Amid the rapid urbanisation of the world around us, the need for better-planned cities has significantly increased in recent times. The World Bank (WB) has also highlighted that there has been a massive increase in the number of people migrating to cities, especially in Asia and Africa. The primary purpose of these migrants is to seek better job and lifestyle opportunities.
The urban population would nearly double in size and around 70% of people would be living in the cities by 2030, according to the WB’s findings. Governments and international organisations are battling to find sustainable solutions to control urban sprawling and develop metropolitan areas that are more welcoming to nature.
However, achieving the green revolution goals has been quite a challenge for many third-world countries and developing nations. Mapping the cities for sustainable development has become a mammoth task for countries that are either overpopulated or embattled with violence, refugees, and migrants.
Putting a Stop to Uncontrolled Urbanisation
According to different surveys conducted by environmental and construction experts on a global level, uncontrolled urbanization entails tremendous challenges. The most troublesome among them include widening income gaps, worsening pollution, and ageing infrastructure. Simply put, cities in today’s world are struggling to keep up with the ever-expanding urban population.
Well, to create a harmonious balance between nature and urbanisation, the infrastructure and construction models of our cities should promote livability and eco-friendly practices. To come up with a people-centred urban environment where natural resources are conserved is one of the primary motives for developing sustainable cities.
Goal 11 of UN: Sustainable Cities and Communities — Everything to Know!
The world has set its eyes on 2030. According to many countries and global organisations, the next decade is expected to be a “game-changer”. And, considering the groundbreaking roadmap proposed by many tech and construction giants for the foreseeable future, we couldn’t help but admit that the 2030s might actually be a disruptive decade. It could possibly revamp the concept of lifestyle and metropolitan development as we know it.
The United Nations (UN) has also introduced an initiative called “Envision 2030”. It is based on 17 goals, all centred on a sustainable development agenda. However, the 11th goal of the UN’s Envision 2030 specifically talks about sustainable cities and communities. It highlights the framework and other essentials for developing and promoting eco-friendly infrastructure in today’s world.
What Actually Is a Sustainable City?
According to recent findings and understanding, a metropolitan area can qualify as a sustainable community if it satisfies the following criteria:
- Easy availability of basic amenities including educational and health services
- Sustainably managed energy supply and efficient resource allocation
- Well-planned infrastructure and urban development promoting greenery
- Public transport for the masses including electric trains, buses and BRT systems
- Plenty of urban open arrangements, greenbelts and civic spaces
- An urban infrastructure that promotes walking and cycling
Understanding More About Sustainable Design and Infrastructure
The unmanaged growth of the urban settlements in the world is a wake-up call for everyone. As of now, 56% of the global population lives in cities. According to the United Nations (UN) survey, cities occupy only 3% of the total earth’s surface and still, are home to over 4 billion people, leading to a severe imbalance. The densely packed and overcrowded metropolitan areas are naturally prone to problems like exploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution.
The aforementioned are the most alarming factors that urge sustainable urban development in the modern world. For a better understanding of people-friendly development, take a look at the following pointers about sustainable design and infrastructure.
Characteristics of Sustainable Architecture:
- Eco-friendly buildings with intelligently planned architecture maintain desirable temperatures indoors, reducing energy needs.
- The interiors and exteriors of a sustainably designed building are outfitted with non-toxic materials, leading to minimal or absolutely no harm to nature.
- A structure that capitalises on sunlight, natural ventilation and green spaces.
- Self-sustaining systems for greywater treatment and recycling.
Characteristics for Sustainable Infrastructure:
- A city that boasts a sustainable infrastructure ideally features horizontal and vertical complexes designed with green architecture.
- The metropolitan area has necessary arrangements for the conservation of natural resources, especially water.
- Sustainable infrastructure also promotes the concept of sponge cities for rainwater harvesting and urban flooding prevention.
- To reduce the carbon footprint of their host cities, human-centric infrastructure developments also promote the concept of walkability and pollution-free environments.
- Providing ample space for urban greenery and recreational activities is also among the primary motives for sustainable urban development.
Sustainable Cities of the Future: Opportunities and Challenges
Many developed nations around the world are planning and implementing the concept of sustainability. It is to improve the livability conditions of the existing metropolitan areas or to build entire cities from scratch.
Countries like Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have stunned the world with their remarkable visions for the future. Let’s talk about the extension of the Japanese city of Tokyo first.
Tokyo’s Extension to Be a ‘Future-proof’ City
Tokyo is the capital of Japan. It is also the largest city in the country with a population of over 14 million. Urbanisation has always remained a challenge but this highly advanced city has always intelligently managed it.
In a recent development, the local municipal government made a groundbreaking announcement for the extension of the city. The authorities want to build a high-tech and sustainable urban settlement on land reclaimed in Tokyo’s bay area.
They have named it “Tokyo Bay eSG City”. As the name suggests, this upcoming development will primarily focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. The brains behind this entire evolutionary concept claim that upon completion in 2050, it would be the world’s first ESG city.
It is also envisioned that all of the energy and power needs of this futuristic Japanese city will be fulfilled by renewable energy resources, mainly wind power, solar energy and hydrogen. There will also be floating solar farms. Smart grids will manage and control this entire power generation system to ensure efficiency.
Implementing the sustainable urban development model, the master plan of the Tokyo eSG also envisages environmentally friendly, zero-emission public transport systems and residential, mixed-use and commercial complexes that boast sustainable architecture.
Saudi Arabia’s 170-Km-Long Linear City
As soon as “The Line” was announced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), it took the internet by storm. The game-changing scope and vision of the project are unlike anything that mankind has ever seen. Even some of the most well-versed engineers and architects were stunned by the mind-blowing idea of The Line.
According to the official website of the Kingdom’s mega project, it is going to be a 170 km long linear city. They also claim it to be one of the most sustainable cities in human history. By taking a look at its jaw-dropping construction and architectural plans, we have to admit that it would be the boldest and most extraordinary engineering challenge ever.
Is it really “the Future of Urban Living” as claimed by the tagline of the project? Well, only time will tell. The project will house an entire city within a 200-metre-wide gap between two walls, each of them rising 500 metres high and stretching 170 kilometres in the desert.
The giant walls will have a glistening facade made from mirrored glass. Sounds like something from outer space, right? Actually, that’s the whole idea of the masterminds of the project. They want to set a new precedent for cleaner and greener developments.
The Line would have no cars and roads, offering zero-carbon emission urban arrangements. From schools and hospitals to recreational and shopping facilities, everything would be within a walking distance for the residents of this futuristic city.
The extraordinary project is envisioned to start taking shape by 2030, introducing phenomenal environmental solutions to urbanism. However, it is still a huge challenge for engineers and construction experts that could cost up to $1 trillion, according to an estimate.
What do you think about The Line? Does it sound like a far-fetched idea or an achievable goal? We’d love to hear your viewpoint on the future of sustainable cities. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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