My papers in innovation and design have always helped me to understand the importance of sustainability to our environment, to ensure we could live and enjoy.
But I had never considered the importance of sustainability to ensure the survival of our cities. After starting my internship at Panuku questions started forming: How do we design sustainable future cities? Socially and environmentally thriving cities? While I haven’t yet discovered the answers to my questions – and don’t expect I will in two months – (that would be an impressive achievement), my understanding of sustainability and how it can begin to be achieved has developed in the last few weeks.
My ignorant view of sustainability held an umbrella over all things green –the need to recycle, growing CO² emissions, diminishing forests, climate change and the likes, which are all important, but tackled on their own, by people working on their own, these issues will not create an environmentally friendly or socially thriving city. My research has led me to many a best practice examples from around the globe, but has also helped me to develop a more inclusive view of the aspects which make up sustainability. I have discovered at the centre of this lies collaboration, which has become as intertwined into the word sustainability for me as environment always has been. Collaboration between people and companies, people and environments, ultimately people and people.
The Green Wave is a collaborative initiative I discovered being implemented into the super cycle highways that are growing in Copenhagen – often known as the city of cycling, where the number of bikes outnumber the amount of residents. The Green Wave is a pathway of co-ordinated traffic lights dedicated solely to favour cyclists along the main routes into the city. At a speed of 20 km/h cyclists can surf the wave of green lights directly into the city without stopping. This speed encourages a faster travel time for commuters (the average speed is 16km/h), while slowing down faster bikers who often cause accidents. The potential applications of this initiative in Auckland are exciting. The use of data sources to improve travelling bring a new notion to how transport in Auckland might work in the future. The Green Wave 2.0 is also being explored, a smart and responsive Green Wave that adapts to cyclists actual travel speed, by pulling real time measurements of travel speed from cutting edge technology.
The wave concept has turned into a representation of sustainability movement for me. The initial wave, the imposing wall of water: the title of sustainability, can perhaps make projects turn away, it is simply too massive of a task to undertake alone. But it is the water pushing the wave, the collaboration of people which has the lasting effect – the part of the wave which successfully pushes sustainability, and all that it encompasses, onwards towards open arms and sustainable cities.
Rebecca Christeller is working in our Sustainability team for the summer. She is doing a Bachelor of Business majoring in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Design at AUT and is excited about the opportunity to apply her knowledge in a practical setting.