It is estimated that half of the world’s population currently lives in cities. The fast migration to urban areas raises environmental and socio-economic concerns for the future. Here are the features that make a city eco-friendly.
What Is a Sustainable City?
A sustainable city is an urban area that has developed eco-friendly solutions for a positive social, economic, and environmental impact. One of the goals is to minimize the wastage of water, food, and fuel. To achieve those objectives, it is often necessary to redesign architecture, waste management, and transport systems.
According to statistics, cities occupy 3% of the landmass but consume up to 80% of the energy. Large populations in cities present many challenges such as traffic jams and pollution. But there are also opportunities to exploit.
Features that Make a City Sustainable
No model can precisely define a sustainable urban area. However, social, economic, and environmental concepts provide a framework for making the city sustainable. The city must not only be eco-friendly but must also encourage collaboration and inclusivity.
A walkable neighborhood is one of the principal features of an eco-friendly city. The idea behind the concept is to reduce the number of cars and traffic jams. Vehicles are the leading contributors to carbon emissions in cities.
A sustainable city will have bike paths and walkways to encourage people to cycle or walk to work. It also features intelligent urban planning that prioritizes access to public transport and amenities.
Reducing the time residents spend commuting also cuts down fuel consumption. In cities like Vancouver, half of all transit is by foot, bike, or public transport. According to GetSmarter research, 69% of the consumers in the city make purchases with sustainability in mind.
Green Sustainable Buildings
Green buildings are also another key feature of an eco-friendly city. It is estimated, buildings in urban areas account for a third of the energy consumption. By adopting and improving the design of the building, the city can reduce its carbon emissions.
Through government incentives, cities are promoting eco-friendly buildings. The building may feature solar panels to replace fossil fuels. The plan may involve adopting efficient cooling and heating systems coupled with enhanced ventilation and insulation.
Sustainable Food Production
Many cities globally are increasingly working on producing food locally. Urban populations are growing exponentially, making food security critical. Cities have to source from farms outside the local area, which increases carbon emissions.
Urban farming involves the application of new technologies to utilize space. Rooftop gardens and aquaculture are some of the solutions adopted by eco-friendly cities.
The principal challenge for urban farming is producing food while keeping the agricultural system stable and sustainable. However, cities can gain from reduced carbon emissions and better nutrition for residents.
There are many other elements that cities have adopted to address carbon emissions and enhance food security. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a social and economic model that defines eco-friendly concepts. Urban areas can become more sustainable by improving transportation, building architecture, or using renewable energy.