was director of the Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Empordà from its creation in 1984 until 1998, and was the driving force behind the project. He has published books and articles on birds and wildlife in general, and has been one of the three editors of the first seven volumes of the Handbook of the Birds of the World. (1)

Education and Sustainability



Travelling laboratory for mobility education MOBILE ENVIRONMENTAL UNIT (VENEZUELA) • © FELIPE GARCIA

México DF, Mexico

☎ (+52) 55 30 96 57 42/45


Mexico City is one of the most populated metropolises on the planet where around 1,200 people die in traffic accidents year upon year. The Mexican Centre for Sustainable Transport (Centro de Transporte Sustentable de México or CTS) explains that the Travelling Laboratory for Road Education (Laboratorio de Educación Vial Itinerante or LEVI) emerged as an initiative that uses education to respond to a public health problem and collaborate in training citizens. Alongside the Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental and Movilidad y Desarrollo México, and through the support provided by the World Bank, the CTS has headed up the implementation of the LEVI in primary schools in marginalised areas of Mexico City. The location of these schools near the arterial road where cars travel at high speeds and the pedestrian infrastructure is inade-

quate makes them particularly vulnerable. LEVI is being applied in schools through the use of courses and talks, drawing and dancing competitions and football matches. Particularly popular are the live shows and visits from “superheroes” such as “Captain Vial”.

The project is not just about educating children and their parents on all aspects of road safety. It is also about fostering participation and the development of community initiatives that come out of the neighbourhoods, such as the location of traffic lights, signs, litter bins and pedestrian crossings.

autumn 2008 · cities

“Vilasana” or “Marina del Brut”?


Schools taking part in Barcelona City Hall’s Agenda 21 schools’ programme have for some time now been making their voices heard with ideas that help reflect on different models for cities, offering suggestions that pupils can take with them from school to build a more sustainable city. This time, the boys and girls of the Sant Marc de Sarrià infant school have created a model to reflect on the different development models for cities by inventing and building two imaginary cities in their playground: Vilasana and Marina del Brut (roughly translated as “Healthytown” and “Dirtyport”). The inhabitants of Vilasana love and care for their land, share their natural resources, breathe clean air and use energy from renewable sources. They respect other li-

ving beings, reduce, reuse and recycle any waste generated, do exercise, eat a healthy diet, are raised to have values and help one another to build the world that they all want to live in. Marina del Brut, on the other hand, is a polluted and polluting city. Its inhabitants are not at all concerned about how the energy they use is produced. They waste water and throw all their rubbish away without separating and recycling. They travel around all day but never use public transport, eat transgenic foods, do very little sport and make life very hard for each other. Which city would you prefer to live in?

☎ (+34) 93 256 2599 ·


Addressing the urbanization of poverty

sustainable urban development

Education and Sustainability


Reversing unsustainable urban development patterns will require major changes in education. Studies in four sub-regions reveal significant gaps between the current research agendas, higher education curricula and sustainable urban development challenges. UN-HABITAT is intensifying its efforts in promoting education for sustainable development; improving access to quality basic education, reorienting existing education programmes, developing public understanding and awareness, and providing capacity building and training.


alf of humanity now lives in cities, and around one billion urban residents live in slums. The urbanization of poverty is therefore one of the most daunting challenges of the 21st century. Cities offer opportunities, but most urban development is largely toxic, segregated and

inefficient. Reversing this trend requires institutions that support sound governance and regulatory regimes, and deliver public infrastructure and social services. If cities are to come to terms with rapid levels of urbanization, they require leaders, managers and staff capable of adopting innova-


Rafael Tuts, Lars Reutersward and Helen Andreasson UN-Habitat


tive and robust approaches to planning, developing, managing and financing growth for all citizens. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate housing for all. To fulfill this mandate, pro-active approaches should be promoted, to include a strong focus on the quality and range of relevant formal educational opportunities for urban professionals. This involves helping universities and professional bodies reach out to and be relevant for urban professions.

Knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieve the MDGs UN-HABITAT has established contact with almost 1000 academic institutions and training institutes on the development of the agency’s Global Report on Human Settlements. Over the past decade, UN-HABITAT has focused on improving knowledge, skills and attitudes of local government officials and civil society

Scoping studies in four sub-regions

autumn 2008 · cities


UN-HABITAT has carried out four sub-regional studies(1) to help design interventions that can enhance the relevance of selected tertiary education institutions by addressing the challenges faced by planners and managers concerned with sustainable urban planning and development. The studies give both a quantitative and qualitative overview of higher education initiatives in the four regions, ranging from new masters courses to regional continuing education programmes. Some of the salient findings are summarized below. There is a need to expand the professional interactions beyond the departments of geography, architecture, engineering and built environment, to include economic, social, legal, business and governance components. More targeted and flexible capacity building programmes need to be implemented, which should take into account the rapidly changing needs of city managers, and which should also include the community level actors. The studies bring to the fore the need for investing in processes that bring education, teaching, research, practice and policy together through a framework of interaction, funding, and knowledge management, so that agendas for both research and development interventions are based on demand. The studies also highlight a number of promising regional education, research and professional support initiatives designed to strengthen the linkages between academia and practitioners.

Education and Sustainability UN-HABITAT’s engagement in the areas of education and sustainability includes partnering with tertiary institutions in networks of mutual exchange of knowledge and capacity building, such as developing course curricula for universities to include sustainable urban development, and developing and providing training for local government actors and professionals in this field.


partners in a range of thematic areas, including leadership and governance aspects, all geared towards enabling them to attain the Millennium Development goals of poverty reduction and sustainable development. This support has been anchored in the concept of "building capacity to build capacity" and has been accomplished by organizing regional workshops to develop capacity building strategies; facilitating expert group meetings to analyze training needs assessment; developing, jointly with national partners generic handbooks and manuals; conducting train-


ing of trainers and action planning workshops; and assisting training institutions to design and implement national training programmes. Ninety national and regional training and capacity building institutions in forty countries have benefited from such technical, methodological or catalytic financial support. The experience of an ongoing strategic urban planning project in 50 small towns in Egypt under-

improving access to quality basic education (e.g. the Human Values-based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education programmes in African and Asian cities), reorienting existing education programmes (e.g. Habitat Partner Universities), developing public understanding and awareness (e.g. the World Urban Forum), and providing capacity building and training (e.g. the development of a new Train-


Education and Sustainability

scores the efficacy of capacity building when designed as ‘learning by doing’ and integrated into an ongoing development initiative. In this case, the planning process at national scale provided the entry point and vehicle for capacity building. By training professional teams and resource persons engaged in supporting city planning efforts, capacities could be built, immediately utilized and mainstreaming initiated, both in planning practice and in academia. The collaboration between UN-HABITAT and partners on education and sustainability covers a wide spectrum of activities, including

ing Centre in Korea on sustainable urban development for the Asia Pacific region).

Sustainable Urban Development Network and Habitat Partner Universities The Sustainable Urban Development Network (SUD-Net) was developed to help strengthen the performance of national governments, local authorities and other stakeholders in enabling the development of livable, productive and inclusive cities. SUD-Net’s long term goal is to enhance climate change adaption and mi-



tigation, and preparedness of cities in developing countries, though policy dialogue, tool development, capacity building and technical assistance directly to countries. The Habitat Partner Universities collaboration is a means of enlarging cooperation with institutions of higher education, as well as facilitating exchange and cooperation between universities willing to promote the socially and environmentally sustainable development of towns and cities in developing and developed countries. UN-HABITAT works with the Habitat Partner Universities in building the capacity of tertiary institutions in teaching and research regarding the sound development of human settlements to meet the needs relevant to their context. This includes facilitating exchanges and working with tertiary institutions on enhancing the quantity and quality of research and training in sustainable urban development, aiming to make such knowledge more accessible and relevant to actors at city level.

autumn 2008 · cities

New curricula and multi-sectoral platforms The long term outcomes of the cooperation are the integration of principles of sustainable urban development into the curricula of relevant university departments, and creation of active platforms for dialogue and collaboration of universities, local government, civil society, communities and the private sector on sustainable urban development challenges and opportunities. Furthermore, outcomes are partnerships to consolidate education for sustainable urban development in universities, leading to key university and professional association staff becoming more confident, committed and knowledgeable about sustainable urban development approaches. New initiatives include the development of flexible, inter-disciplinary professional degree programmes, and other innovative teaching/research/practice partnerships. Some early results are shown below: Research work of students of the Norwegian University of Technology and Makerere University in Uganda is feeding into the sectoral studies underpinning the new Master Plan for Kampala. The Technical University of Helsinki is running a series of “Sustainable Communities” courses for young and mid-career professionals in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, UNEP, the University of Nairobi and the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. A new Masters programme on Urban Reconstruction and Development is being developed in collaboration with the University of Venice, preparing urban professionals for the challenges cities face in the wake of disasters.

The University of British Columbia is creating an ambitious global urban knowledge management system called the “Habitat Archives”, an online archive for an urbanizing world, which will enable planners, administrators and other city building professionals to gain access to greater knowledge and experience in human settlement practice. The Chalmers University of Technology has entered into agreements with the University of Nairobi, and the Maseno University in Kisumu, Kenya, on joint “reality based” education modules. This has generated joint educational programmes since 2005, and joint tutoring of PhD candidates.

The way forward UN-HABITAT aims to continue to invest in developing curricula on sustainable urban development with universities and expand its partnerships with tertiary institutions. UN-HABITAT is also currently analyzing the findings of the sub-regional studies, with the view of prioritizing intervention areas for a global support programme. Special attention will be paid to the potential of building on existing sub-regional networks of universities and urban professionals. To highlight the importance of urbanization as a key theme in education for sustainable development within the United Nations system, UNEP and UN-HABITAT will jointly host the 2009 Inter-Agency Committee meeting of the UNESCO led Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2004-2015), focusing on ‘Education for Sustainable Urbanization’. At the fourth session of the World Urban Forum, (3-6 November 2008 in Nanjing, China), the existing set of Habitat Partner Universities, as well as universities in the process of acquiring Habitat Partner University status, will meet to discuss their different approaches to working with sustainable urban development. We need to stress, however, that the envisaged efforts in the education sector should not be seen in isolation. Education alone will be insufficient as a vehicle to reach sustainable urban development if the institutions, norms and legal frameworks do not support the promotion of sustainable urban development.

References (1) The

four sub-regions are Southern Africa (8 SADEC countries); Southeast Asia (6 ASEAN countries); West Africa (6 countries from the West African Economic and Monetary Union, UEMOA); and Central America (5 countries from the Mercado Común Centroamericano, MCCA).


six sustainable cities

This experience has not just lead to a common core of teaching resources and case studies, it is also accompanied by specific training courses for teaching staff to help make the methodology and working materials more effective. The project has taken place simultaneously in six locations worldwide where pupils from different schools do not just act as agents for change in their immediate environment, but also exchange their own experiences. The results of the project have been put on the internet, directed towards students and pupils interested in sustainability.

☎ (+44) 161 921 8020 ·

Thanks to the Citizen Participation and Education and Childhood departments, the City Council of Córdoba, Spain, has introduced children into its budgeting process as agreed with the Participatory Budgeting Citizens’ Movement Council. Boys and girls get involved in the educational process and take part in drafting the city’s budget by suggesting their priorities. This process takes place through the city’s play centre service located in the city’s civic centres, primary schools, parents’ associations and community agents who provide a link between the school and the play centre. Children aged between 8 and 12 years old make their suggestions on special forms. The educational and participative proposals are directed in particular at pupils in the 3rd to 6th year of primary school. The heads of Education and Childhood and Citizen Participation meet with the parents’ associations and school heads in order to get the process moving in their district. Information on the process is sent to all primary schools so that the children can check the list of proposals and can then make new

contributions through boxes placed throughout the school. All of the city’s children are invited to a priority meeting to choose three of the children’s proposals. Six young councillors (three girls and three boys) are also chosen at these meetings. They attend the city’s Children’s Council, where the viable proposals in each district are set in motion, placing priority on the criteria of solidarity and regional balance.

☎ (+34) 957 211 100

Dreams under pedal power Edson Perdiguero Lara, a 26 year-old Chilean, had the dream of portraying people’s daily lives, hopes and struggles through an epic eco-journey. He rode 3,100 km on a secondhand bicycle through the Brazilian regions of Chapada Veadeiros, Golás, Diamantina, Bahia and Itacaré. As well as taking photos along the way, Edson wrote some 70 poems with a socio-cultural and environmental focus on the realities of the people who live in


Brazil’s rural areas, with the idea of putting these realities on display in the city at the end of his trip.

Education and Sustainability

The Learning for Sustainable Cities Project began with the idea of helping young people to explore the concept of sustainable cities by identifying opportunities for them to become agents for change. Since 2001, a group of educators from countries of the north and south has identified good practices at sustainable city level, working with local schools to trial the educational materials. The project has been coordinated from Manchester (United Kingdom), with partners in Banjul (the Gambia), Brescia (Italy), Curitiba (Brazil), Halifax (Canada) and Mumbai (India); its foundations are in teaching and continuous learning with the educational focus on education for sustainable development.

where the kids decide



The council



young agents for urban change

Guadalajara, Mexico

☎ (+52) 33 36088331/ 36088341



Skills for lifelong learning, handling information and situations, living in harmony and life within a society are some of the ideas that have been put into play in each of the school projects organised by the teaching staff at the Mixta no. 44 secondary school in Guadalajara, Mexico. The aim of the projects that the pupils are working on within the framework of programmes such as “Saving for the

future”, “Clean schools in Guadalajara” and “Regaining green areas”, amongst others, is to put into practice content acquired through self-organisation, interaction with agents outside of the school and practices linked to life within a democracy. In the case of “Clean schools in Guadalajara”, for example, pupils form work groups where each of them takes on a role: as a representative before the

school and the local government, as treasurer, as secretary, etc. They then define the goals that need to be met and strategies for achieving them, for example, setting up a circuit that encourages recycling the school’s waste. Finally, these goals and strategies are continually reviewed and assessed alongside the teaching staff, turning what started as a school project into a reason for changing the shared environment.

My people, my city,

autumn 2008 · cities

the place where I live The aims of the municipal centre for environmental education in the Spanish city of Granada are to build capacities that help people know more about and understand the city, interpret and value processes, changes and problems that take place in it, empower the attitudes of respecting and protecting the environment, and encourage citizen participation. This proposal has come about thanks to the involvement of the City Hall’s Education Department. It questions the model of a city, concentrating on new, more human and liveable models, taking into account the needs of everybody that lives in it. The programme mainly consists of a series of ecological trails through different areas of the city where participants come into direct contact with urban reality, developing their own search process and making a critical analysis of the city as a whole. In addition, based on this experience the educational innovation team Huerto Alegre has created a series of environmental education materials on the urban environment, Mi pueblo, mi ciudad, el lugar donde yo vivo, for the Environment Department of the Andalusian Autonomous Government which has been working on the


ALDEA environmental education programme alongside the Education and Science Department since 1990. It also coordinates the “Eco-schools” programme in eastern Andalusia.

☎ (+34) 958 228 496 ·


Education for sustainability, needs and limitations at universities

China, the former USSR and Latin America agents to follow their degree courses. This lack of strategic support results in students who are unable to plan an academic career in ESD in the medium and long-term. The National University of Córdoba (UNC-Argentina), through FAUD’s Institute of Human Environment “Liliana Rainis”, has been named Regional Coordinator of the SD Promo project in Latin America. From this regional position, the UNC organises and promotes conferences such as the 1st

sustainable development in the academic sphere and open new training paths for the agents outside of the university. One of the most significant areas concentrates on the sustainable planning of the university park. As the SD Promo report highlights the lack of articulation and support for local strategies and initiatives at regional level, the UNSUS programme of the UNC faces the same problems that are found in the region


Latin American Meeting of Sustainable Universities (ELAUS) and carries out various activities and projects aimed at fostering and articulating the different aspects of ESD. One of the most relevant activities headed up by the UNC is the UNSUS (Sustainable Universities) programme. The project is a local initiative set up by the Institute of Human Environment to promote the sustainable development of the university based on strategies which reach all actors (students, teachers, non-teaching staff, etc.) and sectors that are involved in the management of the UNC. The main aims of the UNSUS programme are to promote the concept of

at a local level. Although elements have been incorporated which allow greater dissemination and insertion of ESD (informative events, research, participation in conferences, exchanges with other universities), UNSUS stresses that they have not managed to achieve transformation or awareness amongst the different members of the university (teachers, students, authorities, etc.) and neither have they observed functional or environmental transformations that allow them to visualise conditions for future sustainable development.

☎ (+34) 93 405 4375 · ☎ (+54) 351 4332091/96 ·


Education and Sustainability

A regional study on the need for education in sustainability has been carried out in China, the former USSR and Latin America within the framework of the SD Promo project. This is part of an initiative launched by a group of European universities: the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the Technical University of Catalonia and the Technische Universiteit Delft in Holland. The project’s goal is to promote higher education in sustainable development based on setting up networks with higher education institutes that are interested in developing educational strategies, curriculum contents and research into sustainability. Reports, interviews and surveys have been made to students, teachers and universities who have become aware of the current position of education for sustainable development, its needs, limitations and potential action areas. The university is therefore not just a place where knowledge and contents in connection with sustainable development can circulate and be produced, it is also an authority that allows the educational institution to interact with other institutions, agencies and/or social authorities (government, NGO, communities). Furthermore, the university can be envisaged as a space in itself where resource administration, economic planning and the conceptualisation of the environment specific to each space (building, university park, campus, etc.) take place based on the sustainable point of view. In Latin America, the partial report that has emerged from interviews and surveys that have been made gives the perception that activities concerning education for sustainable development (ESD) have a strong presence in different countries and institutions, but they are somewhat isolated, promoted individually, without a reference context and lacking in synergy with similar activities. The report also mentions the lack of resources and funding available in the region, leading to reduced or discontinuous academic mobility amongst students and researchers, who depend on external


The urban campus:

an educational

and sustainable


“Architecture cannot ignore natural and human factors; on the contrary, it should never do so... Instead its function is to bring nature closer to us.”


Àlvar Aalto, 1936

autumn 2008 · cities


The physical space of higher education goes beyond fulfilling a programme of needs: the university’s quality is that of its architecture. This can be checked by doing a historical and cultural review. Therefore, a campus should be planned based on the desire for excellence in both its internal profile and its relationship with the city. Excellence, however, should likewise be committed to how it is viewed from the outside. A campus is the best vehicle for communicating to the surroundings qualities that are inherent to its own essence: spatial harmony, sensitivity to the urban environment and concern for the environment. The concepts of “educational campus” and “sustainable campus” have therefore been coined, and have sown the seeds of two recent projects. (1) Villamayor Campus, University of Salamanca (1st Prize in “Designshare - The International Forum for Innovative Schools”, 2005). The paradigm of the “educational campus” is an innovative proposal, where architecture and nature surpass their role as passive settings and become topics in themselves, serving as curricular material which builds compositional coherence and environmental quality. A campus will be considered as “educational” if it manages (beyond its function as a teaching space) to culminate in intentionally transmitting values linked to its urban-architectonic configuration. These values will enrich campus users (whether they are members of the university or not), and will play a part in the construction of an exemplary habitat. University architecture should become a lesson within the civic context, promoting innovation when it is implemented and grows in non-consolidated sectors. The Villamayor Campus will act as a stimulus for the socio-econom-

ic and cultural development of the nearby city. It offers an architectural composition that is in harmony with nature (where the splendid Tormes River sets it apart), where architecture and the environment can become one and be used for research (it is to house the Faculty of Environmental Sciences). (2) “Sustainable campus” project in San Agustín de Guadalix (restricted competition, 3rd Prize, 2007). This project seeks to create a space where renewable energies provide a guarantee of sustainability; these are outwardly expressed as a way of signalling the identity of Iberdrola who built the campus. The campus is organised into 3 sections – sun, water and wind - which represent and promote the company’s renewable energies. The design solves the problem of supplying and maintaining energy, and the urban and architectural solution seeks to display the values of solar, wind and hydraulic energies through the daring use of the form and language of these elements. Sustainability was embraced as a conceptual premise, in the sense that it was interiorised from the architect’s drawing board as an attitude rather than just a set of technical resources. In terms of urban links, sustainability is even more solid the greater the interrelation between campus and city. The current lack of consolidation of the en-

vironment meant that future expansion had to be planned centrifugally in order to bring about development, weaving a new urban fabric. There is nothing less sustainable than duplicating facilities between the university and the city. If, on the other hand, facilities for sport, culture, services, etc. are shared, this optimises investments, reduces maintenance costs and transmits the value of the common interests which should prevail in the identity of the university and the city. From a more technical viewpoint, sustainability translated into taking into account renewable energies, the appropriate orientation of buildings (the direction they face, wind directions), bioclimatic solutions (ecological façades and roofs), the design of open spaces (native plant species), waste management and an emphasis on public transport, amongst other factors. Like the former “education campus”, the “sustainable campus” aims to distance itself from excessively iconic architecture, preferring to advocate spaces which, through their silent harmony, take second place to their essential mission: the all-round training of the human being. Pablo Campos Calvo-Sotelo Doctor in Architecture, Technical University of Madrid


Yacyretá mega development project in Paraguay & Argentina


A harsh lesson to be learnt

Ana Lucia de Oliveira Architect and planner, studying for a Masters in Sustainability at the Technical University of Catalonia and MAECAECID scholarship holder


This article includes extracts from an interview with Jorge Urusoff, coordinator of the Asamblea Binacional de Afectados por Yacyretá.

he Yacyretá hydroelectric dam over the Paraná River, the property of Argentina and Paraguay, is the result of studies and projects carried out from 1920 to the present time. This project is designed to exploit the river’s potential for energy generation, improve navigation conditions and increase irrigation – the same as almost all initial aims for the construction of megaprojects around the globe.

The civil engineering works, funded by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Argentine Government, were started by the Yacyretá Binational Authority (EBY), created in the 1970s during the period of dictatorial military governments. The EBY was set up to manage and complete the construction of the dam that had been started in 1983 and had still not been finished due to delays caused by the

Education and Sustainability

The obliteration of the island of Yacyretá and the irreparable damage caused to the cities of Encarnación and Posadas in order to build a hydroelectric project serves to reflect on the consequences of today’s education and training model.




autumn 2008 · cities



increase in administrative costs and a major diversion of funds. The cities of Encarnación in Paraguay and Posadas in Argentina, located on the island of Yacyretá, directly suffer from the impacts of the dam. The dam’s facilities extend for 72 km, made up of the hydroelectric plant, navigation lock, spillways and other structures. At its current fill level, the reservoir at an elevation of 76 metres above sea level (masl) oc-

cupies a surface area of 110,000 hectares, with a flooded area of 52,600 hectares, and has a power capacity of 1,710 MW with an annual generation capacity of 11,200 GWh. Current investment has already reached US$ 13,000 million before the work is completed. The project’s final elevation will be 83 masl, which will heighten the impacts generated previously two-fold, increasing the power capacity by 990 MW and supplying a total of 25% of Argentina’s energy demands; this country is the dam’s major beneficiary. After elevation to the final



Education and Sustainability


planned level, the total area of flooded land will be 122,000 hectares, of which 24% is in Argentine territory and the remaining 76% in Paraguay. Yacyretá is a prime example of projects which, due to the immeasurable impacts based on the construction of development conditions, break up the natural organisation that had built up on the land and in the cities. The social impact currently means that 100,000 people have been affected, with 55,000 of these having

been forcibly displaced. They have not just lost their physical space, they have also lost their living space. Prior to the project they lived in a sustainable local system of working in a harmonious community and neighbourhood, depending on fishing, the river ecosystem, fertile land and flora and fauna for shared use. The flooding process to create the reservoir destroyed the healthy systemic relationship between the riverside dwellers and their natural habitat, as well as causing poverty and hunger for those who were displaced. Many mi-


grated to nearby towns in the search of essential living conditions. All the same, the attempts of those affected to participate did not manage to gain ground in the decision-making process on relocation.

What educational proposals would you make for people who are experiencing this life-threatening situation? "You can’t tell the people who the education is aimed at (which in general is the least protected population) that they are the cause of the problems that lead to non-sustainability, so... Educating them so that they improve what others do is like doing the work in reverse!


In areas where predators are on the loose, what can you teach the victims? Paraguay is immersed in a planetary context within which the situation cannot be resolved in isolation. Deforestation, “soy-ization” and the consequent pollution all have external causes: Monsanto’s bloody-mindedness, and the ethics and morals of pseudo-businessmen, for example. Therefore education needs to restore and promote people’s human values, adapting to their time-frame and methodology in order to uphold to some extent a certain quality of life that will improve the serious dissatisfaction of people’s basic needs. It also needs to raise people’s awareness and consciousness to help them wrestle with adversity.

autumn 2008 · cities

In these cases I believe we can talk about people who also wrestle within the field of education as there are endless serious problems to be figured out. Education should serve to improve the quality of life and defend it no matter what. We have to seek educational independence so that it reaches people in a way that they can exploit to the maximum. They should not conform to the destruction of their personality and to their emasculation as individuals keen to improve and become free of oppression. This is what has happened up to now in education. This therefore implies a fight: I would call the person who knows what he has to do a fighter, as he knows the truth and follows the path towards getting things done. We cannot discuss sustainable education on a global scale because the problems of each population sector are different, the realities vary and the values being managed are different. “Even the stakeholders have different roles.” (Jorge Urusoff, coordinator of the Asamblea Binacional de Afectados por Yacyretá [bi-national union of people affected by Yacyretá dam])

Here we describe certain reparation initiatives that have taken place through citizen participation, cooperation and support in the case of other dams. The Itaipú Hydroelectric Dam on the Paraná River, property of Brazil and Paraguay, has the Cultivando Agua Buena programme which has the following objectives: clearing polluted areas; preserving flora and fauna, and environmental education as a complementary activity that goes one step further and unifies actions linked to the environment. The environmental sustainability initiatives taking place within the towns in the dam’s area of influence are based on the principles of socio-environmental responsibility and on a coresponsibility system of participation from the community, institutions, universities, governmental bodies, NGOs and associations. Salto Caxias in Brasil, a dam on the Iguazú River, offers the example of the construction of the settlements programme within a participative social process. Exercising democracy and supporting the leftist political parties and other organisations that sympathise with this ideology produced the cooperative interaction necessary for the programme’s success. The programme also restored the community by building supportive family and economy agriculture and cooperation. The construction of Yacyretá caused damage that could appear in different categories in accordance with the appraisal criterion that is to be used, and with non-quantified socio-cultural and environmental damage: the loss of Encarnación’s built and intangible cultural heritage, the loss of cultural identity of the indigenous island people, people’s means of subsistence, to name but a few. Moreover, it has lead to the loss of biodiversity, endemic species, forest resources, flora and their phytogenetic resources , cultural-ancestral habitats of indigenous communities and fertile soil for agriculture. Other problems are eutrophication, salinisation and pollution of water resources, caused by the expansion of towns in the area surrounding the dam and taken as an indirect and unanticipated effect of the project. The degradation has lead to "dead zones" of coastal waters; this name was coined in the United Nations report, “In Dead Water” . Almost 88 years of studies furnished to the Yacyretá project invite us to think seriously about the cause of these socio-environmental impacts of incalculable dimensions. The example of Yacyretá, one of over 45 thousand dams throughout the world that have affected some 80 million displaced people, is a indica-


tion of poor training models reproduced over the years in our educational system, the source of the unsustainable solutions produced in the name of economic development.

References - - www.internationa - - DÍAZ, Peña Elías, STANCICH, Elba (2000), No Más Daños en Yacyretá. Amigos de la Tierra Argentina, CEDHA, FUNAM, Fundación Proteger, Red de Asociaciones Ecologistas de Misiones, Taller Ecologista, BIC, CIEL, IRN, SOBREVIVENCIA, Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay.

International Rivers Network and Estrategias para la Conservación. Conservation Strategy Fund. en/ publications/ reports - ZAAR, Miriam Hermi. La economía solidaria como solución a la sostenibilidad de la agricultura familiar: el caso de los reasentamientos Crabi, Brasil. Scripta Nova. Revista Electrónica de Geografía and Ciencias Sociales, University of Barcelona. Special issue dedicated to the IX International Colloquium of Geocriticism. geocrit/ sn/ sn-24549.htm (2) (3) In Dead Water. Merging of climate change

- TEROL, Guillermo, REID, John (2004). Beneficios y Costos de Elevar la Cota del Proyecto Hidroeléctrico de Yacyretá. Un estudio de

with pollution, over-harvest, and infestations in the world’s fishing grounds, Norway.

Education and Sustainability





neighbourhoods from the home



In large cities in Africa and southern countries in general, spontaneously created neighbourhoods represent more than half the urban area. Most of these neighbourhoods, normally created due to country to city migration over recent decades, suffer from a serious lack of urban services due to their rapid growth. The Catalan Association of Engineers without Borders and the Cameroonian NGO ERA-Cameroun have worked in Yaoundé (Cameroun) since 2002 with the goal of improving facilities in homes located in these areas of spontaneous growth which do not have access to basic urban services. The activities are organised around neighbourhood projects; in other words, they are based on interventions founded on strengthen-

ing the social fabric and on the progressive involvement of public powers in marginal areas. The aim of these activities is that residents become aware of their rights and duties as citizens and, in turn, help homes to raise their income level so that they can increase their capacity to invest in their own homes and to pay taxes and local rates. In terms of infrastructures, the programme focuses its activities on basic service networks: roads and public spaces, the water supply and sanitation. In the socio-economic sphere, activities concentrate on giving impetus to local initiatives which create work in the neighbourhoods and respond to public services that are not managed by the local government.

☎ (+34) 93 302 2753 ·

Barcelona’s footprint

☎ (+34) 93 403 4505


autumn 2008 · cities

The Health, Safety and Environment Office of the University of Barcelona has designed and produced the exhibition A planet to be shared: The ecological footprint (Un planeta por compartir: La huella ecológica), which can be borrowed from the Barcelona Sostenible resource centre. The exhibition calculates the city’s footprint and that of the institution itself, and is accompanied by a CD that lets us calculate our ecological footprint, or in other words, the surface area that we would need to produce the resources we consume. Under the umbrella of internal training within the University itself, and still as a pilot study in a few secondary schools, this service has devised several practical workshops where role-playing is used to help us find out the impact of our daily activities on the planet, and whether Earth has sufficient resources to maintain our lifestyle. The game uses different profiles of Barcelona residents according to their habits in areas such as consumption, home, waste production and mobility.


Tourism, planning and sustainability

Conflict or coexistence? Catalonia and Barcelona are two of the key players in the current and future process of building the latest urban concentration in the European Union: the Mediterranean coast. A population of approximately 458,000,000 inhabitants is concentrated across the entire Mediterranean coastal region. If the tourist phenomenon is the epitome of that of the contemporary urban scene, it is essential that those responsible for its development attempt to transform this market phenomenon into a privileged environment for research.

A team of teachers from the ESADE Centre for Tourism Management and Intelligent Coast at the Technical University of Catalonia, are doing research into redefining the tourism and planning model of the city of Barcelona. They have designed a survey aimed at different professionals from the tourism, planning and sustainability sectors in order to reflect on whether the city’s tourism model since 1980, based on organising major events, has been a success or is coming to an end.



☎ (+34) 93 4 51 3 664

Mapping the city in green

Education and Sustainability


The international organisation Green Map System supports the creation of city green maps. This is a social project for environmental participation. The idea encourages dialogue between participants and in the neighbourhood itself, and sets the foundations to turn knowledge into responsible action in favour of a healthier environment. The activity aids skill development and promotes creativity and initiative whilst stimulating organisational ability. The rationale behind the project is to build community portraits with changing perspectives; these act as extensive inventories for political decisions and practical guides for residents and visitors. Over 350 green maps have already been published. The green maps are a guide to natural and sustainable resources for urban city living. They show a wide range of nature and ecology organisations, natural therapy and environmental education centres; they tell us where to explore and visit gardens and urban landscapes of ecological interest, unique green spaces and panoramic views; they show us how to make the most of public transport and bike lanes, and also where to find recycling points. These maps are a very interesting educational device that helps people get to know their immediate surroundings and can be used both in and out of the classroom.


National capacity-building

programme in cities

Brasilia, Brazil

☎ (+55) 61 2108/1574

The passing of City Statute law 10.257/01 alongside the Fiscal Responsibility Law approved by the Brazilian government represented greater democratisation and transparency in the city budget framework. Some years ago the need to train technical teams and political, social and technical agents who participate in the development of urban policies in cities was recognised. The Ministry for Cities has therefore set in motion the National Programme for Training Cities (PNCC).


Through the PNCC, the Ministry has a full-time training route available where it can train technical teams who are able to face the changes needed to modernise the management and development of city policies. Offering sem-

inars, courses, publications and other activities, it trains city agents, politicians and civil servants in general in the many areas that make up urban planning: finance, set-up and organisation of censuses, traffic, rainwater infrastructure, waste handling and budget setting, amongst others. Through an agenda that is regularly updated, the PNCC offers in situ and distance activities, and also sends teams to different cities for training. In addition, the Ministry of Cities supports and manages academic projects produced by the federal institutions of higher education. These are aimed at contributing to urban development, and at articulating the policies of cities and their needs at a national level with the theoretical framework and tools offered by the universities.



autumn 2008 · cities

e-games for citizens Neurônio is an organisation with headquarters in São Paulo which organises events and activities to promote “citizen activation” in companies, educational institutions, civil and government bodies. “The citizens’ game” has arisen from this programme. With a competition format, it has offered theoretical and practical exercises to university students and teachers since 2003 with the aim of training them in areas linked to social responsibility, sustainability and the development of diversity. The game allows grade students and teachers (who have been included for the first time this year) from all over Brazil to access a series of trainingbased activities and exercises that develop their leadership skills. An interesting feature of the game, introduced


in 2006, is that it works entirely in distance format through the use of elearning tools: videoconferences, tutorials, forums and digital publications. Once the training stage is completed, the game’s participants have to work on a case study: they do a research project on one of the organisations taking part in the game (companies, NGOs, etc.), analyse the context and the processes that they are involved in and discuss current and potential problems and solutions (social insertion, links with the rest of the community, etc.). Finally, participants of the game do an on-line test. Using a points system according to their results and case solving, the best participants are awarded prizes and their solutions to the cases discussed are put up on the website.

São Paulo, Brazil · ☎ (+55) 11 2122 4267 · ·


Conservation in urban planning Exchange of educational experiences between

Santiago de Chile and Collserolla

☎ (+56) 22750171


degradation, consolidate a new green area that will improve the city’s shortfall in this respect, contribute to land use ordinance by harmonious integration of the natural and urban environment, increase educational, recreational and sporting opportunities, and in short, conserve this natural and cultural heritage for future generations. One of the most important lessons learnt from the whole project has been the creation of an international support network with other peri-urban parks and environmental education. A cooperation agreement was signed with the consortium manager of Barcelona’s Collserola Park in 2003, with the understanding that these two parks have similar characteristics due to their proximity to a major city and to their prominence in Mediterranean ecosystems. The other important milestone achieved recently by the project is the inauguration of the Aguas de Ramón Information and Environmental Education Centre, thanks to the collaboration of Aguas Andinas. The entrance to the routes and to the area that we wish to protect is found here. The centre offers educational visits for schools, companies and local people in general and helps regain the historical, ecological and cultural values of the Andean Precordillera.


Education and Sustainability

The idea that prompted seven town councils of the vast metropolis of Santiago de Chile to join together to form a consortium around the Protege project in 1993 was to rescue the Andean Precordillera from neglect and abandonment as part of the natural heritage for current and future generations. This 13,352 hectare area adjacent to the city, known as the Precordillera de Santiago Natural Park, is representative on a world scale of a mountainous Mediterranean ecosystem. The aims of the project are to improve the legal, institutional and political framework to create a conservation area in the Precordillera, draw up an ordinance and management plan, foster environmental awareness amongst city-dwellers and encourage the integration of the concept of conservation in urban planning. With funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Protege has taken the Santiago Contrafuerte project a step forward, enabling the area’s Ordinance and Management Plan to be drafted. This has included the institutional agreements achieved with private landowners and public bodies, legal, environmental and planning studies, recreational and environmental education experiences, and the contributions of Chilean, international and civic specialists working together in participative workshops. A two-year action plan has been approved for the present in accordance with Chile’s Biodiversity Strategy which will combine Protege’s local and community efforts with the political actions of the government on a regional scale. Eighty-seven percent of the Chilean population live in city centres and more than 40% (approximately 6 million) are found in the capital, Santiago. The main beneficiaries of the project are, therefore, the city’s inhabitants. The future protected area seeks to mitigate the processes of the loss of biodiversity and landscape


New Technologies

education 2.0 Wiki, blog, chat, voice over IP, etc. New web 2.0 tools are popping up every year allowing people to communicate more quickly, more cheaply and (relatively) more easily. In parallel, our globalised environment leads to complex and continual changes which require us to constantly update our knowledge. Are we really making the most of these innovative technologies in the education sector? Jeremie Fosse and Idoia Arauzo ·

The Eco-Union association defends education for sustainability as one of the main tools for cultural change in society towards development that respects the environment. Specifically, short postgraduate and professional training courses on transverse topics allow individuals to adapt to new trends in the sector in collaboration with the main experts in the fields being discussed.

sonal and professional. They seek to continue to develop professionally through the course and/or retrain in disciplines closer to their personal aspirations. The course design is based on the principles of environmental educa-





(V 1. 1

autumn 2008 · cities



As a recent example of Education 2.0, Eco-Union has run two virtual editions of the introduction course to urban ecology and climate change in 2008. Of the 100 students who have undergone this training, 25% work in public administration, mainly as council employees, 25% in private companies and consultancies or are self-employed, 25% are students at the end of their studies or recent graduates and 25% work in the third sector. The average age is between 30 and 35, with more than 5 years professional experience. In general their motivation is both per-

wards sustainability. Each participant is free to work with a fully flexible timetable and personal attention but there is also weekly planning of handin dates. In terms of tools, the course combines the use of the UOC’s virtual learning platform and its own virtual social network. The training on offer is to be expanded over the coming months with courses in different formats – intensive seasonal courses, advanced courses – and several topic areas – sustainable urban mobility, bio-construction, eco-design, etc. The project will continue with its philosophy of working on the Internet, involving top experts from the private, public and associative sector in each subject offered.



Globalisation through the growing interconnection of our world is accelerating the cultural, social, technological and economic changes that we are experiencing within society. The consequence is the need for professionals and students to continue training throughout their lives (Life Long Learning). Transverse and innovative disciplines that have appeared on the educational map, such as those related to sustainability, are probably those that lead to more demand for distance learning. Non-con ven tio nal dimensions come into play in this type of training, as space-time va riables are not relevant here.

tion given in Unesco’s Belgrade Charter. The training basically consists of seven modules of approximately five hours each: climate change, energy, water, mobility, construction, public spaces and eco-design. Each module consists of required background reading, a practical exercise to be directly applied in the student’s own environment (home, work…), examples of good practice and a debate. At the end of the course, in groups or individually, a piece of work from each person’s town or city is handed in with an analysis of the obstacles and opportunities faced by the city in a move to-

Given the positive results in virtual education and the growing need for continuous training by the three sectors of society (public administration, private companies and civil organisations, NGOs and universities), UOC’s Campus for Peace is developing what will probably be one of the first virtual eco-universities in the world, tackling all knowledge disciplines from a sustainable approach. Other organisations such such as Eco-Union or Ecoserveis are actively participating in this process. Recommended links - Free virtual training programmes: - Wiki: education - Social networking: - Open Source educational material: - UOC’s Eco-university Campus for Peace: cooperacio


Green guerrillas

Eco-safaris to discover


in the concrete jungle ☎ (+21) 25942155 · A group of activists has been working since 1973 to promote urban agriculture on Manhattan Island. They occupy vacant plots in socially-conflictive urban areas and turn them into community gardens under the slogan It’s your city, dig it! They believe in the power of the community, gardening to transform the neighbourhoods. COMMUNITY GARDEN • ©© SHELLYS

There are currently more than 600 self-run community gardens. They are totally independent and the work is done by a group of volunteers. Every week, these creative and determined neighbourhood leaders provide a service to their neighbours, connecting kids with nature, providing fresh vegetables and home-grown products, offering a shady space for the elderly, planting trees and cultivating green spaces in a city with high asthma rates. These green spaces are also used as living environmental classrooms and outdoor community centres. The city centre is slowly starting to look greener and leafier, inspiring passers-by to bring similar experiences into their own neighbourhoods.


The Jane Goodall Institute, founded in 1977 and now present in more than one hundred countries, is a global non-profit organisation which tries to raise awareness, empathy and support for human, animal and environmental problems in an attempt to inspire a sea change towards a sustainable lifestyle. Jane Goodall is an internationally recognised British primatologist with more than forty years experience at the head of chimpanzee research and conservation in Africa. The Institute came to Spain in 2007 with a marked educational vocation and with the following aims: to research the species in their natural habitats and in captivity, conserve and protect the species and the environment and promote environmental education, especially in young people, through the international programme Roots & Shoots and on a Spanish scale with the Biodiverciudad programme. This programme highlights the non-sustainable lifestyle of the developed world: large amounts of non-biodegradable waste are created; the habitats of other species that we live alongside are destroyed or fragmented, with the subsequent impoverishment or loss of genetic biodiversity, species and ecosystems. The Biodiverciudad environmental education programme informs and makes people aware of the wealth of biodiversity that is all around us in the city; it is vitally important to preserve it and help people discover it. The dynamic of cities means that as well as being an educational programme it can also be combined with leisure activities. Some of the other elements found in the programme are photographic competitions, informative material in comic format, eco-safaris through the city aimed at both schools and the general public and an eco-initiative competition with prizes such as trips to Africa.

Education and Sustainability

This New York urban agricultural movement combines the perfect blend of education, organising and advocacy to help people set up their community gardens based on grassroots groups. One of the most innovative programmes is the Youth Mural Project where young people paint colourful murals for the gardens, thereby nurturing new community leaders. The other programme, the Youth, Art & Environment Fellowship Program, offers mentoring, internships and job skills to young people, who serve as community organisers, horticulturists, educators, etc.



Guidelines on making your city more sustainable

A city that that understa that educates


autumn autumn 2008 2008 ·· cities cities

The city is one of the most complex cultural “products”, loaded with meaning; it is built and destroyed every day. It is a shared project where many pieces fit together, it is a legend and a reality. The emphasis of this complexity does not lie in the city’s economic or political activity, but rather in its possibilities for exchange and interaction between people; the city is not just a space but rather the group of citizens that live in it.

Àlvar Fortuny Miró Educationalist, member of Sinèrgies cooperative


een from the perspective of social learning, knowledge is a transversal value that we should apply with a strategic view to all aspects of life, and although it is certain that the city’s educational value has not been formally recognised, we could also say that everything in a city can be used as an educational vehicle. Aspects such as land planning or democratic quality can thus

condition the type of relationships that are formed within a given community. It is clear then that the city has an educational function, as do all other natural and urban spaces. To develop this space we need to back mechanisms that include citizens in the planning process, as public spaces and resources require public debate on their design, production and management. In this


listens, nds,

Opting for socially sustainable development within the urban context means discussing what city model is appropriate for the people who live in it day after day, year after year, based on the fact that a city that is committed to its residents has to take everyone who makes it up into account and try to see things through their eyes. City planning is necessary, but more is needed to build community spirit, living together in harmony, democracy… If we wish to place a special emphasis on these aspects, we should see to it that citizens do not just identify with the city space, but also with the added values that this can generate. We need to definitively change the idea of learning that is based on the city for that of the city as a learning tool. This is a challenge that is definitely worthwhile.

- A city with democratic health: which operates mechanisms of participatory democracy and furthers processes of citizen participation. - A city that lives in harmony: which promotes civic and prosocial values. - A comfortable city for everybody: which fosters the inclusion of the most underprivileged groups, which pursues equal opportunities. - A connected city: which strengthens its associative and social networks. - A city that resolves rather than sanctions: which opts for the alternative management of social conflicts with tools such as community mediation. - A city that values its heritage: architectural, natural, social and cultural. -A city that seeks responsible consumption: which reduces, reuses and recycles.


The city education project The search for different ways of including citizens in public policies is something that is gaining ground within local governments. Citizen participation, as an exercise in participatory democracy, works within the framework of rights and citizens’ responsibilities to achieve this aim. - Collect and take into account citizens’ contributions. - Improve the design and efficacy of public policies. - Jointly responsible action from citizens and local government in public actions. - Create the foundations for fully democratic governability at a local level. The educating city directly or indirectly invites citizens to sketch out a new urban model that is better adapted and more suited to shared needs and interests. One example could be a town council that has to change the design of the pavements. What should they take into account? Shouldn’t they start by thinking about the needs of people who walk, people who use a shopping trolley, peo-

Education and Sustainability

sense, citizen participation in the organisation of the area and in the organisation and management of public aspects is indisputable evidence of community development and social progress.

If we accept this challenge, if we take as a starting point the idea that a city is not just an accumulation of inhabitants, a working space and streets to move around in, but instead also needs to be a space for providing reciprocal services, exchange, leisure and community relationships, we should consider some of the utopian ideals (taking into account that they help put us on the right track) that we should not lose sight of when aiming to create the city that educates:


Other ways of creating a city that educates



Along these lines, the participatory diagnosis seeks to find a shared view of reality that encompasses all of its complexity and that facilitates the coordinated action of all involved. In order to do this the PEC makes use of diagnostic techniques such as the creation of various maps(1): - The social structure map: which locates the area’s different socio-demographic, economic and educational realities. - The school map: which shows the position of the education system under regulation . - The educational resources map: which brings together the area’s regulated or nonregulated resources (educational activities and programmes, key actors, networks and related spaces, etc.).


- The educational vision map: which sets out the visions and concerns of the city’s residents on the subject of education, understood in a broad sense, in relation to the area and to participation. Proposals are subsequently collected during the planning stage to complete the participatory process of defining a series of strategic lines as key elements for future intervention. These lines, in turn, open out into concrete goals and measures itemised by area.

autumn 2008 · cities

ple with young children in pushchairs, people with reduced mobility? In short, they should bear in mind the perspective of everybody who may be an expert in this activity, not because of their technical knowledge but because of their daily experience As such, the Proyecto Educativo de Ciudad (PEC) is a tool for reflection and debate that was established during the second half of the eighties. Through the use of deliberative spaces of citizen participation it defines several courses of action in the city’s educational policy. Joint responsibility for this action is taken by the main actors, or in other words the local government and citizens. This involves a range of activities: analysing the city’s educational challenges and reaching consensus upon priority courses of action for education (formal, non-formal and informal); creating coordination spaces with the city’s educational resources and services and generating an understanding that is sensitive to educational issues and problems. This process of joint reflection and construction is carried out in three phases: Diagnosis > Planning > Action.

A clear advantage of this type of work is that once the process is finished, we will have achieved a series of substantive results (a final report with demonstrable information and interpretations), and also some relational results that will serve to put different agents and groups in touch helping to create networks and alliances. During the entire process the people involved do not just become informants, but instead they are active participants in the process of reflection and social change. So, to finish off, by being clear on the fact that the city is an environment that educates, and that all social agents have responsibilities in this education, we will be able to appreciate how little by little an anonymous and private scenario becomes a more inclusive realm where people coexist harmoniously, and in turn our indifference turns into commitment.

References (1)

Alegre, Miquel Àngel. "Projectes educatius de ciutat: anàlisi de l’experiència acumulada i nova proposta metodològica: resum dels principals continguts de la guia metodològica". De Prop: revista de política educativa local, no. 15 (January 2006)


Educators and sustainability in historic cities

Looking for

new educational directives and abilities are brought together to make up the curricular guidelines for training. The educators are required to develop communicative skills that focus on knowing how to adapt messages to the target group and knowing how to select information; they need to be adept at triggering dialogue and able to handle non-verbal behaviour and communication. They also need to positively appraise the development of critical thought

ring the city as just a physical context far from their personal interests; they have to understand the city as a learning environment; they must suggest and seek formulas to be active and responsible citizens; they should know about and denounce the city’s planning, social and environmental shortcomings, and not just sing its praises; they ought to highlight the pros and cons of living in the city. 35


through the activities that they guide and have to know how this can be done. The educators should be able to understand a holistic view of reality and put it into practice, meaning they should understand the functioning of the city as a system; be open to the different fields of knowledge to understand and enrich the analysis of the reality of the urban environment; understand the city as a reality on a local scale in connection with the global environment; know how to incorporate environmental dimensions (social, economic, political, historical, cultural, esthetical, physical and biological), and cause an expansion of visitors’ ideas. We believe that educators need to want to develop a commitment to their environment. This means that they have to want to stimulate the sensation of belonging to the city itself, and move away from conside-

It is also necessary to be motivated and find time to work on sustainability values, specifically those which refer to democratic citizenship: respect, tolerance, participation, responsibility and interest in public matters; respect for living in harmony and cultural diversity; solidarity between social classes and between the city’s different neighbourhoods; individual and collective responsibilities for moving towards sustainability. A historical city is a heritage city, and educators who work in it should add a historical sense to the topics they teach; they should highlight the heritage values of deserving urban landscapes and not just those that are catalogued as such; they need to present the city’s identity, customs and origins and share them with visitors; they have to know about heritage interpretation techniques and know how to apply them. All of this should take place without forgetting to discuss the city’s future or possible futures which all depend on what we do today. Rosa M. Medir Huerta and Anna M. Geli de Ciurana, University of Girona

Education and Sustainability

Over recent years, cities that have shown willing have become educating cities. In 1994 the International Association of Educating Cities was formalised, with headquarters in Barcelona. Since the beginning of the 1980s the city of Girona has got various initiatives underway to consolidate its educational role, and the Environmental Education and City Knowledge Programme was set up in 1993. The different activities are classified in two main areas: city knowledge and promoting environmental awareness amongst the city’s residents. The programme’s activities are usually guided by an educator. The results show us that educators are very concerned about which areas of knowledge to transmit, and outside observation also verifies this; educators recognise the importance of experimentalism, but in contrast, we cannot externally corroborate that their methods follow this route, quite the contrary. Other important aspects of education for sustainability are practically forgotten about: critical (and reflective) thought, team work, environmental education, thinking about the future. With the results and corresponding theoretical frameworks we have reached a proposal framed within education for sustainability. Sixty-five skills


Mediterranean cities

A thousand

young leaders

cluster together

Medcities is a network of Mediterranean coastal cities created in Barcelona in 1991 at the initiative of the Mediterranean Technical Assistance Programme (METAP), which in turn was established by the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme. Medcities provides technical advice and strengthens decentralised activities, raising awareness of urban environmental problems, especially in southern countries. Medcities’ networking is a tool used to strengthen management capacity in relation to sustainable development in lo-


for the capital

autumn 2008 · cities


The National Programme of Community Environment Promotion devised by Colombia’s Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development has trained around 6,000 community leaders since 2003. These individuals are seen as generators and promoters of processes that promote citizen participation through the “Young Environmentalists” project in the city of Bogotá. The aim of the proposal is to train 1,000 young leaders distributed throughout the different areas of the capital. The project is run based on the activities of three ministries: Interior and Justice, Social Protection through the National Learning Service and the Environment offering operational support to enable people to attend the training course. The project has two facets. Firstly, it creates a tool that

trains leaders who promote citizen participation, social control and school and citizens’ environmental projects. Secondly, young people are given the opportunity to attend free quality training that will turn them into community leaders with specific skills such as the ability to assess the environment, design proposals and run projects. “Young environmentalists” is aimed at teenagers and young people from 15 and 26 years old, with a planned total duration of 240 hours (120 for study in the classroom and 120 for fieldwork) to be carried out over 20 weekly meetings. At the end of the Bogotá experiment the results generated will be systematised and evaluated with the intention of repeating the project in other cities. Bogotá, Colombia

☎ (+571) 3323603 (1601)


cal administrations, identifying in which areas it is most appropriate to improve regional environmental conditions. The main aims of this city network are to build awareness of interdependence and shared responsibility on urban environmental policies in the Mediterranean, reinforce the technical, financial and institutional role and training of councils in the implementation of local sustainable development policies, develop the awareness and participation of citizens and consumers, and establish direct cooperation policies for the twinning of coastal Mediterranean cities.


Branding vs sustainable cities

Competing for number 1 eco-city? TRAFFIC LIGHT TREE • ©© JODI CRISP

The most sustainable city, the most economical car, the most efficient fridge... Excellence in the field of sustainability is a prized marketing value. What´s the point for teachers?



Education and Sustainability

he press agencies serve up this type of news with a somewhat mundane frequency. I have just read, for example, a recent news item from China. Today, a day like any other, they are studying turning a rural area near Beijing into the first eco-city in this vast, dynamic country. The article explains the innovations and improvements that are to be introduced and which will transform the place into a paradigm of doing things well... Quite a symbol of sustainability. A tram system will be used to reduce people’s dependence on private vehicles, and all this so soon after the typical private vehicle in China moved on two wheels, thanks to human traction! China, then, will have the most sustainable city. This would be a sufficiently interesting title in itself if it were not because over recent months the media have also hyped up other examples in the same way that they talk about the case of this Chinese city. Masdar, in Abu Dhabi, is a particularly eccentric case as it is in the middle of the desert and is being promoted by one of the main oil producers. There is also the credible case of Freiburg in Germany, or Portland in the USA, which has been chosen as the most sustainable city in the country that has the well-deserved title of “the world’s most wasteful country”.

The phenomenon of lists is not just found in the case of cities. Let’s have a look at advertising. The car with lowest emissions, we read in the advert on page 7, and on page 19 we find another vehicle that claims its slice of environmental commitment. Efficiency is now stressed as a selling point in some white goods shops. Our trusted salesman can look us in the eye, without blinking, presenting

Oriol Lladó Environmental journalist




one product after another: the most efficient fridge in the world, the most economical dishwasher... Even the electrical companies and oil companies have taken up the baton to present their products in a race that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, often with a hint of the unnerving gesticulations of schizophrenia.

autumn 2008 · cities

Our liking for lists is a response to a marketing strategy, that much is clear, and also tells us a little about humans in the early years of the 21st century. Competitive, materialistic, fast and volatile. But that thought is worthy of another article, or perhaps a whole encyclopaedia. Let’s go back to the lists. The thing is that all this fuss about which is the most sustainable city, the most efficient washing machine, the most economical car, etc. has both a positive and a negative side. The positive side is that excellence in the field of sustainability is a coveted marketing value; it is a brand that interests tourists and which seduces investors and creates business opportunities. The negative side is the hubbub that surrounds it, the worst educational tool. Confused labelling creates distrust, not curiosity; the sum of superlatives means that we look at these proposals with irony, not with the desire to find out more details. It is a shame, because pulling out this kind of list should guarantee that interesting practices and reflections are discovered. The example of Freiburg mentioned above seems to be cut and dried, but the cases of Wanzhuang, near Beijing, and Masdar, in Abu Dhabi, are very different. Which tools are avail-

able to help us see beyond the official and institutional propaganda, which most certainly carries some weight in these two cases? How can we filter out the messages for investors that the two news items probably contain? How can we separate the wheat from the chaff? Thorny stuff... Does it make sense to turn to these lists in search of learning values? It maybe doesn’t make much sense to entrust this task to these “top ten” lists. At the end of the day this should fall to the educational community, academic publications, government and producers and manufacturers through the use of stickers and labels, etc. In fact, this thought leads us into a trap. Surely the media and what they print also have immense educational and learning power? Of course they do. They have this power, but it is more difficult to control it and adapt it to curricula. They ultimately mould the way in which we see things and how we interpret them. Pretending nothing has happened is a strategy that is as comfortable as it is ill-chosen. The classification of objects or cities should be interpreted properly. The journalism world has for some time fed off the “spectacularization of information” and the lists of “the cleanest”, “most polluting”, “most efficient” and a long etcetera are becoming increasingly more common. They help simplify things and make them more attractive, which is important when in a news item. The first job for the educator and the student is to heighten their critical view. This is an essential task within


the entire educational cycle. Not just so they know how to “read” classifications, but rather know how to interpret news in general. In this case knowing how to analyse things is the first step in learning. Finally, we discover that in effect some of these lists are sufficiently interesting and certainly have learning value. This will not be the case of Wanzhuang or Masdar, but it will, for example, be the case of Portland. The US portal has offered a very interesting virtual space for some time now. It is a blend of social network and information repository. In 2006 the list mentioned above was published, classifying the city of Oregon as the most sustainable in the United States. The advantage in this case is that the people behind the classification explain the criteria used in an intelligent and somewhat exhaustive fashion in an attempt to be transparent.


The interested reader can review the items analysed and get an idea of the complexity of this venture. In truth, any type of classification is a game, a way of organising reality, always so elusive, always so multi-faceted. It is therefore important to be able to analyse the criteria followed. We certainly recommend you take a look at sustainlane.

Maybe it is not spectacular stuff, given that the Catalans are known for their cautious and careful nature, but it is a good start. The start of what? Of getting to know the lie of the land, for example. Innovative solutions. Maybe some of these towns are close to the school or college... The award is, in this case, an excuse to get to know at firsthand an experience that is worth following, that is worth getting to know. Educational work could also be more proactive in nature. Perhaps through research credits, students could work in class on a system of in-


dicators that would allow neighbourhoods or areas of the city or town to be classified according to their level of sustainability. Distant from the news mentioned above, with their hidden agendas included, this work could be an interesting way to perceive information and present it in an easy-to-understand and attractive way. The act of creating the list would mean that the student has to manage complexity. But this is not about doing mathematics. However precisely because they are not mathematics, the choice of good practices is more interesting and is even a cause for debate. As the end result after this work the student will be furnished with greater maturity when faced with headlines that talk day after day about more sustainable cities, cars with fewer emissions, or more efficient white goods. At least, then, something good will have come out of it. (1)

Education and Sustainability

But for sure, the United States is far away. It is far in terms of distance, and far in terms of the consumer culture and the administrative and political organisation. There are some interesting initiatives going on in Catalonia. The Generalitat has its environmental award scheme. The Environmental Forum has set up the Eco-city awards, with state-wide scope. The awards given to Local Environmental Initiatives by Barcelona County Council are used to highlight good practices related in this case to energy and water issues. From a different perspective the magazine Opcions also contributes rigorously and regularly to analysing consumer goods from a sustainable perspective.




Teaching Resources autumn 2008 · cities

Here we offer a selection of teaching resources related to cities, urban ecology and citizen participation which are available at different educational levels. We have prioritised original and new resources that are available in several languages and are easy to find on the Internet. Please bear in mind that some resources are suitable for several levels. The language of the resource is indicated as follows: Spa: Spanish; Cat: Catalan; Eng: English; It: Italian; Fre: French; Gal: Galician; Bas: Basque.

INFANT AND PRIMARY EDUCATION PUBLICATIONS La ciutat An interactive book that helps identify the different aspects of the city: physical (a square, the underground), social (ways of living and working), historical and functional (mobility, water pipes, etc.). From the age of 5. Anne Royer. Editorial Cruïlla, 2007

Big City Pack This pack (a book and poster) focuses on four cities: Glasgow, Phnom Penh, Santiago and Dakar. The activities invite pupils to relate their knowledge of their city with the rest of the world. It explores topics such as markets and shopping centres, transport and leisure. Oxfam, 1994. (Eng) (Spa, Cat, Fre)

Cuando los niños dicen ¡Basta! The author gives children the right to speak, and through the use of 26 phrases brings together their protests and proposals. The book sets out the importance of listening to children and of being prepared to defend their positions and needs. Francesco Tonucci. Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation, 2003 (Spa, Cat, Eng, It)

Children’s participation in sustainable development A manual which contains participative principles and methods to get children involved in environmental and community development projects. Some of the experiences presented refer to planning, design and the construction of spaces and facilities. Roger A. Hart. Barcelona: P.A.Uno. Education, 2001 (Spa, Eng)






A simulation game similar to SimCity where children can test out their skills in running a town. They have to get energy, water and other resources for the citizens, as well as planting and cutting down trees, and need to adapt to climatic variations. Includes a teachers’ guide. (Eng)

Saving Energy The Alliance to Save Energy offers educators a wide range of tools and resources to bring energy efficiency into the classroom to save energy while helping students build vital real-world skills.

Child Friendly Cities - UNICEF The UNICEF Child Friendly Cities programme aims to promote and foster the application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child within local organisations. It includes an Expert Forum, as well as a library specialising in childhood and local government. (Spa, Eng)

Greener Futures An interactive website that covers different areas such as waste, water, energy, nutrition, transport and biodiversity in the urban environment, and offers surveys, dataanalysis tools, games and puzzles that help build these topics into classic school subjects like science, geography and citizenship. (Eng)

Create your future A website for children, designed to make them think about and plan a sustainable future. It offers news, stories and other educational resources. (Eng)

Radio for change This CD-Rom contains ready to use classroom activities on the 8 key concepts of the global dimension - human rights, sustainability, conflict resolution, values and perceptions, social justice, interdependence, diversity and global citizenship. Includes worksheets, role plays, songs, quizzes and links to websites for further work.


Global Link. (Eng)

Wall to wall design This pack examines the design and construction of sustainable homes. It is intended to help students to consider sustainable issues as part of Design and Technology. There are two detailed case studies: one of Masai homes in Kenya and one of a housing scheme in the UK. Practical Action Publishing.

Published by the NGO Japan for Sustainability. (Eng) (Eng)

Teach Sustainability This website is a resource sharing database to support teachers exploring sustainability issues in their classrooms. This database allows open and free sharing of resources that have been developed or sourced by school teachers and educators.

Adventures with Bobbie Bigfoot This website provides an interactive quiz to help kids understand how food choices, transportation choices and more affect a person’s ecological footprint. (Eng)

Ecokids EcoKids is Earth Day Canada’s environmental website for kids. It features online games, links for homework help and contests, as well as printable resources for parents and teachers.

This booklet, published by the Development Education Centre South Yorkshire (UK), is aimed at school, youth and community arts groups, and outlines ways in which issues of sustainable development can be used as stimuli for creative work in art, drama, dance, music or design. DEC(SY), 1995 (Eng)

This city life: Street Children Around the World This pack, with a video and activity books, was developed to promote understanding and discussion of why young people in three different cities have chosen to live on the streets. Leeds Development Education Centre, 1999 (Eng) (Eng)


Oxfam Resources The website of the Oxfam organization provides various resources for teachers, journalists, researchers and policy-makers among others that are useful for classes. Citizenship, commerce and social aspects are worked on using their publications and resources in general. (Eng)

SimCity Electronic simulation game on the creation and running of a city. From the age of 14. (Spa, Fre, It, Eng)

Education and Sustainability (Eng)

Imaginative Leaps: Creative arts and sustainable development



Global Dimension Website

MySust.House is an interactive game that allows you to choose between different design elements when building a home that is ecologically sound, healthy and suits your needs.

This website is a guide to books, films, posters and other teaching materials which support global, intercultural and environmental understanding. (Eng) (Eng)

Sustainable Schools WEBSITES Future Scapes This website demonstrates how our day-to-day actions determine the sustainability of our lifestyles. It helps us to think about our choices and understand how they affect our environment - our air, water, land, climate change and greenhouse gases, waste management and biodiversity (the variety of animals and plants).

A website created by the UK Department of Education which offers multiple resources for teachers and pupils to contribute to sustainability within the curriculum, on the campus and with the community. It contains a resource library with an A to Z directory of lesson plans, learning materials, case studies and other information related to sustainable schools. (Eng)




Learning for Sustainable Cities The result of an international project with the participation of educators from cities in six countries, this website offers a series of resources and practical activities that include case studies, a training programme for trainers, glossaries of sustainable cities and assessment methods (Eng)

Urban Ecology The Educ@lia portal lets us calculate our ecological footprint by answering a questionnaire called Urban Ecology which looks at different issues (home, food, transport, buying and rubbish) and makes a calculation related to our consumption and the waste generated. Contains support material on citizenship. (Spa, Cat, Eng)

autumn 2008 · cities

MORE RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE AT: SUSchool Information, inspiration, resources and workshops for Education for Sustainable development (Eng)

CENEAM: National Centre for Environmental Educationón/ceneam01

Spa, Bas, Gal, Fre, Eng)

UN Habitat: United Nations Human Settlement Programme The United Nations Cities programme publishes a series of publications, technical reports, analyses and studies on different issues related to the sustainability of cities, including development systems and urban management, urban planning, health infrastructure, urban economies, housing finance, disaster risk management, social, gender and habitat inclusion, indicators, squatter settlements. (Spa, Eng) (Eng)

Sustainable Development on Campus: Tools for Campus Decision Makers This site includes learning modules, case studies, action plans, environmental policies, resources, forums and contacts - all designed to help administration, students or faculty implement sustainable development on campus - and also includes links to a “bookshelf” of key reports and guides covering university leadership, green campus administration, curriculum issues and student actions. (Eng)

Creating sustainable cities The author tackles the problem of urban development and the planning of sustainable cities that are in concordance with the ecological environment. It analyses urban environmental problems and offers original practical and realistic solutions. Herbert Girardet. Green Books, 2006. (Spa, Eng)

One Planet Schools An educational programme by WWF which offers a wide selection of resources for primary and secondary education. It includes different games and interactive stimuli, teachers’ forums, evaluation indexes, teaching worksheets, photos and sustainability plans for schools, amongst other materials. (Eng)

Sustainable Architecture Papers, articles, case studies and other academic resources related to building materials, design, architecture and recycling topics. ttp://



El paisaje del hombre: la conformaci贸n del entorno desde la prehistoria hasta nuestros d铆as Since the beginning of time, human beings have modelled the landscape to express or symbolise power, order, comfort, harmony, control, etc. through a variety of means, on different scales and with different forms, from small gardens to whole cities. This book explains the characteristics of 28 different cultures and their interpretation into landscapes. Geoffrey Jellicoe, Susan Jellicoe. Editorial GG - Gustavo Gili, 2004.

Urban Ecology Research Laboratory A University of Washington research centre that is studying the impact of urban development patterns on ecological conditions in the Greater Seattle area, and how these patterns alter ecological conditions (species makeup) through physical changes. (Eng)

World Changing. Change Your Thinking A selection of experiences from all over the world for a more sustainable planet. It includes a section dedicated to cities. (Spa, Eng)

Biodiversity: Sustainability and Cultures An independent quarterly publication from Uruguay. This is a compendium of articles on the biological and cultural diversity of Latin America: urban ecology, community rights, international politics, genetic resources, biotechnology and local options for resource management. (Eng)

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability Website of Local Governments for Sustainability, made up of 865 towns and cities.

43 (Eng)

European Environment Agency

Editorial GRAIN and REDES-AT. (Spa, Eng)

Landscape and Urban Planning A publication that tackles urban ecology and land-use issues from a conceptual and scientific approach. The articles discuss ecological processes and interactions within urban areas, and between these areas and the natural systems that surround them. (Eng)

AASHE Publications The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education offers data sheets, publications, articles and reports that reflect the different actions that various universities and higher education institutions have adopted across the United States.


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment It is an international work programme designed to compile and create scientific information on the consequences of changes in ecosystems for human welfare and the options available to respond to these changes. The reports contain a section on urban systems. (Spa, Eng)

Leaders for a Sustainable Future The Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF) supports sustainability as a critical focus of teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities worldwide through publications, research and assessment.

European Urban Knowledge Network Portal The main aim of this network is to promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences related to the urban environment as a tool to support the definition of urban policies. Each country has its own website for its national network. (Eng, Spa) (Eng)

Sustainable Concordia This is an organization that strives to create a culture of sustainability at Concordia University, and thereby improve the university community by making Concordia an ecologically aware, economically responsible and socially equitable institution. (Eng)

Urban Ecology Institute A non-profit organisation founded in the Boston College Law School (USA) that promotes the health of urban ecosystems through education, research and advocacy. The website contains learning resources and information on their educational programme and the Natural Cities programme. (Eng)

The global footprint network Information and resources to investigate and develop programmes towards the calculation system that measures the ecological resource use and resource capacity of nations over time. (Eng)

Education and Sustainability (Eng)

The European Environment Agency website includes a section on the urban environment, where we can find reports, news, information on indicators, publications and details of international events related to urban ecology.


Aurelijus Rutenis Antanas Mockus Šivickas

“The media should change its time-frame” Antanas Mockus is a Colombian politician and philosopher of Lithuanian descent. He has served two terms as mayor of Bogotá, was the principal of the National University of Colombia and has run for the Colombian presidency. He is currently president of the Visionarios Por Colombia movement. 44

Interview by Adriana Carolina Cortés Cardona, Doctoral Candidate in Sustainability, Technology and Humanism, UNESCO Chair of the Technical University of Catalonia.

“One of the things that most impressed me about one particular Harvard student was seeing her reusing and refilling a plastic bottle with tap water to prevent the need to consume and produce more plastic. Learning from other people is fundamental for the creation of a culture of sustainability.”

autumn 2008 · cities

What do you think is needed to get people to turn towards Education for Sustainability? One way of starting is to imagine that 50 or 100 years from now it will be possible to travel back in time. We should imagine the young people of 2050 or 2100 landing in our times and complaining bitterly about all the decisions that have had an effect on them and their quality of life. Sustainability brings the variable of time into the foreground: decisions and relationships are in one time and their consequences in another. Accepting and understanding this helps us to make the decision to be responsible so that we can realise the impact of our current behaviour on future conditions.

How do you think we can improve links between government and Knowledge Organisations (KOs) and thereby build a sustainable focus in education? The KOs have a duty to concentrate on research. It is their obligation to investigate what will happen if we do something or just let it slide, what will happen if we don’t manage to get people to follow healthier lifestyles, what will happen if we keep up current national policies. It is our duty to envisage and anticipate the future that we expect to see. However it is even more so the government’s job, and it should concern itself with making the future viable. It can’t just focus on its own administration. When making public policies we should contemplate their future consequences.

So the KOs build knowledge, the government needs that knowledge, and a natural alliance thereby emerges. In this alliance we are also aware of the fact that the KOs’ insights are not going to be taken up exactly as they appear in the field of academia and knowledge, but rather they will be reinterpreted from the government’s perspective. It is important that civil society, NGOs and pressure groups also participate.

What could be done to get educators to lean towards Education for Sustainable Development? Something that may help is public debate. I believe that public discussion nurtures what you are teaching. The work produced by publishing houses and publications from the academic community in part makes teaching practices more realistic. These days great emphasis is placed on regulation through environmental legislation, but the subject of mutual regulation should also be reflected in the work carried out. This should be done through organised civil society, citizens acting individually and collective actions, amongst other things. The emphasis on resolving everything through prison sentences and fines, or in other words tackling regulation through legal penalties, seems to me to be non-sustainable if moral and cultural regulation is not supported. I think that it would be useful as a mechanism for change for the education system to know and monitor political tools such as public debates or public policies. Colombian law says “publish and comply” but I would add to this: “publish, explain, understand and comply”.

How do you think citizens perceive a Sustainable City? In Bogotá mobility and security pose huge challenges to sustainability. In terms of mobil-


ity, cars are not sustainable so they will be heavily taxed and will become a luxury item.

consequences and implications, and also to showing that the present is the result of deci-



Public spaces and the growth and management of the city have also become areas of great importance for residents. Another point to consider is what Bogotanos are going to live off, or in other words, what will be their economic base. A further concern is integrating the city within the rest of Colombia and overcoming the country’s geographical limits. I obviously imagine a city that comes somewhere close to having the necessary know-how.

The media essentially deal with this subject both positively and negatively. Positively because they employ many emotions, and obviously if emotions are not involved the concern for remote concepts becomes blurred. The media can make use of these emotions to help make people aware of the situation and be more able to think that the choices they make today will have consequences in 20 or 40 years time. Put in another way, that today’s irresponsibility is paid for in the medium or long-term; there are also sometimes immediate consequences. The media should change their horizons in terms of time. In other words, they are known for very much working in the here and now: they love to talk about what happened yesterday, what happened today and what is happening now. They should widen the space that they dedicate to evaluating

What mechanisms from the KOs would you propose using to help citizens understand and apply the concepts of Sustainable Development? It is quite reasonable that the KOs turn to their own members as privileged witnesses to cultural change. Cultural change is a change in emotions, people have to learn to feel guilty whereas beforehand they did not, feel shame when they did not feel it before, to be fined where in the past there were no fines, but above all people should learn to appreciate what they have and this is an attitude of sustainable behaviour. In other words, it is not just about punishment or sanctions as I have mentioned; it is instead about a sense of self-recognition that means being visible, sharing the positive appraisal of something (in colloquial language making much ado about the good things), demonstrating and measuring progress, feedback and explaining the point of no return. Therefore, I believe that the best mechanisms are mutual regulation, self-regulation, certain reforms of legal instruments, and above all a great deal of discussion and debate which provides context to these efforts to be coherent in what we teach, research and do every day.

Education and Sustainability

What role do the media play in the urban environment to help promote a New Culture of Sustainability?

sions made in the distant past. The media should extend their horizons backward and forward in time and help us to educate everybody to be aware of permanence and change over time.


How do you


your you

Valentina Salzedo


(8 years old) Bogotá, Colombia I imagine a city that is safer for animals, and which protects species that are becoming extinct. That man can travel to other planets, to visit and to live there, and that 58 new planets are discovered, with hotels on all of them. That you can study from home using computers but still see your friends. I imagine there being fewer poor people.

Isabella Cardona (8 years old) Atlanta, USA I imagine my city as a large city that is part of Atlanta. The city will grow a lot and will become another neighbourhood of Atlanta.

Matilda Liu

Juan Manuel Manrique

autumn 2008 · cities

(8 years old) Bogotá, Colombia I imagine my city with flying vehicles, portable parks inside a technological device. The houses will be made of metal, and water will be supplied by robots. There will be jets for man to fly, I will be an astronaut and I’ll fly to the moon and work in tourism in outer space.

Emy Plasencia (18 years old) Barcelona, Spain The buildings will be made from different materials to protect them from the sun’s rays, they will be automated buildings, and man won’t have to think much. The cars won’t run on petrol, they will use solar panels for energy. Young people will have much more freedom.

(19 years old) Shanghai, China I imagine my city with more people and covering a bigger area. People will work from home, thanks to advances in technology. People will move freely around the world, visas won’t exist. The economy and work will be internationalized. There will be technologies that will help us to use other sources of energy apart from petrol.

Julián Camilo Villa

Salim Espinoza (8 years old) Barcelona, Spain It will be hotter and we will have to wear special clothes. Children will be more intelligent and all entertainment will be available at home, like games consoles. The air won’t be so pure anymore and there won’t be many parks.

Shi Wei (19 years old) Shanghai, China There will be more people in the cities and fewer people in the country. There will be more pollution, but I think that technology will help to change and improve things.

(18 years old) Bogota, Colombia I imagine my city with hundreds of buildings belonging to multinational businesses, everything more technological, more modern vehicles, more “interactive” advertising with the focus on protecting the environment, poverty better controlled but still existent, ID systems for people, almost everything recyclable or biodegradable, more congestion in the streets, more variety of cultures. I see it as being more developed.


urr city

Malena Pérez

in 2050?

(mother of 2 sons) Barcelona, Spain My city will have more buildings, fewer parks, or artificial parks, more roads, polluted beaches, all clothes will be synthetic, people will have many more problems to deal with related to health and the environment, there could even be immigration from planet Earth.


Patricia Lara (17 years old) Bogota, Colombia I think that the infrastructure will be much better, for example motorways, hotels, stadiums and entertainment. More of the country’s resources will be used for tourism. Infrastructure of education, health and housing will also improve. It will be more organised.

Queralt Corominas (17 years old) Barcelona, Spain I expect it will be a bit bigger than it is now, with more buildings, but full of immigrants, because if they are already here now, in 2050 it will be full of them. I hope that business and industry will have grown, compared to how it is now.

Yoshihiro Uchida (29 years old) Tokyo, Japan The population here is decreasing and at the moment there are very few young people, which means that people will have to leave the city in order to develop professionally. Education and Sustainability

Alba Busquets (15 years old) Barcelona, Spain Practically the same with streets full of building work like they are now, and always trying to improve the city. However pollution will be the order of the day, with a dirtier environment. If they were to apply very strict norms now things could change, but by the look of it, I don’t think things will change much.


Judit Fonts Coromines (15 years old) Barcelona, Spain I imagine it with a lot more people, and the increase in population will result in more pollution. There will be factories and businesses which pollute even more than those we have now. I think that this pollution will make the city lose all its charm.

Viviana Jiménez (mother of 1 daughter) Bogotá, Colombia I imagine a city with many more parks and play areas for children, ideally the parks would have lakes. I imagine greater mobility, more modern, ecological and safe transport, maybe air travel within the city. Intelligent buildings with lights that can be programmed, but at a reasonable price.


Candelaria Cesar David Farias (father of 1 daughter) The Hague, Holland I imagine a totally automated city, inundated with media and technology. A city with more people, but with faster and more efficient transport systems. Cleaner, better organised, more “sustainable”.

(29 years old) Barcelona, Spain I imagine my city grey, with lots of smog, people will have more illnesses. The city will be full of cement, they will get rid of the parks and the pavement cafes won’t have earth on the ground, but stone. Cars won’t use petrol, but will run on recycled fuels such as oil.


Lin Huyan

Juan Camilo Bernate (29 years old) Bogotá, Colombia My city will be friendly and quiet; walking around the streets will be a pleasure rather than a punishment and human beings will be more important than vehicles. Dealings with the local government will be transparent and efficient and will be the key to development by responding to what people actually need.

Carlos Andrés Castro (32 years old) Bogotá, Colombia I imagine a city with very strict environmental controls, which prioritises water and energy management in order to provide for an enormous and growing population. Solar and wind power will be used to provide energy for travel, buildings will be recycled and architecture restored.

David Kun

(32 years old) Barcelona, Spain I imagine a city with more modern systems for water treatment, where the main source of water will be that that has been treated and recirculated, instead of collected from rivers, rain or reservoirs.

autumn 2008 · cities

(expectant mother) Sanya, China With more people and more information, noisier, much more commercial and certainly more polluted. The prices of houses will rise, as will the heights of the buildings. In the future there will be more movement of people; people from here will go and live elsewhere and those from other places will come to live in our city.

Yang Fen (26 years old) Sanya, China It will still be a small city, compared with other cities in China which have populations of 20 million. There are 510,000 people in Sanya at the moment. Tourism will grow, likewise work and the economy. Pollution will be a problem solved by the government.

Ana María Brigard (father of 1 daughter) Budapest, Hungary There are two possible extremes: on the positive side, there will be recycling, use of photo cells, the water systems will be properly managed, etc. On the negative side, the city will be desertified due to our not having understood in time that the vision of sustainability is the only option we have left. Which will we leave to our children?

Alejandra Reyes (32 years old) Bogotá, Colombia A greener environment in the city, more trees and more flowers in public spaces. Safety in the city is at 80% and violent conflicts will have reduced by 60% over the past ten years. And the most important thing is that collective interests take priority over individuals.





Here we highlight some international conferences related to cities and sustainability



More than 8,000 of the world’s leading decision makers in sustainable development will meet in Barcelona for ten days to debate and share ideas, actions and solutions for a more sustainable world. Centro de Convenciones Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB)


FACING GLOBAL CHANGES FOR SUSTAINABILITY The fifth year of the international conference series on universities and sustainability. One of the Conference’s themes this year is the role of the University in generating more sustainable urban systems. Based on reinforcing the role of universities in addressing social and environmental challenges, this conference offers a new model for sustainable congresses, with a hybrid of virtual and on-site activities, some organised in the eight countries where congress nodes have been established. Technical University of Catalonia, Autonomous University of Barcelona, RCE Barcelona


CONNECTING CITIES World congress organised by the Metropolis Association with the aim of bringing together and putting in touch the leaders of the largest cities in the world, as well as organisations which work within cities to address and find solutions to problems and to changes in the world’s big cities. Sydney, Australia






HARMONIOUS URBANIZATION: THE CHALLENGE OF BALANCED TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT. Nanjing, China According to ancient Chinese philosophy, harmony implies moderation and balance in all things. The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most urgent problems being faced by the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and politics. Non-governmental organisations, community organisations, urban professionals, researchers and teachers, governments, local authorities and national and international local government associations participate in this biennial meeting. - Socially harmonious cities: equity, inclusiveness, poverty reduction, land and social housing. - Economically harmonious cities: infrastructure development, financing urban development, foreign investment, urban informal economy. - Environmentally harmonious cities: climate change; energy and resources saving; biodiversity; water, sanitation and transport; green buildings. - Spatially harmonious cities: urban planning, urban and rural linkage, integrated regional development. - Historically harmonious cities: heritage, culture, architecture, urban renewal - Harmonious cities for all age groups: youth, aging population, Internet and ICT, education and health care, sports and music




14-18 ICLEI WORLD CONGRESS 2009 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


General website showing upcoming international conferences on cities



Education and Sustainability





La ciudad conquistada

Sociedades movedizas

Jordi Borja Alianza Editorial (2003). Cat, Spa. Jordi Borja suggests different forms, strategies and critical debates for urban intervention and innovation within a global dimension and not as a mosaic of dissociated spaces. He tackles the most profound sociological and political aspects: the city with its fears and fractures, but also with its challenges and the responses made to them. Likewise he sets out present and future options for citizenship within a globalised world, the needs of political innovation and our possible horizon of rights. The conquered city is not an object but rather an objective. 50

The Art of City Making Charles Landry Earthscan (2006). Eng. City-making is an art, not a formula. The skills required to reenchant the city are far wider than the conventional ones like architecture, engineering and land-use planning. Following the widespread success of The creative city, this new book, aided by international case studies, explains how to reassess urban potential to adapt to the changing global terms of trade and mass migration.

Pasos hacia una antropología de las calles Manuel Delgado Editorial Anagrama (2007). Spa. Continuing with the deep immersion into the study of public spaces started by El Animal Público and Sociedades Movedizas, Manuel Delgado re-enters his research into the urban landscape. The author distinguishes between city and urban aspects, with “urban” being understood as everything that cannot be brought to a halt in the city, that which is viscous; the urban way of life is marked by the proliferation of precarious, unstable, lax and unstructured relationships.


A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil Maria Vaz Photography, Del Bello Pictures 52 minutes (2007). Eng, Port. This is an informative and inspirational documentary which focuses on innovation in transportation, recycling, social benefits, affordable housing, seasonal parks and other processes that transformed Curitiba into one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Manufactured Landscapes

autumn 2008 · cities

Ecología urbana Jaume Terradas Rubes Editorial (2001). Cat, Spa. Urban ecology considers that the city is a living environment and is as such an ecosystem in itself. The book therefore looks at the urban phenomenon from a scientific perspective, focusing on the study of the processes and flows that hold together the city’s metabolism. Lastly, the author explains the foundations that the city of the future will be built upon and formulates the ecological criteria for the management of major cities.

Cities Jeremy Seabrook Intermón Oxfam Edicions (2007) Cat, Spa, Eng. Jeremy Seabrook opens our eyes to reality, to the time bomb that is ticking in the major cities of poor countries: Karachi, Cairo, Nairobi, Jakarta, São Paulo, Caracas, Lagos and Lima. The author combines portraits of urban life with a wider analysis of contemporary global capitalism.

Jennifer Baichwal, Zeitgeist Films 90 min. (2007). Eng, Port. This film follows the photographer Edward Burtynsky on his journey through the urban landscapes of China. His photographs of factories, mines, quarries and dams make an art form out of the materials that we consume and their waste products. The film documents China’s massive industrial revolution and invites us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicentres of industrial endeavour and its waste.

En construcción José Luís Guerin 125 minutes (2001). Spanish. The story of the transformation of the red light district of Barcelona, threatened by a refurbishment plan; an apartment block starts to be built. After three years of filming and the construction of the building, José Luís Guerin shows us how the mutation of the urban landscape also involves the mutation of the human landscape.


Ecological footprint The ecological footprint is an environmental indicator that is defined as the area of ecologically productive land (fields, meadows, forests or aquatic ecosystems) needed to generate the resources used and to assimilate the waste and emissions produced by a certain product, service and/or population. The ecological footprint is expressed in hectares or any other indicator of surface.

We are attempting to improve the process used to come up with a more precise and up-to-date calculation of the footprint for each issue of the magazine. This process is constantly under construction and this time we have taken a total of 14 processes into account (see diagram). The final result is 6.48 m2 per copy and a total of 25,934 m2 for the total 4,000 copies of this issue.

Distribution of the ecological footprint The following diagram shows the distribution of this magazine’s ecological footprint with geographical references, from the processing of recycled fibres to obtain the paper to the magazine’s distribution and waste management on a national scale. It should be pointed out that the

printing process only takes up 2.8% of the associated footprint (this is done in Barcelona). We can therefore see that the main proportion of the impact generated by the magazine corresponds to the place of origin and processing of the recycled paper.

J Waste management (Catalonia).



Transportation of paper from Denmark to Barcelona.


I Finishing the magazine: stapling and folding (Rubí). Not available.

Transportation of waste from Barcelona to Catalonia.


G Printing service (Barcelona). 2,80%


K.4 Distribution of the magazine (from Barcelona to Catalonia, Spain and abroad).

Total calculation for all copies


1 2 3

2000 3000 4000

48 56 54

Footprint (m2) 10.664,00 19.503,00 25.934,00



1 2 3 4

2000 3000 4000 4000

48 56 54 54

Footprint (m2) 5,332 6,501 6,484 6,484

Raw materials (kg) 559,64 974,00 1.253,82


Waste (kg) 0,050 0,056 0,054 0,054

Water (litres) 1,890 1,972 2,209 2,209

Electricity (kWh) 0,840 0,876 0,981 0,981


available. F Production waste (Catalonia).Not available.

Obtaining raw material (cellulose) and recycling

Waste Water Electricidad Emissions (kg) (litres) (kWh) (kg CO2) 100,70 3.944,11 1.751,87 786,55 168,62 6.864,4 3.048,98 1.357,14 214,49 8.836,46 3.924,92 1.742,46

Emissions (kg CO2) 0,380 0,452 0,436 0,436

Raw materials (kg) 0,27982 0,325 0,313 0,313

If you wish to make any comments or suggestions, or would like to get involved with the magazine, please contact us at


Obtaining complementary raw materials (Catalonia). Not

We have included


Calculation for each copy

E Production of presses, inks, plastic, wetting liquids and developing (Catalonia). 0,038%

A Obtaining raw material – post-consumer paper (Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark). 14,02%

Paper production

We haven´t included Obtaining raw material for complementary products (ink, etc.)

Production of ink, printing presses, cloths and wetting liquids

Editing, translation, linguistic correction

Printing and binding

Design and layout

Transportation of raw materials, waste and the final product.

Waste water produced during the production cycle

Sources: El Tinter, SAL; Ecological Footprint Network – Canada; IDESCAT; Digital footprint of EUPM; University of Massachussets Amherst, USA; The Paper Research Industry Association; Dalum Papir A/S Denmark, Ljubiljana Digital Media Lab-Croatia; KHT Institutionen för Energiteknik, Suecia; ECODESIGN Company, Engineering and Management Consultancy GMBH; Ferey, Guillaume. Consultancy: Jaume Enciso, environmental consultant

Education and Sustainability

Resource Use Copies

K.2 Transportation of complementary materials from within Catalonia to Barcelona. 0,0001%

C Production waste (Denmark). Not available.

H Writing, editing, design and layout of the magazine (Barcelona). Not available.


B Paper production at the plant (Odense, Denmark). 58,25%

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4



Articles by Francesco Tonucci, Jaime Lerner and other experts on urban sustainability and the role of education. Resources, intiativies and...