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Urban Greenery: A Lesson for Jakarta?

A recent snippet in The Monocle had me intrigued, says MVB chairman Alistair Speirs, here’s what it said: “The vision for the future of Canary Wharf can be summed up as: from the bank to the riverbank. London’s second financial district has suffered something of an exodus over the past two years as workers stayed at home. But a new partnership between the district’s developer, Canary Wharf Group, and the Eden Project, a social-nature enterprise based in Cornwall, hopes to revive the area. It’s an unlikely alliance but one with potential: the goal is to create a model of biodiversity in an urban environment. Plans are for a leafy corridor at the centre of the district, additional green public areas, waterside access, open spaces for the arts and even to improve the quality of the Thames river to allow for water sports and wild swimming. The pandemic has redefined our cities’ financial centres and, while there might be uncertainty about a complete return to the office, who can say no to an open-water dip after a long day behind a desk?”

So who are these parties and why is this important to Jakarta? First let’s meet the developers.

“Canary Wharf Group is the developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe.

They are a commercial and residential property company who, as owner, manager and developer, are responsible for the regeneration of 128 acres of the once-derelict Docklands district of East London. Their purpose is to transform urban spaces into extraordinary environments.” Of course all developers are greener than green and have lots of promises to make. Canary Wharf’s are very serious: “When it comes to social and environmental responsibility, we’re market leaders. Through our sustainability initiatives, we have demonstrated our commitment to safeguarding the environment and creating conscious city living. We will continue to develop forward-reaching initiatives that can make a difference now and beyond.”

But from what the numbers say , they have done very well…..

  • Plastic Free: Single Use Plastic Free Communities Status From Marine Conservation Charity Surfers Against Sewage

  • Coffee Cups: Over 5.3 Million Coffee Cups Recycled Since 2017

  • Bottles: 25,000 + Bottles Recovered Since 2018 From First Deposit Return Vending Machine In The Uk

  • Water: Over 240,000 Bottles Refilled Since 2018 At 7 Newly Installed Water Refill Stations

  • Straws: Over 5 Million Single Use Plastic Items Eliminated And Recycled

  • Renewables: 100% Electricity Purchased From Renewable Resources Since 2012

  • Electric Cars: 14 Electric Car Charging Points

  • Cars: Less Than 5% Of Journeys Made By Car

  • Zero Waste To Landfill: From Managed Areas Since 2009

Ok we are impressed and would now like to challenge the biggest developers here to match that record. We have giant companies here like The Agung Podomoro and Agung Sedayu Groups, Lippo Karawaci, Ciputra, Metropolitan etc. can they put together a list like that? We are here to help them if that want to try!

But what has impressed us even more is that they have not stopped there but engaged and extraordinary charity to help them move into the next phase. Here are the Eco- champions:

Eden Project is an educational charity and social enterprise. Their global mission is to create a movement that builds relationships between people and the natural world to demonstrate the power of working together for the benefit of all living things.

Twenty years ago, a group of pertners transformed a china clay pit in Cornwall into a living theatre of plants and people. This visitor destination, cultural venue and global garden showcases our dependence on plants and demonstrates technological ingenuity and the regeneration of landscapes and livelihoods. It was their first ‘shop window’ for the future they wanted to make.

Today they are a growing movement, working on and developing projects locally, nationally and internationally. Their work is underpinned by the understanding that we need to live with the grain of nature and that everything is interconnected. What we do to the Earth we do to ourselves – they urge us to treasure and support a world we want to live in.

So now we have two great visions coming together.

As Eden Project Founder Sir Tim Smit said: “In the beginning the idea was very simple – let’s take a place of utter dereliction and create life in it” to ourselves – let’s treasure and support a world we want to live in.” Then we combine that with the vision of Canary Wharf: “Transforming urban spaces into extraordinary environments”.

This is indeed and great example we need to really study very carefully. Well done to both.

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