HOW TO DESIGN AN ECO CITY
An Eco City helps to encourage future urban redevelopment plans to consider sustainability. Sustaniability will be best achieved using the Mottainai campaign.
Mottainai is an ancient Buddhist term from Japan that means to have respect for the resources around you, to not waste resources, and to use them with a sense of gratitude. The concept is closely associated with the conservation practices that people most commonly recognize as the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – with a fourth R for respect.
In Kenya, the Mottainai campaign was initiated by Professor Wangari Maathai to eliminate waste plastic from littering the natural environment.
The proposed Eco City will include the following key features in its aim to reduce the Carbon footprint in line with the Mottainai campaign.
• Well designed squares, gardens and open spaces which will be landscaped. Existing trees will be preserved where possible. These gardens will act as socializing spaces where people can take a well deserved rest as they socialize with each other. Nooks will be designed within the landscape for additional tree planting.
A target of 20% of the surface to be green should be envisioned.
Developers should be encouraged to include balconies with planters in each floor level to increase the ‘green’ vertically. Mechanisms to ensure this is vertical landscaping is achieved should be well laid out to potential developers.
• Use of renewable energy resources should be encouraged. Use of Solar powered curtain walling on the façade of tall buildings will bcouraged. Companies that manufacture solar curtain walling such as SHARP-SOLAR will be approached and given priority in allocation prominent space at the entrance to advertise their products.
Kenyans pay 4 times the European average for electricity (19 US cents/kwh) – in Europe it is 4 or 5 US cents).
South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania , Kenya and Ethiopia recently experienced power rationing so this will ensure electricity is available incase of power rationing.
Use of Bio-Gas from the sewage generated should also be encouraged. Companies that deal with Bio-Gas generation such as KENYA PUXIN RENEWABLE ENERGY CO.LTD should be approached and requested to invest in generation of Bio-Gas from the sewage. This will reduce the burden on Nairobi City Council sewage systems.
Recycling of surface run-off should also be encouraged. Side drains will be designed to flow in a controlled manner to enable harvesting.
Surface runoff will be directed to a deep dam that will serve as a water reservoir and as a recreational feature whereby people can enjoy boat-riding and other features such as a pool-bar[similar to Uhuru Park Inn]. The dam should be well positioned near the shopping mall so as to increase the water-front recreational land value. This will reduce the burden on the Nairobi City Council storm water drainage system.
Companies dealing with supply of water should also be requested to invest in rain-water harvesting for re-sale to Nairobi. Currently the water supply for Nairobi City is inadequate hence a ready market for water. This water will be very useful in maintaining the vast landscapes within the scheme.
• Reduction of energy used in Air-Conditioning and Lighting: This is achieved by careful plot subdivision whereby all plots have an open front and back to enable cross-ventilation of air and ingress of Natural Light. The green landscaped areas will also help in increasing air quality.
• Reduction of Car emissions: Some roads within the scheme should be pedestrian only so as to reduce vehicular traffic. Housing units within the scheme will also reduce car emissions since people can now live within the CBD and be able to walk to work.
A comprehensive green transport network, i.e. non-motorized and public transport, should be envisioned in the Eco-city.
Francis Gichuhi B.Arch [U.o.N ] M.A.A.K[A]