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Wychwood plans a winning future for Oxford at World Town Planning Day

Posted: 10th March 2020

The challenge presented to me was to pick three ways to make my local area more sustainable as if I were a planner from 2050 advising a planner in current times. I chose to focus on three areas – transport, energy and waste and pollution. For each of these sections I first researched how they currently stand in terms of sustainability, so to have a base in which to build upon. Oxford as a city has made some real efforts to improve its sustainability and so it made the task slightly harder as the solutions would have to be slightly less obvious to make any impact.

Firstly I decided to work on the transport sector, it was interesting to view (perhaps slightly outdated now) statistics on modes of transport and then being able to analyse the data to suggest how the government could implement positive initiatives to lower car use and the general emissions of carbon dioxide caused by fossil-fuelled transport. It was also interesting to look into how other countries have tackled the problem of transport-fuelled pollution, such as when Beijing implemented a temporary driving ban.

I then started to think about how Oxford could take advantage of cleaner technologies. For example the government funded mass installation of solar panels, as well as the extension of the hydroelectric system already in place. As an example for how to perhaps apply this to the city directly I created a diagram as to placements of solar panels and turbines on the city council buildings.

Finally I started to research how Oxford deals with pollution and waste. Impressively Oxford has some of the highest recycling rates in the country, however there is always room for improvement. My ideas revolved around making it harder to not-recycle, forcing people to think about becoming more responsible with their consumption. Another aspect that I particularly enjoyed learning about was carbon sequestration. The idea is that to become carbon-neutral there has to be something that converts existing atmospheric carbon into oxygen. Handily plants are great at doing that, hence why the mass installation of ‘living walls’ came to mind. Not only do they look great, but they would help soak up some of those emissions.

For each of the three sections I have given perhaps one or two examples, however there are many more interesting improvements that make use of new and, not so new, technology. I have learnt a fair bit about my city through this project, and I have also thoroughly enjoyed developing how I used maps and various statistics. I am quite proud of what I achieved and am happy that it won me an award in the competition.

Amelie (Study I)

Editor’s note: Amelie in fact won the award for the ‘Most Sustainable Idea’ and was runner up for ‘Best Presentation’ – Huge congratulations Amelie