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Opportunities and Challenges of a Sustainable City in the 21st Century

12/1/2011 | German House New York

Opportunities and Challenges of a Sustainable City in the 21st Century

As urban spaces grow and become ever more populated, questions regarding sustainability, infrastructure, and green building arise. What sustainability initiatives exist in New York City, and which innovative approaches are being considered? How do these compare with European strategies?  What can countries on both sides of the Atlantic learn from each other regarding best practices for city planning?  We invite you to join us for perspectives from New York City and Hamburg, which was awarded the title of "European Green Capital" by the European Commission in 2011.


Hamburg  is not only Europe's wealthiest city with the best economic outlook in Germany, but has also been successful in seeking green answers to metropolitan challenges, making it a best practice model. The city combines comprehensive approaches, policy commitment and the necessary funding needed to solve environmental challenges of the 21st century.


It has successfully implemented an integrated and participative planning strategy with a strong commitment to a »green« vision, setting ambitious climate protection goals, such as reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 and 80% by the year 2050. CO2 emissions per person have been reduced by about 15% as compared to 1990, with annual energy savings of some 46,000 megawatts, a major achievement for a big city. The Port of Hamburg handles Europe's second largest number of containers and is steadily growing. However, rather than expanding storage into the surrounding area, local officials have met the increasing need for capacity by efficiently using allocated land and creating new storage areas by filling expendable harbor basins.


According to cycling and public transport indicators, the city has also achieved high environmental standards and good performance levels. Almost all citizens have access to optimal public transport within 1000 feet of their given location.


Welcome remarks by:


Busso von Alvensleben, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, New York; Wolfgang Schmidt, Representative of the City of Hamburg (Commissioner to the Federation, the European Union and for Foreign Affairs); Dr. Nina Smidt, President, American Friends of Bucerius

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  • Featured Speakers

    • Busso von Alvensleben (Welcome Remarks)

      Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, New York

    • Wolfgang Schmidt (Welcome Remarks)

      State Secretary to the Senate Chancellery, Hamburg

    • Dr. Nina Smidt (Welcome Remarks)

      President, American Friends of Bucerius, Director International Strategic Planning and Business Development, ZEIT-Stiftung Gerd und Ebelin Bucerius

    • Adam Freed

      Deputy Director, Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, City of New York

    • Alex Marshall

      Senior Fellow, Regional Plan Association

    • Michael Kruklinski

      Vice President, Corporate Development & Strategy, Siemens Corporation

    • Helga Flores Trejo (Moderator)

      Fellow, The Brookings Institution