Smartening up the capital's sustainability act
Innovation Profile: Dublin City Council:How do you measure a city’s sustainability? Yardsticks like energy efficiency and waste recovery can give some indication, but the scope of the exercise has to be much wider. Dublin City Council set out three years ago not just to measure the city’s sustainability but also to benchmark it against international best practice and develop actions and interventions to improve its performance.
The vision set by the council is that within the next 25 to 30 years “Dublin will have an established international reputation as one of the most sustainable, dynamic and resourceful city regions in Europe”. It will be “a beautiful, compact city, with a distinct character and a vibrant culture and a diverse, smart, green innovation-based economy.
“It will be a socially inclusive city of urban neighbourhoods, all connected by an exemplary public transport, cycling and walking system and interwoven with a quality biodiverse green space network.”
Progress towards attaining this is measured through annual sustainability reports which lay out the strategic goals, achievements and future actions for Dublin city under eight focus areas of energy, transportation, waste, water, air, biodiversity and parks, society and economy.
The city’s third sustainability report has just been published and outlines progress in establishing Dublin as a world leading sustainable city.
“The choice of these focus areas reflects the interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic well-being,” says Dublin lord mayor, Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí. “One of my priorities as lord mayor is to create structures and approaches that ensure Dublin is promoted as a premier tourist destination at home and abroad. By creating an ever more sustainable and high-quality city environment, Dublin can attract more visitors, and from further afield. I hope that the 2012 sustainability report will help people understand the importance of making sustainable choices in our own lives.
“We are all tasked with the responsibility of protecting and maintaining the planet and it is our responsibility to lead the way in our own city.”
The report is aimed at being as open and transparent as possible in relation to Dublin’s performance as a sustainable city. “You couldn’t say that Dublin is one of the world’s best sustainable cities,” says Dublin City Council green business officer Mark Bennett who led the production of the report.
“But the report and the accompanying sustainability indicators document show that we are on the right track. It gives a sample of what’s going on in the various focus areas and a taste of what our priorities are.”
And it’s not just to be seen as a mere record or activity. “The aim is to allow the people of Dublin to have an input and get involved in the development of their city,” says Bennett.