Creatives Take Over
More than half of the world’s population already lives in the city. We leave the countryside for our work, our study or just because we think there is more to experience in the city. If this megatrend continues, 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas in 2030 (Pwc, 2018). Where people are, is waste. Our ecological footprint will by that time be about twice as large as our planet can handle. Fresh water, clean soil and clean air will become scarcer every day. Maybe we will all live in a place where we have always wanted to live, but whether that will make us happy will be a different story.
With its smog-free projects, designer Daan Roosegaarde has been working for some time to make the air of cities around the world cleaner (Vice, Creators, 2018). Smog particles are so small that we can not see, smell or feel them. Yet the substance is clearly present in the city and it ensures that we live eight years less. According to Roosegaarde, clean air may be the new luxury. ‘Instead of a Louis Vuitton bag or ferrari, we prefer clean air, clean energy and clean water’. Just like with its smog-free tower, Daan Roosegaarde is already responding to this changing need. He designed the smog-free bike. ‘A lot of people do not want to cycle because of the pollution’. An attribute on the steering wheel that, while you are cycling, sucking up the dirty air from the city, cleaning the air and spitting out this clean air in your face, should make sure that more people in polluted cities choose the bike as a means of transport.
Another common form of pollution in the city is one that you may not immediately think of, is chewing gum. The biodegradability of chewing gum is approximately 20 to 25 years (Stichting Nederland Schoon, 2008). When we walk through the city we can all see that it is not just a few chewing gums on the street but that there is so much chewing gum on the Dutch pavement to find, surprised me. In the Netherlands there are about 1.5 million kilograms of chewing gum on the street every year. Also in the capital there is a lot of chewing gum to find on the street. To make people aware of the chewing gum problem in Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has started an anti-gum campaign. The specialized company Gum-Tec, together with the Amsterdam brand Explicit Wear, produced the first sneaker made from chewed gum; the so-called ‘Gumshoes’. ‘We always look for innovative ways to make city cleaner and more appealing’. ‘By looking at ways differently we can find innovative solutions that will bring change to help to keep up the planet clean’. (Publicis One Netherlands, 2018)
Also the New Yorker Josh sees that something has to change in the area of sustainability. Josh, however, tackles this somewhat differently than coming up with a smog-free bike or a sneaker made of chewing gum. Josh makes bikes. He does not make ordinary bicycles but real works of art. By making an attractive unique bike made from recycled metal, Josh tries to let more people cycle. When you cycle through the streets of New York on a model of Josh, you can show who you are and cycling becomes an experience.
Sustainability has become an important concept in recent years, which will continue to evolve in a world where we choose the city. By devising solutions in a creative and innovative way for the problems the planet is struggling with, the threshold to actually opt for the sustainable options will become increasingly smaller. In the future, all kinds of new products will continue to appear on the market that help to make the earth healthy again.