Smart Cities & Sustainable Projects
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” ― Wendell Berry
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainability is the process of maintaining change in a balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.
Implementing sustainable development is one way to take urgent action to combat climate change and its far reaching impacts. People are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce the threat of looming climate disaster.
Below you will find a list of notable projects from around the world that are creating and developing inspiring interventions and unique solutions to make a better world happen now. Use the Appropedia, aka the sustainable wiki, to research more concepts in collaborative solutions in sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and permaculture.
List of Worldwide Notable Projects in Sustainability
- Aesop Institute’s Black Swan Technologies
AESOP’s hard-to-believe new science (plus that of our future partner, H2 Global LLC) make possible replacement of fossil fuels much faster than existing technology. These breakthroughs fit Nassim Taleb’s definition in his book The BLACK SWAN: The impact of the Highly Improbable. This website features positive BLACK SWAN technologies.
- Biophilic Cities
Biophilic Cities partners with cities, scholars and advocates from across the globe to build an understanding of the value and contribution of nature in cities to the lives of urban residents. As a central element of its work, Biophilic Cities facilitates a global network of partner cities working collectively to pursue the vision of a natureful city within their unique and diverse environments and cultures.
- Bhutan & GNH (video)
Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation. Bhutan is not only carbon neutral, it is carbon negative.
- Circle Lab
Circle Lab is an online platform for cities, businesses, and citizens to explore, brainstorm, and implement circular business models and strategies to tackle universal and local challenges based on utilizing aspects of circular economy principles.
- Club of Rome
The Club of Rome is a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues. Founded in 1968 it describes itself as “a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity. They have recently declared their climate change emergency plan.
- Earth Vision Institute
Earth Vision Institute (EVI), founded by photographer and scientist James Balog in 2012, is a donor-funded organization that is dedicated to creating, publishing, and sharing world-class visual stories and rich media content. EVI bridges the divide between art and science through unique conceptual insights, technological innovation, and scientific knowledge. We educate global citizens about the impact of environmental change on the world.
- Earth Self
This is a project to enable 1000+ sustainable business leaders to function at their full potential informed and inspired by Nature so that they can act as catalysts for systemic transformational change within their organizations and in the world and accelerate our transition to a sustainable world.
- EcoSofia (video)
Ecosophia is the definitive documentary guide to help you create inner and outer resilience to survive and thrive climate change catastrophe and economic collapse.
- Guy Lane
Guy Lane’s work showcases the ideas of a practitioner and thought-leader in sustainability. He is a strategist, advisor, commentator and entrepreneur. Guy writes cli-fi – climate fiction – novels that cover a variety of contemporary sustainability themes.
- Green Island Project (GIP)
The Green Island Project (GIP) is a collaboration to design and promote next-generation, sustainable, municipal-scale utilities. GIP uses a complimentary functional model that incorporates proven and emerging technologies to reduce fossil fuel dependency, create jobs, close landfills, and anchor renewable energy systems.
- Half-Earth Project
With science at its core and our transcendent moral obligation to the rest of life at its heart, the Half-Earth Project is working to conserve half the land and sea to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity, including ourselves.
- Hope in a Changing Climate (Dr John Liu)
Hope in a Changing Climate optimistically reframes the debate on global warming. Illustrating that large, decimated eco-systems can be restored, the BBC World documentary reveals success stories from Ethiopia, Rwanda and China which prove that bringing large areas back from environmental ruin is possible, and key to stabilizing the earth’s climate, eradicating poverty and making sustainable agriculture a reality.
- Jane Goodall Institute
The Jane Goodall Institute is a global wildlife and environment conservation organization headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. It was founded in 1977 by English primatologist Jane Goodall. The institute has offices in more than twenty-five countries around the world.
- Mama Earth Foundation
Mama Earth Foundation Inc.“ is planting millions of trees in an area, which is in fact still under martial law at this time (because of a declaration of the president Duterte and the parliament.
Whether you’re interested in the big picture of how, as communities, we can downshift our energy use, or the details of how you can grow more food for your family, RetroSuburbia is rich with real world examples and behavioral strategies applied by those already on the downshifting path.
- Rewilding Institute
Current scientific research and theory, and conservation experience tell us that, to do serious conservation in North America, we must do conservation on the scale of North America. Furthermore, history, policy analysis, and conservation experience tell us that, to be effective in conservation work of all kinds, we must be guided by vision, strategy, and hope.
- Sustainable City (video)
Visit the Sustainable City, a housing development in Dubai with 3,500 people already living there. This truly is a remarkable achievement, a stark lesson to building contractors the world over. It’s not more expensive to build and it’s hugely cheaper and more efficient to live in.
- Side Walk Labs
By combining people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology, we can achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.
- Stockhom Resilience Center
The Stockholm Resilience Centre, is a non-profit, independent research institute specializing in sustainable development and environmental issues.
- The Monk & The Glacier (video)
This is an updated version of the short film ‘The Monk, The Engineer and The Artificial Glacier’. Through the Ice Stupa Artificial Glacier Project, Ladakh attempts to solve its water crisis caused by melting glaciers/climate change.
- Transition Network
Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world.Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005. It is about communities stepping up to address the big challenges they face by starting local. By coming together, they are able to crowd-source solutions. They seek to nurture a caring culture, one focused on supporting each other, both as groups or as wider communities.
There are hundreds more inspiring projects in sustainability worldwide. There are now many emerging smart city projects as well. Visit Green Shortz (video) and learn how to do your part to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. The Venus Project (video) is worth noting because it is an inspiring project that is often considered so futuristic that it is not realistic.
However, it provides many examples to learn from. Additionally, the Free University of Berlin lists many more ecological, resource-based and sustainable projects. The World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) provides many learning and project ideas to get started using sustainable principles in your projects.
Learn more about how to build a sustainable future by adopting an eco-economy on the SW Ecological Economics Page >>
- 1:05 pm Oct. 27, 2019 – S. Cairns – (Added a couple new projects including Jane Goodall Institute, Biophilic Cities and a couple more links).
- 2:30 pm Jan. 26, 2019 – Charles Gregoire – (Added References and History accordion panels. Deleted the associated History page. Deleted a double entry of the EVI project).
- 10:05 pm Jan. 14, 2019 – S. Cairns – (Added annotation for each project and a couple new projects as requested including Aesop Institute and Mama Earth Foundation).
- 5:05 pm Jan. 11, 2019 – S. Cairns – (Added Notable Project content initial write up/article, resource list, and associated “History” page).