JOBURG – The City of Joburg, the University of Johannesburg and Resolution Circle want Johannesburg residents to start thinking green … again.
It is the new year and a number of companies want to hear Joburgers’ solutions to the environmental problems facing the world – so they’ve wasted no time in launching the second season of The Green City Start-up competition.
South Africa is currently affected by a number of environmental issues including soaring temperatures as a result of global warming and the depletion of essential resources including coal and water.
The Green City Start-up 2016 is calling on start-up companies, SMEs, and partnerships to submit their ideas in order to improve the City of Joburg and create a lasting solution to environmental issues.
Interested companies can enter with a solution to an issue faced in any sector including energy, waste, water, transport and building.
Adjudicated by an award panel, applicants with the finest ideas will receive R250 000 to develop their idea further.
Mentorship will be offered by Resolution Circle, an integrated training, research and development ecosystem which designs innovative, commercial and technology-focused solutions, the University of Johannesburg’s technology commercialisation company and the incubation hub where the ideas can become tangible prototypes.
Ultimately, the winner could receive up to R1 million to turn their idea into reality and improve conditions in the city.
Last year, one of the finalists of the competition was none other than the Isabelo Smart Bench, a smart wi-fi enabled bench which provides free wi-fi in public spaces in African cities, which is now a successful idea that has been implemented in popular areas around Johannesburg, including Braamfontein.
“What we love about it is that people can sit down, charge up and freely access information and share ideas online,” said Louise Meek, the entrepreneur and founding director of Public Access Consulting, the company which created and developed the bench.
The City of Joburg is adamant to make the city as green as possible and your great idea could contribute towards the city’s vision.
There’s a new list of the world’s most sustainable cities, and not one American metropolis made the top 10.
European cities dominate the Sustainable Cities Index, which ranks the top 50 cities in the world based on their environmental, social, and economic viability. The list is based on factors grouped into three broad categories: “profit,” “people,” and “planet.”
Overall, seven of the top 10 cities that scored the highest on the list are in Europe, with self-proclaimed “Green City” Frankfurt, Germany, holding down first place, thanks to its waste management efforts, climate protection plans, and large city forest. London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam, Netherlands, round out the top five.
(Infographic: Courtesy SustainableCitiesIndex.com)
The list was released on Monday by Netherlands-based design and engineering firm Arcadis, with an index based on 20 indicators, ranging from income gap to total green space areas.
Boston, the highest ranking of any U.S. city, took 15th place. But it made the grade because of its especially strong showing under profit. When it came to environmental factors such as energy consumption, carbon emissions, and use of green space, Boston and all U.S. cities rated relatively low.
The reason? Energy-hungry cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia get only a small amount of their power from renewable energy. That puts them more in the company of oil-rich Middle Eastern cities such as Dubai, UAE, and Doha, Qatar, than with European cities, which tend to obtain a significant percentage of their electricity from low-carbon sources.
San Francisco ranked No. 1 in North America on Siemens’ 2014 Green City Index but came in at 37 in Arcadis’ planet category. The reasons included frequent natural disasters and continued reliance on fossil fuels for energy.
Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, beat out the City by the Bay, taking 35th place for environmental factors.
The rankings reveal just how challenging it can be for a big city to stay economically healthy without ruining the environment or making life miserable for residents.
One lesson of the index, according to its authors, is that no ideal city exists.
“Cities face a difficult balancing act between the three pillars of sustainability [planet, people, and profit],” stated Arcadis. “In particular, cities are failing to meet the needs of their people. Across the world, they perform poorest on these factors.”
But “managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century,” John Wilmoth, the director of population programs at the United Nations Division of Economic and Social Affairs, said in a statement.
It has become crucial to figure out how to live sustainably in cities, because this is the first era in human history in which more people live in urban areas than in rural: 54 percent of the world’s population call cities home, and according to the United Nations, that number will continue to grow.
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Already home to leading companies like BMW, Nedbank and SAGE VIP, the multi-billion rand Menlyn Maine green city development in Pretoria is set to get 26,500sqm of new office space in three new buildings from the end of 2015 to the end of 2016.
Menlyn Maine Investments is pioneering the Menlyn Maine development – Africa’s only green city. In the latest tranche of developments to be announced, it will invest R750 million to develop three top-class, green A-grade office buildings.
The trio of quality office buildings will all achieve at least a 4-Star Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), in line with Menlyn Maine’s exceptional sustainability benchmarks.
Menlyn Maine is South Africa’s first green, mixed-use city. It’s more than a collection of award-winning green buildings in one place; everything between the buildings is designed to be environmentally sustainable too, from sidewalks and streets, to parks and squares. The benefits go beyond a lighter carbon footprint and lower electricity bills, to the enjoyment of a quality experience in a distinguished address of choice for working and – in soon-to-come future phases – shopping, entertainment and living, all designed to promote responsible, healthy lifestyles.
As a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, Menlyn Maine is one of 16 green cities being built in various countries, and the only one in Africa.
Its superb location has been a key factor in attracting top business names to Menlyn Maine.
Menlyn Maine is minutes away from the N1 motorway’s Atterbury and Garsfontein interchanges, right off the main arterial of January Masilela Road, and a mere 500 metres from the main entrance of the super-regional Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.
Its bustling location also means it benefits from exceptional transport connections. This includes access to excellent transport links, including three Gautrain bus stops, the new BRT bus system and a taxi terminus. Menlyn Maine is designed to welcome pedestrians. Fewer cars on the roads also mean lower carbon emissions. It is also surrounded by medical facilities, schools, and all the amenities that come with being in the heart of the upmarket, growing Eastern Suburbs of Pretoria.
Already under construction, the landmark 13,500sqm West Tower Office Block is at the heart of Menlyn Maine’s vibrant future retail and entertainment epicentre. This A-grade nine-storey office tower has been designed to create flexible space for corporate headquarters or a bustling multifaceted business environment. Located on the corner of Aramist Avenue and Dallas Road, it will be ready for tenant occupation in September 2016 and offer ample parking at a ratio of 4.5 bays to every 100sqm.
Opposite this iconic tower, The Indus Building will provide 9,500sqm of A-grade office space across five floors, allowing for the flexible subdivision of offices. It is set for completion in late 2016.
Like the other two new buildings it comes with naming rights for a major tenant taking up more than half of each building.
The Orion Building will be developed opposite the 3,200sqm Regus Building, which was completed in June this year. Standing in a prime position at the new gateway to Menlyn Maine from January Masilela Road, The Orion Building mirrors its neighbouring offices. The four-storey building will provide 4,500sqm of environmentally innovative and flexible lettable A-grade offices, suited to either a single or multi-tenant environment. Its development will be demand driven, with completion delivery possible as soon as late 2015.
The benefits of offices in a green city go beyond simple environmental responsibility. It also means smart building design for energy efficiency, recycling, environmentally friendly waste management and roof gardens. All this adds up to less operational costs and more savings over a company’s lease period.
* Henk Boogertman is the main architect and Linda Riley is leasing and investment advisor at Menlyn Maine.