Horticulture among professions represented at the Circular Cities Summit 1.0

AIPH was represented at the Circular Cities Summit in Singapore by AIPH Board member Karen Tambayong (second from right) and Audrey Timm, Technical Initiatives Manager, AIPH (fourth from left).

Singapore hosted the inaugural Circular Cities Summit between 14 and 15 November 2023. Organising chairman Damien Tang opened the Summit with a message of the need for action, stating that our mission extends beyond statistics; it is now about saving lives. He called for a holistic approach that goes beyond ideas to taking collaborative, international action.

Circular Cities Summit 1.0 at Singapore’s Sands Expo and Convention Centre brought together the professions that are instrumental in the implementation of urban greening initiatives. An MOU making a commitment to propel circular principles from theory into practice was signed by the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP), and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) and witnessed by the International Union of Architects, UIA.

AIPH was a supporting partner of the Circular Cities Summit. AIPH believes that sustainable urban transformation is achieved through a collective effort from experts across various fields. While policies and economic models play a pivotal, driving role, sustainable urban transformation is delivered by a range of experts. This includes horticulturalists who, alongside the professions of landscape architects, urban planners, architects, and engineers, can foster collaboration in urban development to create city spaces that thrive.

Horticulture is a vital component of sustainable urban development. Working together with experts from various fields, we can collectively create cities that are more resilient and adaptive to change. The Circular Cities Summit provided an opportunity for these discussions and facilitated the exchange of ideas and best practices.
The concept of a circular economy is extremely well articulated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“The circular economy is a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated. In a circular economy, products and materials are kept in circulation through processes like maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling, and composting. The circular economy tackles climate change and other global challenges, like biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution, by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources.”

Circular economy butterfly diagram: Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This drawing is based on Braungart & McDonough, Cradle to Cradle (C2C).

The summit in Singapore ended with the launch of the Circular Cities Network and an ambition to develop a short-, medium- and long-term roadmap with immediate collaboration between the public and private sectors and civil society. The roadmap will outline the implementation of specific measures addressing the core principles of a circular city economy through the following points:
1. Reduce toxic emissions
2. Decarbonise cities and territories
3. Promote actions toward a circular economy
4. Enhance energy efficiency in the built environment
5. Achieve a balance between the built and natural environment
6. Redevelop cities and territories with more efficient and integrated solutions
7. Define smarter policies for waste management
8. Promote the effective use and reuse of water
9. Seek holistic solutions for creating a better habitat
10. Foster research on circularity and disseminate successful practices
Participants at the summit collectively agreed that such a roadmap would be presented at Circular Cities Summit 2.0, which is anticipated to be held in 2024 at a venue that is yet to be decided.

This article was first published in the December 2023 issue of FloraCulture International. Follow the AIPH Global Green City Update to receive news of progress on this initiative.

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