Suggestion: Oslo-Denver-Initiative

Suggestion, 2008-08-28 |Draft|

(deutsche Fassung)

Harald Kegler

The “Oslo-Denver-Initiative” (ODI) – An initiative of CEU and CNU aimed at practical measures in urban and regional development in order to reduce the effects of climate change

On the occasion of the International Congress of the CEU “Urban Design and Climate Change” to be held in Oslo in September, 2008, the Council for European Urbanism (CEU) and the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) are starting a joint initiative of transatlantic co-operation for practical measures to be taken in urban and regional development against climate change. The foundation process of this initiative will be completed with the CNU congress that will be held in Denver in June, 2009.

This initiative is open to all interested parties, and is not restricted to European / US-American partners. Nevertheless, it is driven by the intent that these two global regions have a special responsibility with regard to climate change, and thus, should be the first to concentrate their efforts on undertaking effective steps in the field of urban and regional development against climate change.

A double strategy is pursued in this process: the reduction of already existing effects of the climate change in urban regions, that is essentially forced by man, and the prevention of further increase of climate change by means of urban regional planning and urban control.

The initiators are aware of the fact that Europe and the United States of America as important industrial regions participate in a special way in the climate change and thus have an outstanding responsibility in this respect. On the other hand, they have already initiated a whole string of different measures in order to take action against climate change. Moreover, it is obvious that the consequences of the change concern to a great extent cities and regions, which are only to a small degree responsible for the climate change forced (induced) by man. That is why these regions are invited to take part in this initiative. Truly effective steps can only be initiated in a world-wide dialogue. Around the world there are a lot of initiatives dealing with climate change, but only a few of them deal explicitly with this subject from the urbanistic point of view, particularly with regard to the practical approach of urban and regional development.

The global climate change with its social, economic, cultural and ecological dimensions is one of the top challenges for man in the 21st century. As the majority of people live in cities, urbanised and suburbanised regions, which increase the climate change as a result of carbon dioxide, and thus live in danger zones with respect to the consequences of climate change, it is one of the most important tasks that the cities and regions are first to deal with climate protection and prevention. A lot of attempts have already been made in this direction, too.

Nevertheless, we are still at the beginning. There is still a great deficiency in the areas of urban design, urban and regional planning and control of urban and regional development. The energetic reorganisation of city regions, the creation of compact, de-centralised housing spaces, the complex economical handling of resources or minimisation of auto-dependency – all these belong to the practical requirements of urban development.

The Oslo-Denver-Initiative wants to draw the attention to the urbanistic dimension of climate change and, at the same time, it wants to become effective in a practical sense. Moreover, it sees itself in the tradition of the initiative for a “Sustainable Development” that was started 20 years ago in Oslo with the “Brundtland Report”. Climate change has drawn the attention to a necessity for effective actions.

The aim of the Oslo-Denver-Initiative is, from the point of view of the urbanistic branches, the praxis and the science in the area of urbanistic climate prevention and climate impact reduction, as follows:

  1. to concentrate the exchange of new practical experiences, methods and knowledge,
  2. to initiate partnerships of various institutions, organisations and participants,
  3. to spread the practical results of concrete measures so that they can be discussed,
  4. to include politicians and lobby representatives and to sensitise them for the necessity of urbanistic approaches,
  5. to initiate and support concrete projects and measures with model character.

In the period between September 2008 and June 2009 all interested parties are invited to participate in the formation and organisation of this initiative. During this time CEU and CNU will establish the preconditions for working effectively and facilitating the effectiveness of “ODI”. Please address suggestions for participation and concrete organisational proposals to:

– for the CEU …
– for the CNU …

Harald Kegler Ray Gindroz
Chair of the CEU Chair of the CNU

Oslo, September 2008

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