to a failed system in an age of climate change
We Need Cities of
Adaptation to Global
Warming’s Cataclysms Is No Longer an Option
“We can no longer
continue with the delusional planning
that somehow doing ‘less bad or harm’ is
Adapting to a failed system in an age of climate change, as
the devastation from Hurricane Michael attests, is failure, not
Our nation spent more than
on recovery from climate disasters
The historic barrage of hurricanes in 2017—
wiping out Puerto
Rico’s and the U.S. Virgin Islands’
infrastructure, grinding the city of
Houston to a stop, and placing Miami’s downtown streets under water—served as a
brutal and costly reminder that our major cities along the coasts have reached
a reckoning with the rising tide.
adage that a crisis is never a crisis until it is validated by disaster has
become a reality for seventy percent of our cities already dealing with
flooding, drought, fire and environmental decay.
towns and campuses can no longer champion the disingenuous framework of
climate adaptation plans based on volunteer efforts to recycle, change light
bulbs, eat less meat on Mondays or carpool with coworkers that willingly cross
a bridge to the future that everyone now knows is on the verge of collapse.
This is the first
step toward a regenerative city.
By building on
Commoner’s landmark “four laws of ecology,” urban theorist and author
as a natural
sequence in planning in an age of climate change.
“The urban metabolism
currently operates as an inefficient and wasteful linear input-output system,”
Girardet posited in his groundbreaking work in cities in Europe, Australia, and
around the globe.
“It needs to be transformed into a resource-efficient
circular system instead. The only way to overcome notions of ever-greater
scarcity is for cities to continually regenerate the living systems on which
they rely for their sustenance.”
reduced its carbon emissions by 20 percent from 2007
to 2013, and is on track to become the first carbon neutral city in the world.
The city galvanized a boom in green jobs, developed walkable neighborhoods
powered by solar energy, converted urban waste to compost and revamped local
food markets. The city also planted three million trees to absorb carbon.
In an age of climate
change, such a vision is not only an essential framework for a new climate
It may be our only