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World Town Planning Day: Women creating sustainable cities

World Town Planning Day: Women creating sustainable cities

 November 06, 2018

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World Town Planning Day was started in 1949 by a Professor in Buenos Aires to promote the value of planning all over the world. Since then, World Town Planning Day has continued to bring together planners and communities worldwide every November 8 to celebrate how we shape our cities, making them more sustainable places where we want to live, work and play together.

In 2015, challenges facing cities around the world were recognised by the United Nations and world leaders. One of the UN's global sustainable development goals is SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities which aims to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, healthy, equitable and sustainable. SDG11 has a number of indicators including adequate and affordable housing, access to sustainable transport systems and more green spaces, protecting our cultural and natural heritage, reducing environmental impact assessments and excessive land-take. Resilience needs to be built-in to minimise disasters and adapt to climate change impacts. To achieve this all levels of society need to be engaged: governments, professionals, civil society including you and I. All of this needs to be underpinned by equality, diversity and transparent participation in urban management, policies and strategies. Planners and good planning are at the heart of this. And urban planning by and for women is key.

But what makes a well-planned town?

First of all, eliminate zoning. It’s a recipe for economic, environmental, and social disaster.

Next, design streets that discourage illegal speeding: speed limit signs are not enough. From cars, we come to bikes, and the importance of designing networks and systems to increase the number of bike users for a more environmentally-friendly town.

Another golden rule: don’t give up on sprawl. Towns need to be designed, or redesigned, so urban sprawls - where the majority of people live - are sustainable and desirable places to live.

These are just some of the many areas impacting urbanisation planning. 

Talented women are planning cities of the future

For World Town Planning Day, Where Women Work takes a look at some of the innovative companies making our cities around the world smarter, resilient and more sustainable.

November 8 is a big day for anyone working towards creating more sustainable communities. World Planning Day is a celebration that brings together planners to showcase how they are developing places where future generations want to live, work and play.

From street festivals and charity events to lectures and awards, World Planning Day gives companies a platform to show how they’re helping to manage the pressing issue of urbanisation around the world. By utilising new technologies, the latest sustainable building materials and smart planning techniques these companies are at the forefront of the challenge to make the world a better place, one brick at a time.

Forging sustainable urbanisation and resilient cities

With the world’s population showing no signs of slowing down, our cities are becoming over crowded and polluted. Left unchecked cities will see rising poverty and a degradation of living standards. In the past, urban planning has forged on with little regard for the impact expansion was having on the environment or on the communities living there.

Thankfully, the problem is recognised and companies are shifting the way they are thinking about planning by looking at how to make sustainable urbanisation a reality.

AECOM resilient cities

AECOM is transforming infrastructure in exciting ways

AECOM is one company that is certainly not afraid to tackle some of these challenges head on using its global network of experts to create transformative infrastructure. And women are at the forefront of these innovative projects helping AECOM achieve its dream of finding workable solutions to some of the world’s problems.

One of AECOM’s inspiring women in construction is Letty Andreasik-Paton, a Senior Project Manager at AECOM and one of the UK Construction Week Role Models and Winner of Women in Construction Awards. She is also doing a Masters Dissertation in Construction Project Management and is conducting important research into the impact of a project’s pre-construction activities. Letty sets out to inspire students in colleges and schools to choose construction as a career and bust any myths around the image of construction.

Pat works with AECOM to transform buildings. “There is nothing like working for several years on a building and seeing it finished. It really is like giving birth to this great new being that is going to be the place that people congregate, live and work in.” Pat believes that building repositioning is going to be the future. Find out why below:

Arcadis is another company at the forefront of improving lives and communities

Arcadis is a leading global design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Using its expansive knowledge of the industry it helps to create sustainable projects that improves lives and communities. From building rail systems in Doha and providing clean water in Sao Paulo to social housing in Glasgow and transport links in Wales, Arcadis is a leading light in providing sustainable solutions to urbanisation.

Maiphee Santos, Technician at Arcadis, has a vision to build a sustainable city for the future. She was looking for an innovative way to introduce her vision and create her design with a fresh approach, so she joined the Arcadis Global Shapers Programme, which aims to create international connections.

"Given the diversity from different cultures, location, and expertise of each team ambassador, we can collaborate and create a sustainable future for our city. We share, ideate and embrace diversity of our capabilities and meet with our team ambassadors from their areas of expertise to talk about working together in the journey of building our skill sets to shape our future cities," says Maiphee.

ARCADIS Sustainability INDEX

Arcadis has also released a Sustainable Cities Index which focuses on "Citizen Centric Cities" and ranks London has number one sustainable city of 2018. The index ranks cities on people, planet and profit and explores city sustainability from the perspective of the citizen. Arcadis seeks to understand in more depth how different cities enable different citizen groups to meet their particular needs. The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index defines sustainable cities as places that are planned and managed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact, providing a resilient habitat for existing populations, without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same.

ARCADIS Sustainability

The Arcadis Index asks some important questions that governments, companies and us as citizens should consider. Why is one city more sustainable than another? Is it because of physical attributes such as a safe, resilient location or as a result of far-sighted investment in green space? Is it the result of long periods of investment in health, education and transport infrastructure, or the impact of more recent actions taken to mitigate the impacts of unfettered growth? Most importantly, how do these drivers relate to citizen needs, both now and in the future?

“Cities are powerful engines that bring people together and allow for resource sharing to meet collective needs,” says John Batten, Arcadis Global Cities Director. “Our intention is that by initiating further debate on the nature of long-term success, cities will continue to challenge themselves to meet the needs of their people for both today and tomorrow.”

Eaton powers through

Eaton - Phil Kane

Working behind the scenes, literally helping to power some of theses innovations is Eaton. A power management company, it creates energy-efficient products and services to give people the tools to use power more efficiently.

Country manager for Eaton in Ireland, Phil Kane is helping with this challenge. She says: “Power is fundamental to everything we depend on in our daily lives: vehicles, planes, hospitals, factories, data centres – the list goes on. By enabling buildings to reduce power consumption, we can help protect the environment too – through intelligent connected lighting powered by smart sensors and highly efficient LEDs for instance.”

One of Eaton's latest innovations is the LumenSafe Integrated Network Security Camera system, created to help make communities safer by delivering lighting and security cameras in one easy to install package. It hopes innovations such as this will help to make safer spaces for people to live, work and play.

Schneider Electric is harnessing new technologies

Schneider Electric - Annette Clayton women

Schneider Electric is another powerful player in the energy management and automation field. By harnessing new technologies it is able to connect devices with software and services to make today’s buildings and the people working and living in them, work smarter and more efficiently.

Annette Clayton, CEO and President of North American operations for Schneider Electric says: “Industrial companies are turning into tech companies. We’re fighting climate change through loT-enabled solutions. We help buildings become more energy efficient and secure, and remote villages more resilient.”

Moving forward together

By looking to the future while being aware of historic challenges, these companies and many more around the world are working to make our communities better. Understanding that cities can be smarter is a first step towards reaching a solution - and it is up to leading industry players to forge the way.

World Planning Day is a celebration of this and will hopefully encourage many others to join the industry and forge exciting and sustainable solutions.

Get involved in building ands shaping the smart cities of tomorrow

The world of construction is changing, and changing fast. If you want to be a part of this exciting, fast-paced industry there has never been a better time to get on board.

Search jobs from these top employers for women and find your dream job. Become part of a brave new world and help shape cities of the future.

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