Green ICT Infrastructure
In the policies and plans for sustainability and eco responsibility in cities, much attention has been directed to three sectors: the built environment, energy, and mobility. At the commencement of the 21st century, it is obvious that a fourth, equally important element must be addressed: information and communications technology (ICT). ICT is both an environmental problem and an enabler of environmental benefits, but lacks a common framework for data, performance metrics, and solution sets for urban sustainability.
This panel is the start of a dialogue about how cities can create coherent, long term policies and plans to manage the environmental impacts of ICT and utilize ICT strategically to create sustainable 21st century cities.
Footprint in Cities
ICT products and systems are a significant and rapidly growing part of the environmental footprint of modern urban life. They are resource intensive in manufacturing and distribution, consuming ever-greater amounts of energy while in use, and creating escalating volumes of solid and toxic waste.
ICT products may also have negative effects on human and social health as they are produced, used, and discarded.
ICT Enablement of
ICT products, systems, and networks are the essential driver of productivity improvements and innovation for the 21st century. They will be the enabler of sustainability solutions in all networks of urban life: buildings, energy production and use, mobility, water and sewage, open spaces, education, and public health and safety. ICT innovation is also the catalyst for changes in personal, work, and community life that will be a fundamental requirement for sustainable economic development.
Until now, little attention has been given to measuring the eco footprint of ICT in cities, or to clearly understanding its role in enabling other sustainability initiatives. Because ICT systems and products are literally everywhere in modern life, it is difficult to see and understand that each device is part of a whole system globally linked networks to create, manipulate, store, move, and present information for humans and machines. To successfully manage the ICT environmental footprint and realize the benefits for enabling sustainability, a city must have a vision and strategy for ICT that encompasses all organizations and constituencies.