The Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria is analyzing the SDG-11 through a series of lectures in streaming, where the gaze is made from an insular perspective. Within this Sustainable Development Goal, which defends sustainable cities and communities, it is vitally important to equip itself with sustainable infrastructures. In fact, the UN emphasizes the fact that the extension of urbanization in cities is leaving as a result a series of inadequate and insufficient infrastructures, which are far from fulfilling the task of making them sustainable. With this theme as a horizon, the fifth act of the conference cycle was developed Sustainable Cities and Communities of the Canary Islands, an initiative being carried out by the College of Architects of Gran Canaria.
The webinar featured a luxury poster composed of Roque Calero, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and member of the Platform for a new energy model for the Canary Islands, Yonay Concepcion, technical director for the development of the Salto de Chira hydroelectric plant, and Ignacio Alonso, Full Professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and member of the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change. The event was opened by the dean of the Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria, Vicente Boissier, stating that “there are contradictions between environmental damage and sustainable infrastructure. That problem did not exist and now it is a reality ”. He added that Chira-Soria from his point of view “is an opportunity.” Boissier estimated that “the coastal management model is a disaster.”
In the first intervention of the speakers, Roque Calero outlined some projects that he has led to establish different sustainable infrastructures on the islands, always with the horizon set on the change of model and a prominent presence of renewable energy. On water management on the island of Gran Canaria, he remarked that “there is not a water problem in Gran Canaria, but a political problem.”
Yonay Concepción began her intervention by addressing the climate emergency at the global level and specifically at the island level. In that sense, he pointed out that in 2020 in Gran Canaria 16% of clean energy was consumed and in 2026 the milestone must be 51% thanks to the Salto de Chira project. He explained the operation of the Chira-Soria hydroelectric plant, highlighting the environmental protection in the Barranco de Arguineguín. Regarding alternatives to the project, he warned that “the alternative is that we do nothing and that is irreversible damage to the island.”
Ignacio Alonso focused his presentation on coastal management. “Sand is a finite resource and it runs out. It is the second most used natural element after water, for things like concrete ”, he warned. He provided data on sea level rise, where he projected that sea level rise in 2100 is forecast at 40 centimeters.
The colloquium touched on issues such as infrastructure planning. Calero interceded in the debate, noting that “with this thought, the dams would not have been made today, it should lead us to reflection.” It refers to the contradiction between infrastructures to generate clean energy and its visual, territorial and environmental impact, a controversy that has transcended in recent times. Yonay Concepción continued, reiterating that “the greatest impact of Chira-Soria is the dams already built.
The dean of COAGC stated that “we should be able to coordinate so that sustainable development is not contradictory with the rest of the associated impacts.” Alonso again brought up the issue of the coastline and stressed that “the sea level will continue to rise and a lot of space has already been taken from the sea in our city.” Roque Calero concluded by saying that in his opinion “there is a lack of political involvement to change the model and to tackle these contradictions”.
The Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria is committed to transferring to the islands the challenges and goals proposed by the Sustainable Development Goals in a climate emergency and reconfiguration of their profession. A thoughtful reflection that raises alternatives to integrate the precepts of the fight against the climate emergency and the profession they represent. It also integrates many edges that need to be debated because they are realities that come from the previous model.
Webinar link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr-Y13c8D8s