Joan Clos, former mayor of Barcelona, has been Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) from 2010 to 2017, conveys a complex vision of the city that is coming to us but is also optimistic about the ability to get over it.
During a conference organized by the Bizkaia Provincial Council on the occasion of the European Green Week Within the framework of the Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao, Joan Clos wanted to share his vision of the city in the 21st century. He expressed concern about the accelerated demographic growth that the planet is suffering and the galloping current of urbanization. Two independent concepts that when combined can be an explosive mix. Since cities are the main consumers of energy and emitters of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), with 70% of them associated with them, and given the growing urbanization and population growth, Joan Clos is emphatic in saying that “we must change the cities and conceive them in a completely different way”.
Faced with the overwhelming figures of the post-industrial era, where the population of cities is going to multiply, with significant threats derived from unemployment or massive migratory flows, he conveyed to the audience the obligation to promote and reinforce the concept of urban sustainability. It is clear that efforts must be made to build sustainable cities in terms of environmental impacts, but the challenge on a global scale is fundamentally to bet on sustainability from the social point of view to avoid drifting towards chaotic, unequal and neglected cities. His vision, however, is positive. The challenge is immense, but management tools and urban technologies are also being configured to deal with it effectively.