Making Nicosia a greener, healthier place

Nieuws - 21 mei 2019 - Communication BK

The City-Zen Roadshow visited Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus. The group of international environmental experts, led by Craig Martin and Andy van den Dobbelsteen (AE+T), studied the city together with residents and created a strategy to make the city a greener and healthier place.

The EU-funded project City-Zen Roadshow develops energy plans with accompanying toolboxes for European cities. The team from BK Bouwkunde spends five days in a city with other academic partners and collaborates with local authorities, citizens, and market players. Each Roadshow is prepared through a SWAT studio, a master studio for students from the Building Technology track within the MSc Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences. In the intensive workshops, plans are drawn up for the energy transition of neighbourhoods in each city. The key to success lies in including the local residents. “In cities, everything is about people. They need to start doing things differently,” explains Craig Martin, leader of the City-Zen Roadshows. 

In Nicosia, the City-Zen Roadshow started with a fun-shop-walk to place citizens in the heart of the process to create a healthier, happier, and energy efficient city. This walk invited all Nicosia’s stakeholders to get involved, no matter their background and expertise. Energy transition role playing games and fun-shops, workshops on energy and urban design, continued on different locations throughout the week. Craig: “Radical solutions are required to achieve the needed change, and those must come from the people who live in the place. We show the city clearly what the question is, and what the potential answers are. Possible solutions are not about rebuilding the city, but rather seeing what can be done with existing technology.”

Image: One of the solutions proposes car removal in favour of green mobility, and using the city as forest to combat heat.

In the case of Nicosia, understanding the local circumstances combined with a system analysis resulted in the insight that the suburban parts of the city are designed as a heat-trap. Old Nicosia is the more sustainable place and displays a variety of traditional climate control strategies. Solutions lie with modern interpretations of climate control strategies, retrofit opportunities, saying goodbye to cars in favour of making space for green mobility, and effecting an energy strategy. “If Nicosia actually applied all basic ideas of the City-Zen Roadshow, it is actually possible to become carbon neutral by 2050!” 

City-Zen Roadshow team: Craig Martin, Andy van den Dobbelsteen, and Sam van Hooff (BK Bouwkunde TU Delft), Andy Jenkins, Greg Keeffe, and Emma Campbell (QUB), Riccardo Pulselli (University of Sienna), Han Vandevyvere (EnergyVille/NTNU),Achille Hannoset and Anneleen Verlinden (Th!nk-e), Maryam Al-Irhayim and Rainer Townend (UCLan), Markella Menikou (University of Nicosia), Alexis Postekkis, Andreas Prokopiou, and Christos Xenofontos (Univerity of Nicosia Alumni).