In recent years, more and more people have started to move towards urban areas. Also, environmental issues have become graver than they were ever before. In a situation like this, cities should consider introducing new systems. At the same time, they will need to be mindful of their impact on the environment. Fortunately, some cities took a more proactive approach and have already started to adopt green practices. And now, due to this, different trends are emerging which will allow sustainable cities to build on them and to take environmental practices of today further.
The importance of eco-friendly urban areas should never be taken lightly. Why? Well, because it is predicted that by 2050, 68% of the population will be living in cities. This means urbanization will grow by several folds and those cities that don’t care about sustainability will threaten the environment. Sustainable cities are going to be much different than what they look like today. Considering the present trends, the following is what they may involve:
#1. Promoting Zero-Emission Transportation
Transportation is responsible for contributing the most to carbon emissions. And knowing how this is harmful to the environment, green cities will have to put in efforts to make emission-free transport a top priority. Many cities are already working on this and there is a strong possibility that this problem will be eliminated in the coming years. One example of this is Copenhagen in Denmark. The city has successfully changed its road structure, encouraging people to ride bicycles. And you will be surprised to know that 62% of their population ride bikes to get to their destinations. This helped them introduce zero-emission traffic. Electric cars are now slowly becoming a trend. It will too help in saving the environment.
#2. Making Biodiversity a Priority
As cities are growing more rapidly, habitat destruction is becoming a real threat. So, in such a case, sustainable cities should emphasize the importance of maintaining wildlife within city limits. And if they are successful in doing so then they will be able to make cities greener that will feature more plants and animals. Toronto in Canada is an example of this. The city has made green roof developments necessary. Then there is Munich in Germany that lets sheep graze in public parks. It is essential for cities to preserve their natural areas as this will minimize habitat destruction. Also, once the green space increases in an area, it will help improve the quality of air. This means that people will be able to breathe fresh air which is important for them to keep their bodies and minds healthy.
#3. Focusing On Waste Management
When cities will have more residents, there will obviously be more waste. Therefore, sustainable cities will be looking for ways to reduce it. People are already aware of how recycling can help but cities will have to do much more than just that. Ideally, cities should be able to use waste to help in other areas. Sounds confusing? Well, this example may help you understand this better: San Bernardino in California introduced a project titled, San Bernardino Waste to Energy Project which allowed the city to transform the organic food waste into electricity via anaerobic digestion.
#4. Encouraging Energy-Conscious Construction
Apart from Transportation, electricity is also a big contributor to carbon emissions. You may not know this but about 40% of the energy goes towards buildings in the United States. And it is not a surprise that households consume energy whether they do that by watching Cox Cable all day or running different appliances. So, in order to reduce emissions, sustainable cities will have to figure out a way that lets people use less energy. One solution is to turn to renewables. Also, they will have to encourage architects to become more creative when designing buildings. If they are able to create structures that can easily access natural lighting and airflow, people will start to consume less energy.
Urbanization is inevitable. And those cities that are sustainable will survive. Therefore, instead of focusing on expanding cities, nations should start to make them more sustainable. Considering how serious the environmental problems have become, there is not much choice for cities but to go green if they want to support the population and technological growth. And keep in mind that sustainable and smart city movements are not opposed to one another. Rather, it is the green practices that will help make cities smart.