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“Do you think that the lifestyle of the inhabitants of your town or city reflects behavior that is in line with the concept of sustainable development? In your opinion, what should be improved?”
Emiliano Luzzi, iMBA applicant – April 2013 intake

What is sustainable development?

Sustainable Development means learning to achieve more with less in order to develop a city or state in a way that is:

Efficient: an efficient city or State would use fewer resources and create less waste Clean: an efficient city or State would develop without polluting

 

Green: a green city or State could enhance greenery, waterways and natural heritage

This way, we can ensure both economic growth and a good living environment for ourselves and for generations to come


And... What is sustainable development in Rome?
The word “sustainable” is often over used and it is not without irony that it can be applied to Rome, Italy. Considering modern Rome in line with sustainable development would be paradoxical. Even if Rome does not want to emulate Tokyo or Vancouver, it has centuries of accumulated experiences, materials, traces, and memories to share, so it would be a mistake to start from scratch and replace Rome with a sanitized “green city”.

However, to make Rome more “sustainable” Romans should start thinking in “sustainable” ways


There’s a lot of work to do in Rome...
If “sustainability” means providing the needs of the present without compromising the patrimony of future generations, then there is a lot to do in Rome. Romans should try to remove the blight associated with the city:  Thousands of vehicles  Crazy traffic Fighting this does not mean  Inefficient public transportation system fighting Rome any more  Disorganized waste than curing a disease means  Almost zero recycling killing the patient  Other environmental problems


An example of bad sustainable development: Rome’s transportation system situation
A snapshot of Rome’s transportation system situation:  For every 1000 Romans there are 978 vehicles, compared to 620 in Barcelona, 425 in Paris, and 398 in London  52% of trips are by car, 27% by public transportation, 15% by motorcycle/scooter and 6% on foot  2011 Legambiente’s* “black swan” award for smog. Fine particle levels have exceeded legal limits almost two days out of three  Bicycles are used for only 0.4% of trips, compared to 10% in Berlin, 20% in Amsterdam and 5% in Milan  Death rate on roads (deaths per million inhabitants) is 74, compared to 27 in Barcelona, 29 in London, 16 in Paris. In Rome dying from traffic is 5 times more likely as in Paris  Rome’s 2.7 million inhabitants make 7.1 million trips a day. On average, a Roman makes 2.6 trips per day

*Legambiente (League for the Environment) is the most widespread environmental organization in Italy


What can be done to make Rome more sustainable?
Sustainable development is a long-term, ongoing effort. We can achieve growth and a good environment only if everyone believes that sustainable development is important and makes an effort to adopt a more environmentally responsible lifestyle. To improve the current situation, everyone should play a part. Individuals, businesses, and the government, as well as community leaders and members of the public must develop a common vision for a sustainable city.
Government Governments can adopt measures to better economise on the use of resources such as energy and water, in order to encourage individuals and businesses to take action to become more efficient and sustainable as well Businesses Companies save money when they use less energy and water and reduce unnecessary packaging Individuals People can save money and protect the environment by using less electricity and water, by producing less waste and by choosing cleaner ways to travel


Governments need to lead by example through policies and actions, provide more information for consumers to make better informed decisions, address market failures through financial incentives and disincentives, set minimum standards and pass laws to foster sustainable development.

The government should invest in a variety of activities to support sustainable development programmes:
Research and development to test new technologies that can help Rome develop in a sustainable way, such as water management technologies to collect rain water and make it clean Waste management systems that collect and incinerate waste in efficient energy plants, together with a solid recycling program that encourages citizens to recycle Environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings that reduce the energy and water consumption of government buildings A robust public transportation system that is accessible and convenient for commuters who want to reduce pollution and traffic congestion


Businesses should become more efficient and sustainable as well. The private sector must act in environmentally responsible ways, even as it seeks to exploit business opportunities and create jobs. Companies and business owners can play a part in the sustainability of Rome by substantially improving how efficiently we use our energy, water and land.
Businesses should develop and employ cleaner technologies and incorporate environmental considerations into their operations, from production to consumption and disposal

Businesses could contribute to reduce the use of resources by integrating energy and resource efficiency in factories and offices to have greater energy and cost savings Businesses could help to conserve Rome’s precious resources by reducing packaging and by recycling and minimizing waste


Individuals should be prepared to make personal adjustments to their lifestyles: each and every one of us can do our part by making more environmentally friendly choices in our everyday lives. A holistic effort is needed to make Rome more sustainable.
Using electricity and water saving appliances at home not only reduces the amount of energy consumed but also helps to save money on utility bills

Recycling waste and not littering keeps public spaces clean

Taking public transport, walking, cycling

Choosing cars that use cleaner fuels reduces the air pollutants emitted into our environment

Participating in community programmes that improve our environment


Along with the effort required by the different entities, to make Rome environmentally sustainable it will be necessary to:

monitor and inform the public of the progress the city has made in achieving these goals

review the goals achieved on a regular basis and adjust them, if necessary, to take into account improvements in technology, cost-effectiveness of measures, public response and international developments

By working together today, Rome can be transformed into a better place to live while continuing its role as a UNESCO world heritage site


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