Jeremy Rifkin is an advisor to the European Union and the People’s Republic of China. His recent books include, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism and The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World. He is the Executive Producer and narrator of the new film, The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy, produced by VICE Media and now available in nineteen languages on YouTube.
Toward a Smart Third Industrial Revolution
We are experiencing the beginning of an historic upheaval. The emerging Third Industrial Revolution is giving rise to a digitally-interconnected smart planetary infrastructure and a radical new sharing economy. This is the first new economic system to enter onto the world stage since capitalism and socialism in the 19th century. It is a remarkable historical event that will transform the very nature of commerce, trade, and the way we work and live. This great economic transformation is, in large part, a global response to the growing threat posed by climate change. The shift from the Holocene to the Anthropocene and from the Age of Progress to the Age of Resilience marks a turning point in the human sojourn and an extraordinary opportunity to rethink the way we manage our urban and rural environments in an increasingly unpredictable world.
Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He has written 20 books and over 340 papers on sustainable cities. Peter’s book with Jeff Kenworthy ‘Cities and Automobile Dependence (1989) has been described as ‘one of the most influential planning books of all time’ by Reid Ewing Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport. Peter has worked in local government as an elected councilor, in state government as an advisor to three Premiers and in the Australian Government on the Board of Infrastructure Australia and the Prime Minister’s Cities Reference Group. He is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia, is a Lead Author for the IPCC on a new study for accelerating a zero carbon future and his latest book is Resilient Cities: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence.
Cool Planning: Cities and Climate Change
Cities are going to need to adapt and to mitigate to climate change. This will mean preparing for slow, incremental change like Cape Town and Perth with their massively reduced rainfall that began and was predicted decades ago; such cities must make hard decisions before they collapse. Other cities are using the need to cool their atmospheres using biophilic urbanism, led by the remarkable Singapore. But disasters can also be dramatic and terrible from extreme and sudden changes in weather. Both slow and fast adaptation can be turned into a major opportunity if planners can grasp the chance to ‘bounce forward’ not just ‘bounce back’, to build mitigation into every building, precinct and infrastructure. It must be about grasping the need for disruptive innovations that can rapidly decouple fossil fuel use from GDP, a process that is now well underway. Cities are the focus of disruptive changes as they are where growth is happening. We now know how to build the Renewable City through radical reductions in the need for energy, switching to solar/wind/geothermal with batteries, and electrifying everything, especially transport. The Theory of Urban Fabrics will be used to show how different strategies are needed in different parts of the city: the high density walking city, the medium density transit city and the low density automobile city, which are found in every city. The dramatic changes that have begun in mitigation will be illustrated showing the necessary role for planners using some global innovations from my own city Perth.
Prof. Herbert Girardet is an international consultant on sustainable urban development, having worked for major cities such as London, Vienna and Bristol. In 2003 he developed sustainability strategies for South Australia that have been largely implemented. He also worked extensively across the Middle East, incl. the Saudi Sustainability Initiative, 2010-12. He has been a consultant to UNEP and UN Habitat, and is a recipient of a UN Global 500 Award ‘for outstanding environmental achievements’. He is a member of the Club of Rome, co-founder of the World Future Council, an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the World Academy of Art and Science, and visiting professor at University of the West of England. He has also produced 50 environmental TV documentaries for major broadcasters. He is author and co-author of 13 books, including: THE GAIA ATLAS OF CITIES, 2002 and 2006; CITIES, PEOPLE, PLANET – Urban Development and Climate Change, 2004 and 2008; A RENEWABLE WORLD – Energy, Ecology, Equality, 2009; and CREATING REGENERATIVE CITIES, 2015.
Regenerative Cities – making cities work for people and planet
1. The urban age: Large modern cities are vast interactive systems that function physically by turning energy and resources into products and services, potentially enabling lifestyles of abundance.
2. But: As never before, cities are dependent systems that are vulnerable to disruptions of vital supplies.
3. A new start: Decision making in an urban age must face up to these existential challenges. A new model of urbanisation sees ecology and economy not as adversaries, but as mutually reinforcing. (Drawing on the example of Adelaide.)