For my next article of sustainable European cities, I will be looking at London! Another city close to my heart, I spent the summer of 2016 living in London and working for a Labour MP. Although I never quite mastered the tube system or was able to flawlessly interlace British jargon into my daily conversations, I did notice how sustainable London is.
Speaking of the tube, London separates itself from other European transport systems by having a transportation system that largely removes the need for cars. The combination of the Tube, Overground, bikes, and buses allows for a decreased dependence on cars, which cuts down on carbon emissions. In 2011, 70% of households in London reported that they do not own a car. The efficiency of the transport system allows Londoners a reliable, sustainable, alternative to cars.
Some of my best memories in London were walking through Regent’s Park, a five minute walk from my flat. Regent’s Park was formerly a royal park that was open to the public in the early 1900s, Queen Mary’s Garden is London’s largest collection of roses with over 12,000 flowers planted within the space. London city planning utilizes many green spaces throughout the city as a sustainable environment for wildlife. It also offers Londoners a break from the car horn beeps and bustling streets.
London has been a trailblazer for climate adaptation policy, creating the world’s first climate change adaption strategy. They focused on flooding, droughts, and urban heat island. For flooding, London prepared by building defensive walls along the River Thames to limit effects of rising sea level. For droughts, they plan to design public spaces to handle water stress better, which is a typical factor in droughts. Lastly, for city heat they have built green roofs and walls that can better absorb the heat because there is nothing worse than riding the bus with no air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the summer.
Not only has the article made me nostalgic of London, it makes me proud to have lived in a city so committed to sustainability and climate adaption. To be honest, I could also go for a tea and some scones!
Written by Emma Briggs, Class of 2018
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons