The world's first climate change festival
27 March 2008
The climate change festival, to be held in Birmingham, aims to emphasise the point that you can't create sustainable cities without getting the design right.
The world's first climate change festival will take place this summer, from 31 May to 8 June, in Birmingham.
It will make a direct link between climate change and the design of buildings and streets around us. Because you can't create sustainable cities without getting the design right.
The global environment crisis is, in large part, a planning and design crisis. That is why CABE is organising the festival with Birmingham City Council. And this festival will explore how we plan, design and use our cities.
The festival will show how a successful response to climate change will transform the quality of life for people working and living in the city. Most commentators suggest that tackling global warming must involve a huge amount of self-denial: an end to all the things that we enjoy.
We take a different view. Climate action is about reinvention - not self-denial. Reinvention and redesign of the way our cities work. Of course this will involve some trade-offs. But they are worth making because the rewards are so great - healthier, fairer, and more prosperous places.
So the climate change festival will help people to see their city through new eyes. It will prompt us to think about a low carbon city and dare to dream what it might be like. Your city could be transformed over the next ten years into a beautiful, competitive, world class environment.
The festival organisers promise something very different to other campaigns about sustainability. No guilt and no finger wagging. This will be collective, dramatic, sociable and fun. (A festival about climate change). Events throughout the week will range from community-based projects to a hothouse event for professionals working in the built environment sector, and a green day for schools. The festival will also include the launch on World Environment Day of Birmingham's first ever climate change strategy and action plan.
And what does a sustainable city really feel like? Well, it's got beautiful public spaces which make walking and cycling safe and obvious choices. Well designed homes, offices and libraries. More trees. Cleaner air. Suburbs well integrated with the city centre. And more independence - local networks, local services, local markets. A less stressful, more efficient place to live and work.
By contrast, the costs if we fail to tackle climate change are high - for any city. It means a noisier and more polluted environment. It means growing social inequity, with people on low incomes least able to afford flood insurance and the rising costs of energy. High carbon cities in the future will be less competitive in an age of personal carbon allowances. They will fail to capitalise on new sustainable business opportunities, and most firms will be reluctant to relocate there.
This is a fate which Birmingham will avoid. The city pioneered the carbon-based industrial revolution, and the city now intends to apply the same spirit and skill to becoming sustainable. During the festival, it will launch an ambitious plan to drastically reduce carbon emissions over the next 18 years.
People and businesses across Birmingham are invited to take part: contact email@example.com
The aim is to make the festival an annual event, involving at least eight cities in 2009, and going international in 2010.