Hongkong – City of Skyscrapers

Under Construction

Typical usage of bamboo as hoarding and scaffolding base material in Hongkong. Read also the Code of Practice for Bamboo Scaffolding Safety, issued by the Labor Department of Hongkong. If you want to see how the base construction looks like, take a peek at this.

See more photos of Hongkong below and in this Flickr set of mine.

Skyscraper

Skyscraper

Skyscraper under construction

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Morning Smog in New Delhi

Remember the recent news from Beijing about air quality? German newspaper ZEIT is reporting about the terrible situation in Delhi and mentioning the generally worse conditions in New Delhi than in Beijing. Not to a surprise to me who lived in Delhi for over two years, as this situation has been reported already more than once.
What is the result? Beijing’s government is trying to improve, with Delhi’s government having given up on even trying. Even worse – for me at least – is the lack of reaction from the general public on this situation. Even the report of the Times of India “Thought Beijing air was bad? Delhi’s no better” sounds more like a “I am here too” statement than a real out-cry for government regulation and industry oversight. Yet in a country that continues to be home for a third of world’s poor population and is ranked 15th on the Global Hunger Index, there are other collossal problems to be taken care of first, before a 1st World Problem such as Air Quality comes into mind.
For everyone that works in India and is facing these health challenges, I can only recommend to wear protective equipment (such as N95 masks) whenever situations deteriorate and Delhi’s sky is clocking up. Because, don’t forget, there are also beautiful days in India.
Gateway to India IV, originally uploaded by Azchael.

MegaCities and their challenges

One of the keywords of this article are so called MegaCities, a term I came to know of by the company Siemens AG, which has made the tackling of challenges, these MegaCities face, one of their business missions.

In short, MegaCities compromise of the greatest and largest urban living and working centres on Earth, such as Beijing , Berlin , New York , London , etc.

Two studies have been conducted by Siemens AG, analyzing the challenges and recommending certain levers: the MegaCity Report (pdf) and the Sustainability study of London (pdf). Both studies are highly interesting and worthwhile to read, helping us to understand, where cities are actually standing at the moment and how businesses are getting involved.

Taking a step back and leaving the business-driven studies, the C40 initiative was founded a few years ago and introduces on their website their program to make participating cities greener. Best practices illustrate recent success stories, but without the bigger picture, i.e. total emission development, despite the success stories, a conclusion cannot be drawn.

A definite conclusion that can be drawn however, is that there are challenges facing us as individuals, as well as city councils and governments on their way to actively minister their cities and contribute to something nearly everybody would agree on being a greater good (however misused this term might be).

A second conclusion I draw for myself is that these challenges cannot be tackled in a satisfying way without integrating industry and businesses into the solution, meaning that market incentives need to be created or need to be tapped to unleash the power of the market. Challenge might generate demand and demand generates supply, leaving us maybe not in a perfect cero-challenges situation, but certainly in a situation with less unsolved problems and if technology developments hasten, the right measures are demanded and transition towards emission-free technologies is possible, cities might look up to a much brighter, yet still-hard-to-work-on, future.

Further readings: