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172Re: [carfree_cities] Agenda 21

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  • Jan Scheurer
    Apr 28, 2000
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      The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) has an
      extensive website on Agenda 21 at http://www.iclei.org/iclei/la21.htm which
      is well worth checking out. One of my favourite examples of Agenda 21 in
      practice is that of the Danish municipality of Albertslund (a Copenhagen
      suburb) which has a lengthy English report on its website at
      http://www.albertslund.dk/miljoe - look for 'Agenda 21 - English'.
      While Agenda 21 can be a very powerful tool for local authorities to make
      progress on sustainability issues, including transport, with their
      communities it's also true that the number of municipalities who really get
      into it still represent a tiny minority in almost every country. Many simply
      lack the enthusiasm and/or the resources to face a task as complex as
      re-evaluating all their current practices of government, services and
      community participation with regard to resource efficiency and local
      democracy. A network that seems to lower this entrance threshold a bit has
      emerged in recent years under the name of Cities for Climate Protection
      (CCP), it is arguably less far-reaching than what Agenda 21 had intended,
      but it's a start and here in Australia, it has greatly proliferated some
      messages of local sustainability. Check it out at
      http://www.iclei.org/ccp-au/index.html .

      I've been following the debate on this list about utility vehicles in a
      carfree city and have noted how the waste removal issue has been seen as a
      bit of a challenge. I think this points to a much broader problem of how
      unsustainable policies of the past . While we have been continuously
      dispersing and decentralising our settlement patterns over the past half
      century, we seem to have simultaneously centralised urban utilities - water,
      sewage, electricity, waste and so on - into ever larger units, guided by
      efficiency gains an economy of scale may offer. Of course, this does not
      necessarily have to be the most viable solution until the end of time, and
      it makes me wonder whether during a process of reconcentrating land uses in
      a carfree or low-car city, it only makes plain economic sense (not to
      mention the environmental benefits) to decentralise to some extent these
      services - rainwater and photovoltaic power from rooftops, local sewage
      treatment, neighbourhood-based waste recycling schemes etc. The websites
      above contain a few quite interesting examples of this kind that are already
      happening around the world.
      best wishes from Perth

      Jan Scheurer
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