The Shareable Future of Cities

How many people does Steffen estimate we will have living in or near cities by mid-century?

  • 8 billion+ people

Explain how you agree or disagree with Steffen’s point that our energy use is “predestined” rather than “behavioral”.

  • I somewhat agree with his point that energy use is predestined, because it is hard to go throughout day-to-day life in cities today without using energy, like having to use lights at work or at school, or using computers to keep up with assignments.  Although, some energy used by people could be limited more, for example, instead of driving a mile or 2 to get to work, maybe you could take your bike, or even carpool with a friend.

What correlation does Steffen make between a city’s density and its climate emissions?

  • Denser areas have lower emissions, because you don’t need to travel as far (using a car) to obtain what you need because more people mean that the resources you need like milk or bread may only be a block or 2 away, so you can walk there instead of driving.

What are the “eco districts” that Steffen mentions? How you see these as feasible or unfeasible in a city like Norfolk?

  • Eco districts are sustainable neighborhoods, they have the necessities so that people do not need to use as much energy.  I think this is very feasible for cities like Norfolk, because they already have a bigger density of people which leads to having more things needed in everyday life like food in a closer radius.

Explain how you agree or disagree with the “threshold effect” that Steffen discusses related to transportation.

  • I disagree with the threshold effect.  I think that it is more of a matter of the economy and the price of gas which causes people to stop driving than the “comfort” they find in the city.

What does Steffen mean by the idea that, “…even space itself is turning into a service…”? Can you provide any examples that you see here in Norfolk or elsewhere?

  • People can share the same space, also this could refer to using the environment to benefit us.  For example, using sunlight to heat a building or open a window to let in a breeze to cool it.  In Germany, many of the houses and building have solar panels and heat the house using heated floors rather than a gas furnace.  They also have windows and doors that are specifically made to be “cracked” open slightly to let in air that will circulate the air and cool the air in the buildings.

Describe your understanding of Steffen’s argument that, “…it’s not about the leaves above, but the systems below…”.

  • He was arguing that people have all these great ideas that may look nice, but are they effective?  He pointed out that there are ways to make these ideas “greener” by using a rainwater-filter system to collect water, or turn waste back into soil to reduce the carbon from the air.

Finally, overall in what way(s) do you see Steffen’s ideas working / not working here in Norfolk?

  • I think that these ideas are already in progress, at least around ODU.  The area around ODU is fairly dense and packed with many stores and areas that can easily be traveled to by walking rather than driving.  Although, like I said previously, even though people have the ability to walk to places or ride their bikes to lower the emissions, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily will.
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