Santiago de Chile, November 14th, 2017
Challenges like droughts, extreme weather, mounting needs of energy and water are some of the problems cities face today. Yet lack of consistent data and the methodology to assess it, often prevent stakeholders from making proper planning decisions to cope with them.
This pressing issue is behind the study titled Urban metabolism of the Metropolitan Area of Santiago de Chile: Actors and governance in the greening of mobility infrastructure conducted by Enel Foundation in partnership with CEDEUS (Center for Sustainable Urban Development in Spanish) of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Main findings of the study were released on November 14, in Santiago de Chile during the seminar “Metabolism and Metropoli” in the frame of the VIII Forum Santiago 2041. This is a consortium created by Enel Chile, Siemens and the Universidad del Desarrollo, whose main goal is to discuss how to make a more sustainable city towards the year 2041, when Santiago will celebrate its 500th anniversary.
“(The city and its needs) is a strategic issue for Enel Group as 75% of our clients live within the urban space. It is a relevant discussion for Latin America, since it is amongst the most urbanized regions in the world”, says Renata Mele, Deputy Director at Enel Foundation .
Professor Jonathan Barton, who led the research, lectured during the seminar on the main findings of the initiative, that analyzed data gathered across a number of layers that made up the Santiago urban ecosystem to create a multi-sectorial analysis methodology, which in turn will let stakeholders make better urban planning decisions.
Santiago stakeholders, Barton explained, need to accurately track the pulse of the urban transformation. Big data is a just another tool in this exercise, that provide authorities with information to sort out dilemmas such as how to clean the energy matrix or allow the diffusion of electric mobility on a large scale (including public transportation).
A comprehensive view of the city’s challenges will allow for broader mitigations plans to alleviate climate change problems and will solve the scarcity of data available. Regulators and institutional authorities are the main players called to make decisions with this regard, but an open dialogue with private and civil sectors is vital to create a proper framework.
“This methodology will help solve the urban dilemma of how to improve citizen’s quality of life, reducing the depletion of resources. In the wake of the climate change the planet is suffering”, Barton added.
“The energy footprint weight is so large in the overall picture, that the main challenge for a city like Santiago is how to go from a fossil fueled system to a post-fossil system, where electric mobility play a relevant role in alleviating air and noise pollution”, explained.
“Extended cities are to be served by electric cars, otherwise internal combustion vehicles will make things worse. Germany set 2050 as a deadline to replace current technology with electric cars; when will Chile make the same decision?”, asked Jonathan Barton.
Executives of Enel and Siemens Chile analyzed the findings of the study in a discussion panel.
Juan Ignacio Díaz, Siemens Chile general manager, says thay growing chunks of cleaner electricity will be produced within urban borders due to technologies such as microgrids and distributed generation.
“Cities will manage more efficiently their energy thanks to pervasive sensors that are constantly capturing data. This load of big data can be read with new digital technologies that will make planning decisions easier”.
Simone Tripepi, head of e-Solutions Enel Distribución Chile, commented on the introduction of electric mobility in Chile: “In Enel we have bet heavily on this technology, with programs that are tearing down misconceptions, like the allegedly limited range of the cars. The new vehicles are capable of riding up to 200 kilometres, serving most of the travels within the city space”.
“Enel is expanding electric mobility worldwide. We are deploying a charging network in Italy and Chile and other markets, ahead of market trends. This is the classical egg or chicken dilemma, where we are not waiting for masification to react, we want to push it forward with our services”, explained Tripepi.
“Santiago faces the challenge of how to deal with urban pollution: electric mobility is a key tool to improve air quality in the city”, added Renata Mele.
Pablo Allard, dean of Architecture and Urban Studies of Universidad del Desarrollo underscored the relevance of lecture delivered during the VII Forum Santiago 2041: “It allows us not only to discuss general ideas regarding Santiago, but contributed with hard scientific evidence to better know how urban processes are weighed. The ability to make an accurate assessment of city needs will let authorities make better decisions, thus achieving the goal of celebrating the city’s 500th anniversary with improved quality of life and competitiveness.”