Thinking Energy Efficient Urban Design

The Urban Design Studio for Energy Efficient Design and Management focusses on holistic strategies and elements of energy efficiency. This workshop is an activity of the EU-ACP EDULINK II project Mainstreaming Energy Efficiency and Climate Change in Built Environment Training in the Caribbean (CarEnTrain). The facilitator is Dr Bart Janssens from the University of Antwerp, Belgium one of the partners on the project. It was held previously in Saint Lucia and Suriname as part of a pre-conference activity for the Caribbean Urban Forum. This time, it was held on the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus with a broader focus of not only university campus development but the development of urban areas in general.

Prinicpal's Office, U.W.I. St. Augustine. A building originally designed for the climate of Trinidad and Tobago. Some features have since been changed to facilitate air conditioning.
Prinicpal’s Office, U.W.I. St. Augustine. A climatically designed building. Some features have since been changed to facilitate air conditioning.

One of the main themes looked at was the link designing and planning for climate. This was focussed on by Dr Janssens and Mr Mark Raymond, Chairman of the U.W.I. Green Campus and UWI lecturer. One specific example was that of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The city was planned in such a way to take advantage of the breezes of the area and Dr Janssens took a look at how the city developed from its creation. Further to this examples of modern tropical structures from around world were looked at and their energy efficient design elements highlighted. Dr Janssens went on to discuss the elements that need to be looked at in planning and designing a building or town which fell into two concepts called Trias Ecologica and Pentas Ecologica.

Dr. Bart Janssens, University of Antwerp facilitator for the Urban Design Studio
Dr. Bart Janssens, University of Antwerp facilitator for the Urban Design Studio

Also introduced, were tools and international schemes and guides such as BREEAM, CLEAR, LEED which deal with green building and design. Dr Janssens believes that these can be used or used as a basis for a Caribbean guide. Prior to the workshop, participants were asked to do their own assessments based on information provided. Three participants were able to do this and presented their findings at the start of the workshop. Later, all participants formed groups and completed an assessment on an area of their choosing on the UWI campus. They were instructed to not only look at buildings themselves but the surrounding areas and how they connected to the campus. They then presented their findings as a final activity of the studio.
New with this studio was an additional day for round table discussions on energy efficiency and campus management on UWI and Built Environment standards, policies, codes in Trinidad and Tobago. The first discussion began with a presentation on the U.W.I.’s involvement with the UI Green Metrics. It was noted that much of the data was unavailable or had to be roughly estimated. For the Metrics, all campuses were included which was a difficult task which often skewed the data. In spite of the lack of data, from what was gathered one could see that there was still much room to improve. Participants from the university spoke on the lack of cohesion especially on St Augustine campus between the main campus and Mt. Hope campus. Out of this discussion participants agreed on the need for a regional UWI policy on sustainability and a UWI green metrics for the university to track the various campuses.

Participants in the Urban Design Studio discussion.
Participants in the Urban Design Studio discussion.

The second discussion was entitled ‘Green Building, Who Cares?’ It was held on the UWI campus and hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council (TTGBC). This discussion focussed on building policies and codes and how green building and urban design could be incorporated. During the course of the discussion, two main points cropped up. The first point was that several committees had been created by the government previously to discuss policies and codes and the incorporation of these ideologies however there was no further movement in policy creation and update after the findings were submitted. The second point was that of implementation within the communities and among the general population.

'Green Building. Who Cares?' A discussion on Built Environment standards, policies and codes and how to incorporate energy efficiency into them.
‘Green Building. Who Cares?’ A discussion on Built Environment standards, policies and codes and how to incorporate energy efficiency into them.

Decisions and main points that came out of this discussion were:
1. Focus on education and sensitization
2. Reinitiate plans and policies for built environment and sustainability
3. Creation of simple guide for incorporating green elements into construction and building design

Planning for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean

Written by Nika Maingot

The 6th Annual Caribbean Urban Forum: Sustainable Urban Development? The Gap between Rhetoric and Reality (CUF2016) was held from the 27th – 29th April, 2016 at the Royal Torarica Hotel in Suriname. The primary focus of the Caribbean Urban Forum is on advancing land use planning and urban management within the Caribbean urban sector. The Organizing Committee included The Institute of Graduate and Research Studies (IGSR) of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS), Caribbean Network for Urban and Land Management , Caribbean Local Economic Development Programme (CARILED), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Caribbean Evaluators International (CEI) in association with CARICOM Secretariat and with supportby the European Union. The past CUF Conferences were held in Guyana (2011), Jamaica (2012), Trinidad and Tobago (2013), Barbados (2014) and Saint Lucia (2015) and the conferences have contributed to creating a growing regional and international audience of professionals that work in the field of urban and land management. The major goal is to facilitate activities that contribute to the strengthening of the regional planning framework.

Figure 1 His Excellency Mr. Ashwin Adhin, Vice President of Suriname, giving his feature address at the CUF2016 Opening Ceremony
Figure 1 His Excellency Mr. Ashwin Adhin, Vice President of Suriname, giving his feature address at the CUF2016 Opening Ceremony

This year the three-day conference explored the primary theme of “Sustainable Urban Development? The Gap between Rhetoric and Reality”, which recognizes the need for successful transitions from understanding and research of urban and land issues to implementation and achievement of desired results. This year, the conference was the largest since inception with 196 participants from all across the region and the world.

Figure 2 Mr Gilberto Chona (IDB) and Prof Marten Schalkwijk (AdeKUS) in discussion in between sessions. CUF facilitates discussion and networking between urban planners and professionals.
Figure 2 Mr Gilberto Chona (IDB) and Prof Marten Schalkwijk (AdeKUS) in discussion in between sessions. CUF facilitates discussion and networking between urban planners and professionals.

 

Through presentations, workshops and discussions, the conference addressed specific policy issues within the Caribbean urban sector. It also united Caribbean and international land use practitioners, policy makers, academics and allied professionals interested in urban and land management issues within the Caribbean.

The thematic areas explored were:
• Sustainable Urban Development;
• Local Governance and Decentralization;
• Sustainable Transport Solutions;
• Local Economic Development in the Caribbean;
• Professional Planning Practice, Education & Training;
• Unrealistic and Unsustainable Housing and Settlement Upgrading Programmes;
• Built Environment and Public Health, and
• Management of Urban Coastal Zones and Natural Landscapes.

At CUF2016, we also looked at cross-cutting criteria: Transition Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Figure 3 Philip Dikland presenting "Wild West Paramaribo growth" under the theme 'Sustainable Urban Development'
Figure 3 Philip Dikland presenting “Wild West Paramaribo growth” under the theme ‘Sustainable Urban Development’

Each year, we try to improve CUF for the benefit of the participants and the wider urban planning and built environment community. This year we facilitated the presentation of Lillia Blades of UN-Habitat on “Higher Education for Sustainability” and the live streaming of the panel entitled “Urban Indicators for the Caribbean” which focussed on the measurement, monitoring and reporting on local sustainability.

In addition to the presentations, CUF 2016 hosted several events that boosted the knowledge sharing and relevance of the event.

 

Official Launch of the Spatial Planners Association Suriname (SPASU)

Figure 4 Angelika Namdar, President of SPASU launching the organization at the CUF2016 Opening Ceremnoy
Figure 4 Angelika Namdar, President of SPASU launching the organization at the CUF2016 Opening Ceremnoy

The Spatial Planners Association Suriname (SPASU) was launched at CUF 2016. The formation of national associations of planners in each Caribbean island and their incorporation as members of the Caribbean Planners Association supports strengthening of the regional planning framework by encouraging the greater recognition of the planning fraternity and their role as a policy lobby.

Prior to 2012, only three national associations of planners existed: Trinidad and Tobago Society of Planners (TTSP), Barbados Town and Country Planners Society (BTCPS) and the Jamaica Institute of Planners (JIP). With assistance from other international planning associations and support from UN-Habitat, the Caribbean Planners Association was formed in 2012 as an umbrella body and the formation was endorsed by CARICOM. Since then, efforts have led to the formation of the Belize Association of Planners (2013), Saint Lucia Institute of Land Use Planners (SLILUP) (2015), Planning Association of Dominica (PAD) (2015) and the Guyana Planners Association (GPA) (2016).. British Virgin Islands and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are in the process of forming national associations.

 

CUF 2016 City Tour

Figure 5 Presidential Palace, Paramaribo, Suriname
Figure 5  Presidential Palace, Paramaribo, Suriname

Some great events were planned for CUF 2016 and the first day saw three tours being planned dealing with various aspects of the built environment: 1) Coastal Zone tour; 2) city Tour; 3) Commewijne Tour. The city tour took participants through the Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname. On the tour they focussed on the colonial structures and the heritage of Paramaribo. Looked at were the history of the plans, poorly maintained structures and the lack of government intervention in repair and maintenance assistance for the structures.

Figure 6 Mr F.H.R. Lim a Postraat, Paramaribo
Figure 6 Mr F.H.R. Lim a Postraat, Paramaribo
Figure 7 Participants of CUF take part in the City Tour
Figure 7 Participants of CUF2016  participating in the City Tour

 

Pre-CUF events: Urban Planning For City Leaders Workshop (UN Habitat)

On April 26th 2016, immediately prior to the CUF, at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS), the United Nations Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in conjunction with the CNULM executed a one-day workshop “Planning Laboratory on Sustainable Development: Urban Planning for City Leaders”. A total of 30 participants attended the workshop from countries such as Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. For more than forty years, UN-Habitat has been one of the leading urban and human settlements programmes worldwide, and this year was no exception.

Figure 8 Participants look on as Sohel Rana (UN-Habitat) presents during the Planning Laboratory
Figure 8 Participants look on as Sohel Rana (UN-Habitat) presents during the Planning Laboratory

The one-day workshop sought to present the UN-Habitat’s vision and the New Urban Agenda to urban and built environment professionals.  Suriname was the main case study and key issues and challenges facing the country were looked at along with discussions on projects and tools that can strengthen the planning practice in Suriname.  Presentations were made addressing:

  • Tenets of a 20th Century Urban Model
  • Five principles needed for Planned City Expansion (PCE)
  • Legislation and constraints for spatial planning in Suriname
  • UN-Habitat’s projects and approaches
  • The extent and usefulness of the Urban Design Lab

This year’s workshop facilitated sessions by Mr. Sohel Rana (UN-Habitat), Mr. Rogier van DenBerg (UN-Habitat) and Lilian Krishnadath (Ministry of Public Works, Suriname) with presentations on:

  • UN Habitat’s Vision and New Urban Agenda,
  • Current Urban Development Practices in Paramaribo, and
  • UN-Habitat’s Collaboration in the Caribbean Region and ongoing planning projects

 

Pre-CUF events: Urban Design Studio for Energy Efficient Campus Design and Management

The ACP-EU project: Mainstreaming Energy Efficiency and Climate Change in Built Environment Training and Research in the Caribbean (CarEnTrain) aims to improve energy security in Caribbean countries and mitigate climate change by reducing the consumption of energy resulting from urban sprawl, inefficient transportation systems and improving energy efficiency of buildings.

Fig 9 Participants presenting the findings of their building assessments.
Fig 9 Participants presenting the findings of their building assessments.

The project hosted the urban design studio in order to educate campus administrators and urban professionals on the importance of urban design to the greening of campuses. The first workshop was held at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in Saint Lucia in 2015. This year, it was held at Anton de Kom University of Suriname from 25th – 26th April, 2016. Facilitating this Urban Design Studio were Bart Janssens and Tom Coppens of University of Antwerp.
The basic principles behind urban design were taught and examples of urban design at different campuses were discussed. This second instalment began with a self-taught module prior to the workshop. The participants were asked, in addition to the written material, to complete a small assessment of a building of their choice and present their findings at the Workshop. The final day of the workshop as in Saint Lucia, saw the participants doing a group walk-through at the AdeKUS campus which culminated in a small presentation on their findings.

To better facilitate the knowledge sharing from CUF 2016, CNULM will be publishing a CUF 2016 Conference Proceedings with the papers from the conference.  These papers along with the presentations will be made available online.