B2: City of Tshwane: How to be a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient city

This post is part of our live blog series from the Resilient Cities 2015 congress. For more live blogs, please click here.

This session began with some information on how the City of Tshwane, South Africa – national winner of the 2014/15 WWF Earth Hour City Challenge – is using innovative ways to achieve green buildings, such as:

  • hotspot identification of easy-to-pick projects for 3-green-star retrofitting;
  • requiring ratings of 5 green stars for new developments;
  • using unique by-laws with incentive schemes;
  • and a very popular national campaign aimed at households called My Green Home, a TV show of sorts.

It is also using innovative ways of financing green economy projects, such as:

  • green procurement;
  • off-balance sheet arrangements with the private sector;
  • and international development cooperation in terms of renewably-powered and closed-loop food production units.

The session then continued with a workshop on Tshwane’s financing approach and its and vulnerability assessment approach (especially concerning hazard mapping). For finance, the outcomes included the notion that it sometimes can be a good idea to exploit certain loopholes in national legislation, and thoughts on how strategic finance work can be done in areas bordering with other jurisdictions.

For vulnerability assessment, one important outcome of the discussions was that it is very important not to provide GIS mapping and simply expect the audience to understand the implications, no matter how clear the legend; rather, these resources must be enhanced with very clear visuals or coupling maps such as future-projecting landscape pictures.

Also worthy of mention is that Mercedes Mathebula (Sustainability Specialist, City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality) noted how the City of Tshwane’s massive roll-out of publicly available wi-fi connections throughout public spaces and public transit

can be viewed as a sustainability project in a way since it in some sense promotes information sharing on climate resilience.

Whether this in itself is a reasonable proposition or not can be debated, but awareness raising is certainly a cornerstone of all local climate action. Not having tried the service myself I do not know if relevant links and messages are provided saliently upon logging onto the web, but if not, that could be an idea.

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