STeDe-CCD Presentation: Sustainable and Territorial Development

STeDe-CCD Presentation: Sustainable and Territorial Development

Towards the end of January, the University of Johannesburg hosted its international STeDe-CCD partners and 2023 student cohort. Solid Green was invited to present around the theme of climate change and sustainable and territorial development.

STeDe-CCD is a is a two-years master’s degree course that is jointly managed by four universities – the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy), Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar (Ecuador), the University of Johannesburg and the Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo (Burkina Faso) – and three professional partners, The European Association for Local Democracy (France/Italy), ViaVia Tourism Academy (Belgium) and Fundación Pachamama (Ecuador).

The course aims to prepare experts in the area of sustainable territorial development in the context of global climate and environmental emergencies. Attending the 11-day summer school were ten international students, four international professors, two national professors and seven national students.

Marloes Reinink, director at Solid Green, spoke about the key concepts of a sustainable city or precinct, highlighting the importance of adapting policies to socio-economic and cultural contexts, and presented three case studies – Waterfall City, Sandton Gate, and Oxford Parks, which is 60% privately owned and 40% governmentally owned.

Some of the guiding principles discussed were:

  • streets as public place
  • continuity and enclosure
  • continuity of character
  • navigation landmarks
  • streets as ecosystems
  • contextual interest
  • the interaction between the human scale and the public realm

In the face of South Africa’s commitment to its net-zero targets, transport plays an essential role as it is responsible for a large part of the country’s carbon emissions. Marloes emphasised that creating walkability is the basis of a successful sustainable city. This allows people to access resources and opportunities in a safe, clean, pedestrian-friendly environment. One of the major challenges facing Johannesburg, for example, is that it is a low-density city with poor connectivity. This means that public transport is expensive, and pedestrians are faced with issues of safety and security as well as accessibility.

Marloes also mentioned the documentary Cities on Speed: Bogotá Change, which covers the transformation of Bogotá, Colombia, where investment was prioritised into parks, public areas and affordable public transport that connects residential areas to places where economic opportunities are available.

In the questions posed after her presentation, the group debated a number of issues including green gentrification, crime and safety and the energy transition. Reflecting on the discussion, Marloes says:

Interacting with the students and professors from the STeDe-CCD programme was a very rewarding experience. It is encouraging to see academic and professional institutions from several different countries coming together to further the expertise of our leaders of the future and build networks in pursuit of a better world for all.

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