An article by Leo Kasim, The Brunei Times.
BRUNEI needs a government-led platform that brings builders, planners and financiers together if the country aims to build ‘eco-cities’, a Singapore-based environmental consultant said yesterday.
According to Vinod Kesava, executive director and chief operating officer of environmental consultancy firm The GreenAsia Group, the Sultanate needs a venue where stakeholders can plan for a environmentally sustainable city.
“It comes down to having a masterplan and having workshops to learn more about what each others’ disciplines are,” Kesava told The Brunei Times.
In an interview held at the sidelines of Asia Inc Forum’s 7th National Environment Conference (NEC), Kesava said that despite the presence of the Brunei Association of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA), players from other industries are needed to give all involved parties a better perspective.
“In the carbon markets, when you develop a clean mechanism project, you always get everyone involved because it’s not enough just to have architects, you also need financing and investors,” he said.
The government’s role, he said, is to listen and address the challenges that are raised by the stakeholders and to start looking at the various factors that may affect the project outcome.
He said that to understand ecological and sustainable development, Brunei should start looking at available financial and human resources and determine where it wants to go.
He suggested that Brunei needs to conduct studies covering “secondary and primary data” for a clearer understanding of what steps are required “before the architect puts pen to paper.”
Kesava said primary data will cover different fundamental aspects such as management of waste, electricity and transportation while secondary data will address future needs.
He said that a high level of planning will ensure that the country minimise potential wastage and losses.
“Because if you start doing projects without proper planning and when changes need to happen, it will either be too late or too expensive,” he said.
He added that educating the public will also help in implementing an eco-friendly agenda and ensure that everyone is on the same track.
“You have to make sure that members of the public understand what living in an ‘eco-city’ actually means and tell them that being more environmentally conscious does not necessarily translate to more expenses,” Kesava said.
He then advised for a “holistic approach” to creation of an ‘eco-city’ and said that the country can’t expect to find a “single solution” as the challenges for such projects often cover a large scope.