BUILDING SUSTAINABLE & RESILIENT CITIES: CONCLUSIONS OF A DEBATE ON POLICY, ADMINISTRATION, TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE, EDUCATION, HEALTH AND CONSTRUCTION

Together for a Better Tomorrow Association, in partnership with the Department for Sustainable Development within the Romanian Government, organized on June 23rd an applied debate on urban resilience, within the event “Building Sustainable & Resilient Cities”.

Speakers invited to the talks presented views on the measures to be implemented so that the cities in which we live can meet any challenge, ensuring social inclusion, education, security, sustainability and resilience.

The discussions in the first panel were opened by László Borbély – State Councilor, Coordinator of the Department for Sustainable Development, who made an objective analysis of the current reality, regarding the implementation stage of the resilient development strategy of Romanian cities, according with Sustainable Development Goal 11.

 “The pandemic has brought with it an opportunity, which we must seize, humanity has become more aware, and has begun to take clear, applied measures to stop climate change.”

In the context of the significant funds allocated through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, Mr. Borbély considers that a holistic, cross-sectoral approach is needed, designed in the key of a new paradigm. In this respect, citizens need to be more involved, there must be greater transparency of institutions, which can be achieved through digitization, and there must be close collaboration between all ministries.

The Department for Sustainable Development, coordinated by László Borbély, has in this whole process, the role of catalyst, in order to have resilient cities, for a better life for future generations.

40% of carbon dioxide emissions come from the energy services needed in buildings. One of the activities with a direct impact on the sustainability of cities is the implementation of the long-term National Strategy. The Department for Sustainable Development is involved in ensuring the secretariat and efficiency of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, which will draw up an action plan for the implementation of this strategy. The Committee brings together representatives of the Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration, the General Secretariat of the Government, specialists from ministries and representatives from research institutes and universities.

Present at the talks, Andrei Ungur – Secretary of State in the Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration, spoke about Romania’s urban policy, but also about the new Land Use, Urbanism and Construction Code, which is expected to become operational by the end of the year 2021. The new Code will bring together over 50 laws and GEOs, and brings as a novelty the simplification of the procedures regarding the obtaining of construction permits and permits.

Significant funds from PNRR will be allocated for the transition to digital, and for updating general urban and mobility plans.

According to Mr. Ungur, at present, over 70% of the cities in Romania have an urban documentation older than 10 years, which generates additional costs for those who want to get involved in the development of a locality.

Piero Pelizzaro – Chief Resilience Officer Milan, spoke about the significance and way in which the resilience strategy is implemented within the city of Milan and about the main actors that must put into practice the objectives of the urban resilience strategy. That is why, in his opinion, a holistic approach to urban resilience is needed, which interconnects all the actors involved, all the areas concerned, and all the measures that are taken. Piero Pelizzaro names as the top 3 measures to be pursued in Milan in terms of resilience strategy: the return of nature to the city, urban regeneration and the return of public space to citizens.

The year 2020 has put us in front of unexpected challenges generated by the COVID 19 pandemic, and we have realized how important it is to plan measures to reduce risks and disasters. Given that humanity has sometimes been exposed to various devastating events throughout history (extreme weather events, natural disasters) and now there is more and more talk of bioterrorism and pandemics with a high global impact, hospitals and other medical institutions are among those key elements that support the resilient development of cities and communities, and we discussed this topic with Andra Migiu – Secretary of State Ministry of Health.

On this occasion, we found out about Romania’s future plans for integrating the health system into resilient and sustainable development, how prepared Romanian cities are to face possible future disasters, but also what measures must be taken to react quickly and efficiently in the case of crises similar to the one generated by the COVID pandemic 19

In the context of achieving urban resilience through energy efficiency, Remus Hîrceagă – Partner Expense Reduction Analysts, discussed the challenges involved in the process of transforming green buildings from the perspective of energy consumption, the role and involvement of prosumers in the decarbonization process, but also green policies aggressive versus energy security.

Innovation and technology are important factors that facilitate the achievement of goals related to the sustainability and resilience of cities, and Benny Schaeken – Director of Smart Cities – Cegeka, spoke about how Cegeka is involved in this direction.

In the last 15 years, many cities in Romania have an economic growth that positions them, in terms of GDP per capita, ahead of Europe’s neighbors. That is why Romania is an interesting market for many countries and investors, which means that Romanian cities are real engines of economic development – says Grațian Mihăilescu – Founder of UrbanizeHub, speaker at the event.

Education and lifelong learning are essential components of everyday city life, so that urban communities can create sustainable and harmonious societies that include the principles of social justice, environmental resilience, economic productivity, political participation and cultural vibration.

Therefore, Panel 2 of discussions was opened by Elena Rasta – Green Schools Program Coordinator within RoGBC and Codruța Ilovan – Administrative Director at Deutsche Schule Bucharest, which is the first green accredited school in Romania, within the project initiated by RoGBC.

Codruța Ilovan spoke, among other things, about what 21st century schools should look like, and in this context, she gave us a description of the facilities offered by the school where she works, and the activities that children carry out there, how they are involved. , from an early age, in activities that contribute to learning habits and their role in society.

Resilient cities need to preserve tradition, but also innovation. We talked to Silviana Petre Badea – Managing Director of JLL Romania and Raluca Munteanu – Business Development Manager IULIUS about finding a perfect balance in urban regeneration. Iulius is known on the Romanian real estate market as the only developer and operator of mixed-use urban regeneration projects in Romania, beneficiary of a significant number of accredited green buildings.

“Public transport is the” bloodstream “of a city, and it is vital for the healthy development of an urban area,” said Cristian Macedonschi – President of Smart City Brasov. I talked to Cristian Macedonschi about the development strategy of the city of Brașov.

Airports are the main gateways for tourists, and we are glad that, finally, we will have the opportunity to reach Brasov by air. I talked to Alexandru Anghel – Brașov Airport Director, about technical and architectural novelties of the airport, but also about the opportunities that will open with the operability of the airport.

Guest of panel 2, Marius Cristea – Urban Development Expert, told us about Cluj Napoca as the most transparent city in terms of investments and its resilience plans. Cluj Napoca is also the first, and the only city in Romania, signatory of the agreement on green cities.

Marius Cristea also named some of the policies and investments that make Cluj Napoca a sustainable and resilient city, including: metropolitan train, subway, belt, parking lots with sensors, bicycle lanes, electric car charging stations, neighborhoods that have parking spaces playgrounds, parking lots with sensors, free parking spaces for electric cars, as well as the fact that taxi permits are no longer granted except for electric cars. As a novelty, Marius Cristea mentioned that work is underway to launch a bicycle and pedestrian corridor in the Someș area, on a length of 30-40 km, but also innovations on the transport fleet, which since 2022 are intended to be functional, respectively the first bus autonomous, which will run in the central area, but also a substantial fleet of hydrogen buses.

Marius Cristea also gave an overview of urban development in Romania at the moment, mentioning the main existing resilience issues, mainly those related to pollution, from various sources.

During the event, we allocated a substantial space to discussions about infrastructure and public transport, very important elements when we talk about urban resilience. Geanina Suditu – Coordinator of the Bucharest-Ilfov Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan within TPBI and Ștefan Roșeanu – TPBI Adviser – Bucharest-Ilfov Metropolitan Train Project Manager were with us for discussions

The discussions were moderated by Andrei Ioan Botiș – President of Romania Green Building Council (RoGBC).

You can follow everything that was discussed at the event, by accessing the link https://www.facebook.com/IdeaEventsCF/videos/1069649040230802 (Facebook: IdeaEventsCF)

Main partner: Department for Sustainable Development

Strategic partners: Next Energy Partners, Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), Private Jets Europe, NAI Romania

Institutional partner: Romania Green Building Council

Media partners: igloo, SpațiulConstruit.ro, Netv, Rhapsody Magazine

An event organized by Idea Events