To what extent can cities be sustainable
To what extent can cities be sustainable? Sustainability means meeting the needs of people today in a way that doesn’t damage the environment or use up resources so people can continue to meet their own needs in the future, it is also to do with the cost of implementing these within the city and whether or not it is feasible. I am going to consider strategies such as waste management, also discussing the different ideas cities have had to come back at transport, increased congestion and environmental decline within the I-JK and other countries around the world.
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Managing waste can help urban areas to become ore sustainable. By generating less waste and changing the ways that the waste we do produce is disposed of, we can reduce the amount of resources we use and our impact on the environment. In 2010, each person in the I-JK produced 452kg of waste; a lot of this waste goes to landfill, which is unsustainable. Landfill is when rubbish is buried; it is cheap in the short term however the sites produce carbon dioxide and methane – which are both greenhouse gases.
In the I-JK, the sites produce 36% of all methane emissions, this greenhouse gas adds to climate change. However there are ew technologies that allow the gases produced to be captured and used for example as bio-fuel. In 2008, a landfill site in Mumbai, India was closed and covered and the methane produced from the site is used to generate electricity, this scheme should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2. 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2028. This scheme is sustainable because it is allowing the city to make the future better by reducing the pollutants it is creating.
Landfill can pollute groundwater which would then get into water systems and pollute those too; the new andfill sites created around the world can be specially lined to prevent this. Even though there is a significant cost to doing this, it is sustainable because it is reducing the chance of water being polluted which would damage the environment and also threaten the health of the people who live by the water systems. In developing countries, people often work in landfill sites, scavenging for materials to sell.
For example, in Manila, Philippines, 10000 families lived on or next to the Smokey Mountain dump until it closed in 1996, although it gives the families an income it is ot sustainable because it risks their futures by threats such as disease. Therefore cities with landfill sites that are not accessed by people and are lined stopping them from polluting groundwater are sustainable because it improves their futures. Within Mumbai’s slum, Kevin McCloud found that people seemed genuinely happy there.
However, toilets are open holes above a river which could lead to Dengue fever, cholera and hepatitis. Dharavi has a recycling zone. It is claimed that Dharavi’s recycling zone could be the way forward to a sustainable future. Everything is ecycled from cosmetics and plastics to computer keyboards. 23% of plastic waste gets recycled in the I-JK, in Mumbai it is 80%. However, it is humans who work to sift the rubbish in the tips where children and women sift through the rubbish for valuable waste.
They have to work under the hot sun in appalling conditions where they earn around a El a day for their work. Even though the people who live there are earning money and contributing more to the economy and that they recycle a lot lives. In 2004, the government first announced a redevelopment project to clear the Dharavi slum and create a new independent township; the city is attempting to improve the city by making it more sustainable so that it can cope with the future. For producing environmentally friendly power, Vancouver, Canada is one of the most sustainable cities.
Ninety-three percent of the electricity used in Vancouver is generated using sustainable resources such as hydroelectric power created in British Colombia. The city is also actively working towards becoming a greener city. The City of Vancouver has crafted an action plan of goals it has set to meet by 2020, including educing greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging the growth of green Jobs and businesses, requiring green construction, and reducing waste. Vancouver is set to bring down the greenhouse gas emissions 5% below 1990 levels, even though the population has grown by over 27% and Jobs have increased by over 18%.
The city has created ‘green Jobs’, these are Jobs that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality, reduce energy, materials and water consumption, decarbonise the economy and minimise or altogether avoid generation of all forms of aste and pollution. Job sectors range from clean technology and green buildings to education and materials recovery. Green Jobs also include Jobs in traditional sectors with businesses that have significantly greener processes or operations than industry standards.
As the population of Vancouver is still growing, Jobs will always be needed, this idea of green Jobs decreases the unemployment rate and allows people to have an income but in an environmentally friendly way, as people are now working and being paid to work sustainably and make up sustainable plans for the future. Vancouver is rising to meet the green transportation challenge by creating compact neighbourhoods with higher density to provide easy access to work, shopping and recreation.
Thanks to mass transit, bike lanes (248 miles worth), ride sharing programs, and greenways, Vancouver has the lowest per capita carbon emissions of any major city on the continent. As part of their 2020 goals, they aim to decrease emissions an additional 33 percent, while also enacting strict green building codes (all new developments must be carbon neutral) and improving the energy efficiency of existing structures by 20 percent. The City has shifted investment to walking, cycling and transit infrastructure instead of building new roads.
The graph to the right shows the percentages of people who travel by a vehicle to their destination and how many people walk and cycle. The main target is to make the percentages equal to each other. The city aims to: 1 . Complete a new Active Transportation Master Plan and update the Transportation Plan with direction from the strategies and actions in the Greenest City Action Plan. Vancouver’s last Transportation Plan was completed in 1997, with most actions either completed or in progress.
These new plans will provide the strategies and framework for the next decade of action, which is sustainable as they are planning for the future of the city. 2. Improve pedestrian safety by developing and implementing a pedestrian safety study and action plan. If the city is safer for pedestrians more people are likely to walk to their destination, therefore the number of cars will reduce, which will reduce carbon emissions and the use of fuels, this is therefore better for the environment. downtown and other high-potential cycling areas.
Multiple bike-share stations would rovide easy access to affordable rental bikes for short trips around the city. This would reduce the need for cars around the city, cycling will further reduce carbon emissions which are better for the environment and therefore more sustainable for the city. Vancouver has successfully managed to be a sustainable city because it has set goals and met them, it has also set further goals for 2020 which it is heading to achieve, and the city has implemented realistic but efficient sustainable techniques to improve it which have been a success.
For transport policies, Curitiba in Brazil is ery sustainable; Curitiba is a city of approximately 1. 6million people. Its 1940 population of 120,000 almost quadrupled by 1965 – since when it has trebled to its current size. Industrialisation and exponential growth meant the city was faced with the same environmental, social and economic problems of other developing world urban areas – unemployment, slums, pollution and congestion.
The factor which makes it stand out as a model of Voluntary sustainability’ is the vision and efforts of its mayor Jaime Lerner. He and his government have achieved higher levels of quality f life for the residents of the city by creating a city ‘more intelligent and humane’. This is despite scarce urban resources. Curitiba’s success has been largely dependent on the use of appropriate technology including transport policies, recycling and low technology solutions.
Two-thirds of Curitibans used public transport by the 1990s – with 25 percent less congestion and noticeably cleaner air than cities of similar size. Sophisticated bus services dominate, acting like railways with 1. 3 million people using the system daily. There is integration between the ifferent forms of transport, which has added to the effectiveness of the transport system, as the population can easily get from one place to another. Recycling in Curitiba is now so advanced that two thirds of the city’s daily waste is processed.
Curitiba was awarded the highest environmental prize in 1990 by UNEP, and since its start in 1989 the recyclable waste scheme has accomplished the separation of 419,000 tons of recyclable waste – the equivalent of 1 ,200 20-storey buildings creating 280 square metres of waste each, this has led it to being sustainable because it is aking less pollution therefore the environmental quality is greater. An unusual use of more low-technology methods is the 21 -million square metres of parks, woods, gardens and squares within the city.
Such recreational facilities enhance the quality of life. Most of Curitiba’s parks, called linear parks, are located along river banks and in valley bottoms. They help prevent illegal occupation and shanty town growth and reduce misuse as landfill sites. The park lakes are used to hold back floods and function as water flow regulators during the rainy season. The parks have two uses hich can make them sustainable; they help if there is a flood crisis but also bring about recreational activities on days of good weather.
Another transport policy has been implemented within the United Kingdom in Manchester, an efficient transport system is essential for a prosperous economy, improved accessibility, greater mobility and a better environment. The strategy was designed to maintain and improve accessibility to the city centre while reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality. The council bid for El . 1 billion regional growth fund and the local sustainable he United States of America has focused on the development of green spaces to improve the sustainability of the city and to combat the rise of environmental decline.
Parks, squares, street trees, and other greenery and open space in San Francisco are vital assets of a healthy and liveable city. The ecological benefits of these resources are substantial: landscape improves air quality and lowers dust levels, provides vital habitat and corridors for birds and wildlife, reduces water run- off and erosion, and allows groundwater recharge. Trees and other plants absorb arbon dioxide and therefore lower the citys contribution to global warming, which is important for the sustainability of the future of the city.
San Francisco’s public spaces, parks, trees and open spaces also have a profound social and economic function in the city that is often overlooked; these resources enable people to connect with each other and with the natural world. They bring residents and visitors together for enjoyment, recreation, spiritual renewal, and education and they enhance the experience of walking, shopping, working, traveling and living in the city. Studies have shown that if the parks and street trees are to a high standard, this increases property values therefore increasing the revenue for the local council.
A sustainable city has to give access of the green spaces to the population which San Francisco has achieved successfully, therefore it is sustainable in this aspect, and it has managed to reverse the environmental decline. In conclusion, I believe that to some extent cities can be sustainable, but it is all dependent on whether or not the city tries to be sustainable or not. All of the cities that I have mentioned above are ustainable within one aspect but not successful in all, this however is better than some cities around the world, who fail to do anything.
Curitiba has successfully made transport sustainable, San Francisco has made the environment sustainable, Vancouver has aimed to make employment sustainable and Mumbai has focused on making waste management sustainable. If all these cities were one together, it would be a very sustainable city; however it is difficult for a city on its own to be sustainable, as sustainability comes at a huge cost to the economy of the country.