The transformation of older cities in order to mitigate the climate change phenomenon has been a global trend, covering multiple strategies to enhance better environment for cities to become more viable places to live. Collaboration of multidisciplinary professionals, advancement of technological innovation, socio-political participation, public education, and governments’ leadership is needed to enhance the quality of life of urban dwellers. In particular, government policies play critical roles to advance cities’ sustainable goals. However, the role of Green Building Councils (GBCs) is undeniably critical to facilitate such changes. Two advanced sustainable cities Hong Kong (a representative city from Eastern countries) and Vancouver (a representative city from Western countries) were selected as case studies to understand the roles of the local governments and GBCs in leading cities’ transformation to achieve sustainable cities goals. Related official documents such as ‘Energy Saving Plan for Hong Kong’s Built Environment 2015–2025+’, ‘Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2030+’, and ‘Greenest City 2020 Action Plan’ of the City of Vancouver were analyzed to identify the governments’ visions, goals, and strategies in greening their cities. A series of expert interviews were conducted to understand the direction of these institutions in driving the changes in policy and practices which included: (i) Government officials and leaders from GBCs in both cities; (ii) Leaders from World Green Building Councils; and (iii) Director of Environment and Development in United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). New prominent green buildings in both cities were observed during site visit to understand the manifestation of the action plan documents in the built environment field. Similarities and differences approaches of both cities to achieve sustainable statuses along with implications, recommendations, and future directions were discussed.
cities’ transformation, eco-cities, governments’ policies, green-building councils, smart-cities, sustainable cities
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