How The Climate Change Problem Affects London Research Paper

Length: 11 pages Sources: 10 Type: Research Paper Paper: #18246540 Related Topics: Social Justice, Urban Design, Urban Planning, London Published August 04, 2022
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Housing Crisis vs. Climate Crisis

Introduction

This paper focuses on London, UK, as a case study in its imminent conflict between addressing the housing crisis vs. the climate crisis. The city is increasingly giving developers the green light to construct in areas that are dangerously close to or on flood areas. This situation of greed and profiting will soon be met by natures wrath. The aim of this paper is to provide evidence of historical, spatial, and theoretical awareness of the concepts and paradigms shaping urban agendas. It will discuss current approaches to challenges in the field of urbanism, integrate a clear perspective showing how the climate crisis will come to bear on strategies for urban change, and relate the question of scale to critical urban arguments. The main argument of this paper is that nature is inevitable and urban strategies must be reconciled to this fact.

Background

The housing crisis in London is the result of economic growth and overcrowding due to too little housing development. Yet because developers are seeking first to build without asking questions about sustainability, they are not really addressing the issue of the housing crisis in a strategic way. Particular to this problem is the problem of climate change. Formerly known as global warming, climate change is understood today as the unnatural or manmade cause of the increase of temperature of the planet. Usually the main cause of this rise in temperature is viewed as carbon emissions, which is why the Paris Accords and several green policies around the world have targeted reduction of carbon emissions in the coming years. Since the era of industrialization, carbon emissions have risen, and scientists and activists are concerned that the polar ice caps will melt and cause sea levels to rise above current levels, inducing flooding of any area in its plane.[footnoteRef:1] [1: L. Meyer and D. Roser, Distributive Justice and Climate Change, Analyse and Kritik: Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory, 28.2, 224.]

Solutions that have been put forward to address the problem of climate change require additional urban planning because they essentially involve a total re-ordering of society. It is one reason a Great Reset has been called for by the World Economic Forum in recent years. A societal shift to electric vehicles has been promoted, but the power for these batteries still must come from somewhere and currently the infrastructure for an all-green energy society is not in place. Nonetheless, planning for this change would focus on the need to:

Promote solar power, wind power and non-fossil fuel burning energy solutions

Promote less meat-eating and more vegetarianism

Issue a carbon tax

These steps would involve urban planning due to the fact that energy solutions would have to be considered, carbon emissions would need to be eliminated, and how people are fed would have to be changed. The question of where people will live follows, but at the slow pace of transformation currently being experienced it is likely that the flood levels will rise to destroy current building projects that will put future homes in future flood planes.

Historical, Spatial, and Theoretical Awareness

BlackRock has promoted investment in sustainability in recent years and states that the transition to a net zero world is the shared responsibility of every citizen, corporation, and government.[footnoteRef:2] However, as other researchers have pointed out, urbanization continues at a rapid pace all over the world including densely populated areas like London. These areas are typically close to the sea or to rivers, and when flood levels rise these cities will be underwateryet development continues anyway, and it is expected that by 2050 approximately more than two-thirds of the worlds population will live in a city like that of London.[footnoteRef:3] These cities like London have to effectively manage their natural resources and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while improving quality of life.[footnoteRef:4] However, that is not happening, as Morris points out. Morris notes that climate vulnerability should be understood as part of the constellation of social ills that are attendant with the housing crisis and offers a critique of the narrative around managed retreat as a solution to climate risk.[footnoteRef:5] The idea that individuals affected by climate change simply need to accept being displaced is the end result of poor governance and planning. Yet that is exactly what will happen in London, if urban development in future flood planes continues unabated. And the reason it continues unabated is greed: investors and financiers rely upon the continued expansion of the urban area in order to reap economic rewardsbut what is not being seen is any type of planning, accountability, responsibility, or understanding of what will happen to these areas when climate changes toll finally comes due. Wills notes that urban space is increasingly shaped by private finance, the tactics and breadth of housing movements are also interal to the shape of our cities.[footnoteRef:6] Unfortunately, the shape of our cities like that of London is viewed through the lens of financializationnot through the more appropriate lens of vulnerability. [2: BlackRock, From Ambition to Action, https://www.blackrock.com/us/individual/about-us/road-to-net-zero] [3: A. Dasgupta, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, http://www.wri.org/our-work/topics/sustainable-cities] [4: A. Dasgupta, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, http://www.wri.org/our-work/topics/sustainable-cities] [5: Deborah Helaine Morris, "The climate crisis is a housing crisis: Without growth we cannot retreat." InGlobal Views on Climate Relocation and Social Justice, pp. 142-151. Routledge, 2021.] [6: Jacob Wills, "Building urban power from housing crisis: London's Radical Housing Network."City20, no. 2 (2016), 292.]

Vulnerability is the key lens that needs to be applied to this problem, which is also a problem of sustainability. Morris explains that urban planning and urban strategies have to be rooted in care for the vulnerable populations because they will be the ones displaced when nature strikes back. Yet planners and strategists ignore this population because the key focus in urban planning is to support the financial rewarding of investors and developersof the top 1% in other words. The bottom 99% are not figured into the planning of urban environments. London shows all too well that when it comes to strategy the only thing that matters is how much money is to be made on a projecteverything else is a footnote. The end result will be displacement and forced mirgration, and this should represent a moral issue for strategists and planners: By placing the burden on the most vulnerable households to leave areas of high flood risk, proponents of managed retreat often replicate the narrative of moral crisis that is used to blame vulnerable communities for the social ills they endure, and simply relocates populations without reducing their total vulnerability.[footnoteRef:7] The solution to this problem is to put the challenge of planning into the hands of the community so…would like to suggest a different way of looking at space. Space can be one thing during the day and another thing at night. Or one thing during the week and another thing during weekends. Its a solution that can take place in many large cities, where people already find themselves sharing spaces.[footnoteRef:17] Through innovative planning and design, the housing crisis and the climate crisis are met as one crisis and solved as one crisisbecause the solution of creative design addresses both; it takes both seriously, and rethinks the concept of scale. [17: Busta, H. 2105. Splacer brings commercial space into the sharing economy. Architect Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/architects-launch-airbnb-for-event-spaces_o]

By eliminating green spaces and building near the waters edge, London planners are not thinking ahead but are putting financial interests first, and these are short term at best. Bovill states most clearly that the ecological footprint of design has to be considered now more than ever, and it can be considered most effectively by creating a complex nonlinear response to sustainability issues and by applying a broad understanding of multiple solution paths.[footnoteRef:18] The simplest way to approach these challenges is to remember the basic and fundamental processes of life: Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Animals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.[footnoteRef:19] Bioclimatic design can be incorporated in London housing so as to provide a framework for the development of the orientation and the shape of buildings and to ensure that everything is properly insulated.[footnoteRef:20] Builders, developers, strategists, and urban planners should remember that ventilation, how energy is consumed, how the city approaches the problem of storage, and how scale by way of sharing space are viewed are all essential aspects of urban planning and residential and commercial design that the city can use to follow the philosophy or view of nature serving as the guide. With climate change now set to make building near water a real risk, communities have to utilize the share space idea in urban planning and stop leaving so many empty structures in place that do nothing to help answer the problems of the housing crisis. Collaborative consumption and sharing spaces are the ways forward for London. [18: Bovill, C. 2014. Sustainability in Architecture and Urban Design. NY: Routledge, 1.] [19: Bovill, C. 2014. Sustainability in Architecture and Urban Design. NY: Routledge, 2] [20: Bovill, C. 2014. Sustainability in Architecture and Urban Design. NY: Routledge, 2.]

Conclusion

Nature is inevitable and urban planners have to make sure they are only projects to move forward that address the housing crisis in a way that takes the problem of climate change most seriously. The idea that development is still being done so close to the waters edge in London signals a fundamental lack of understanding that the problem of climate change is just as important as the housing crisis; moreover, the two need to be solved at one and the same time. That will happen with creative design, collaborative consumption, and attention to the share space economy as a sustainable new way to think about scale. When the urban planners of London realize that nature is not going to stop its shift, they will then see that they are responsible for doing their part in creating a sustainable community that respects the laws of nature and does not try to ignore them…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography


BlackRock. 2022. From ambition to action. Retrieved from https://www.blackrock.com/us/individual/about-us/road-to-net-zero


Bovill, C. 2014. Sustainability in Architecture and Urban Design. NY: Routledge.


Busta, H. (2105). Splacer brings commercial space into the sharing economy. Architect Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/architects-launch-airbnb-for-event-spaces_o


Dasgupta, A. 2018. WRI Ross Center for sustainable cities. Retrieved from http://www.wri.org/our-work/topics/sustainable-cities


HBNY. 2006. SsD. Retrieved from http://www.ssdarchitecture.com/works/residential/hbny-parenthetical-space/


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