Green communities can be identified in part by the way their citizens and leaders aspire to and integrate acts of justice. In Curitiba, Brazil for example, pioneering leaders created ways to improve the lives of their poorest citizens by employing them to help collect and sort the city’s waste stream as part of an integrated strategy to teach citizens that, “trash is not trash”. Bus tokens and housing opportunities are offered to Curitibanos who work to limit the flow of waste to landfills, and a whole network of “catadores,” citizens who collect and recycle cardboard, plastic and othermaterials roam the streets as part of the fabric of the community collecting materials. In 2012, students from the College of Architecture + Planning travelled to Curitiba to see how they implement social, environmental and economic justice as a roadmap toward a just metropolis.
Planning for resilience has taken on new meaning as we come to understand the effects of climate change. While some cities have been forced into resiliency from war and natural disasters, many cities today are planning for resilience from sea level rise and accommodating climate refugees. Freiburg, Germany, a city decimated by allied bombing raids during WW II, has not only rebuilt its historic core, but has become an international leader in sustainable planning and development.
From policies requiring the harvesting of canyon winds for cooling buildings, pioneering design in Zero Plus buildings, and the development of robust and reliable transportation infrastructure, Freiburg has shown how planning for resilience adds to the quality of life for all of its citizens. In 2010 students from the College of Architecture + Planning visited Freiburg to see first hand how the city is designing and building for resiliency and beyond.