In the book “The Carbon Efficient City”, there is a sentence leave me a deep impression. “…the easiest way to get lots of people to change what they do in a substantial way is to give them a better alternative that creates more perceived value and delights them.” Take Copenhagen as an example. In 2005, the Copenhagen tried to bring New City Lift to the city that struck a better balance between city life and car traffic. Instead of let squares served as the parking lot, planners and designers hope more pedestrians could stay in squares and use them. So they added lots of furniture and coffee shops to squares which attracted more people willing to stay there. At the same time, in order to relieve traffic pressure, planners and designers encouraged people to ride bicycles by making cycling became the most convenient commute in the city.
To analyze why Copenhagen could reduce CO2 emission by 20% between 2005 and 2015:
In city level: Copenhagen has a long-term plan and set up a goal that is THE FIRST CARBON NEUTRAL CAPITAL in the world by 2025. In the plan, they have a national goal that how much CO2 emission should be reduced and clear targets in different areas. And in each area, they have subgoals for industries.
In planning level: Copenhagen has a detailed plan in different aspects. Take transportation as an example. They have 15 initiatives to reduce the CO2 emission in transportation. Such as encouraging bike as main transportation, establish environment zones in dense downtown areas where only environmentally friendly cars and trucks are allowed, encourage LED lighting and so on.
In industrial level: take buildings as an example. They not only focus on design and construction but also pay attention to training building owners, renters, trade workers and consultants on CO2 reduction opportunities.
Besides those reasons above, other reasons should be taken into consideration. First is the financial reason. The second is the geographical reason. For instance, because of the flat ground and the walkable size of Copenhagen, it is possible for cycles to be the main transportation. Compare to here Seattle, ups and downs which cost by hills make it difficult for every to choose bikes as the commute.
It is no doubt with the urgency of the MP2.5 pollution problem China. Lots of strategies have been taken in response to this question, not only in government level but also in companies and individuals levels.
Take Shanghai as an example. In the November 2016, more than 10 Bicycle-sharing companies quickly raised in China, especially in Shanghai, such as OFO and MOBILK. It is a good signal that public start to react the traffic and CO2 emission problems. However, it is not going as well as Copenhagen. Without a detailed “up to down” planning, it is hard to change the situation.
As far as I noticed, even though hundreds and thousands of bikes are easy to use, there is still a high percentage of people choose their own car as the commute. One reason behind it might be related to the big size of the city. At the same time the disordered management of Bicycle-sharing also cause new social problems.
Bicycle-sharing is a good start to encourage people to use public transportation and try to educate people about the knowledge about CO2 emission. However, in order to reduce CO2 emission at it‘s source, the government should do more and related rating system to supervise industries is needed.
First, now China already have a 2030 goal that the emission of CO2 will not increase after 2030. We also need a more detailed and comprehensive plan. Besides a national goal, we need subgoals and region goals. Some rich areas such as Beijing and Shanghai could be an example for some poor areas.
Second, consider about the current situation, it isn’t a good choice to raise the tax on fossil fuels since most of the people rely on it. But we could decline the tax of clean energy and encourage new techniques such as Hybrid and electric vehicles.
Third, as a designer, we should provide opportunities for new live models and try to apply techniques in our design. At the same time, we could educate people and create new city life through our design works.