In mid 2014, the European Commission published a Communication which focused on resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector (COM 2014/0445
). Initially, this communications was due to focus on “sustainable buildings”. Unfortunately, this was not the case as not only was the title of the final modified, but also the focus of the content which stood squarely in the environmental segment of sustainability. Society and economy appeared, regrettably, to have fallen by the wayside.
On 30 June 2015, The Concrete Initiative gathered together national cement & concrete associations, economists and other relevant stakeholders to discuss methods for analyzing the contribution of the sector to Europe’s economy. The aim of this debate was to gain an initial insight into the work which will be undertaken by Le BIPE, on behalf of The Concrete Initiative.
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The Vidin-Calafat Bridge (also known as Danube Bridge 2) is a road and railway bridge linking the cities of Calafat (Romania) and Vidin (Bulgaria). This bridge is of key significance not only for the development of the Pan-European Transport Corridor ІV but also for the entire South-East European Transport Axis and the Trans-European Transport network.
Ahead of the World Economic Forum Annual meeting in Davos, the Global Risks 2015 Report was issued by the organisers. One of the chapters from the report is dedicated to the risks of rapid and unplanned urbanisation in developing countries. The report starts off by reminding us that, by 2050, city dwellers are expected to account for more than two-thirds of the world’s population. It emphasises that urbanisation can bring important benefits for development as cities are an efficient way of organizing people’s lives: they enable economies of scale and network effects, reduce the need for transportation and thereby make economic activity more environment-friendly. However, a large part of the chapter focuses on the need to manage risks in the face of four major challenges: infrastructure, health, climate change and social instability. The rapid expansion of cities, especially in developing countries, requires adequate global infrastructure and here the Report calls for public-private collaboration to involve the private sector in the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure. It emphasises the negative effects of air pollution, mostly caused by cars, to health of citizens. The report also calls for leadership of the private sector with local governments which it considers at the heart of urban mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Finally, the Report states that moving to a city offers individuals more opportunities and improves their living conditions but it also warns that the high costs of living and competition for livelihoods can trap people in poverty and lead to social instability.
As private actors that contribute to building the sustainable cities and infrastructure of tomorrow, we should not be deterred by these risks but consider them as an opportunity to engage on a scale which goes beyond the specific product we produce and makes us reach out to society at large.