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Around the world: from Berlin’s car-free urban landscape to Oceanix, the floating city of tomorrow

The start of a new year brings the opportunity to make a fresh start, whether it’s committing to be more active or thinking about the bigger picture for our world and planet. With climate anxiety and sea levels on the rise, making positive change for the future is crucial and overdue. Here are three initiatives that are leading by example.

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Berlin’s car-free urban landscape

50,000 Berliners have signed a petition for a law that bans private cars from the city. The campaign, known as Berlin Autofrei, intends to create the biggest, car-free urban area in the world, covering 88 square kilometres – the equivalent of London’s zones 1 and 2. Exemptions include the emergency services and cars for impaired mobility, but the ultimate aim is to free up public space for greenery, pedestrians and cyclists, providing more motivation to get active outdoors. If the government refuses to implement the law, it will go to public vote. Watch this space.

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Oceanix: the floating city of tomorrow

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has joined forces with UN-Habitat to build a prototype of the world’s first floating city by 2025, located off the coast of Busan in the Republic of South Korea. The plan is to create a cluster of buoyant villages linked to a larger archipelago, using sustainable materials and ensuring each platform is fully self-sufficient in terms of water, power and heat. Oceanix will be able to withstand category-five hurricanes and tsunamis, and habitants will be able to live and thrive on the rising water that typically threatens coastal towns. Is this the future of urban climate resilience? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Amsterdam’s ‘doughnut model’

The Dutch capital was recently voted the third ‘greenest’ and most ‘sustainable’ city in the world by TimeOut readers – and with good reason. Amsterdam has embraced a circular economy with its ‘doughnut model’, a vision that’s guided by three principles: eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate ‘natural systems’. Fundamental changes are already happening with callouts such as LENA, a fashion library for designer rentals, and HAUT, a 73m wooden residential skyscraper – the tallest building in the city. The overarching ambition is to ensure that all of Amsterdam’s residents have access to a good quality of life, without putting more pressure on the planet than is sustainable. We’re convinced, are you?

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