Over the last couple of decades, there has been observed a massive migration to the urban areas causing the significant growth of cities worldwide. Yet, urbanization is occurring at the cost of our environment as urban sprawl, unplanned development, infrastructure development all lead to the degradation of our environment. Thus, the demand for greener and cooler cities increases rapidly all over the world for a sustainable urban future that will allow our future generations to have a healthy and green habitat.
Urban development specialists had to discover creative ways to create sustainable infrastructures and clean energy for metropolises to encourage the citizens to embrace a lifestyle that is in harmony with nature and their societies. They aim to create a future in which blue sky, fresh air, and clean water won’t be a luxury but rather a normal thing for all humans that live on our planet to have equal access to.
Why we need green urban development policies and initiatives?
It goes without saying that the need for sustainable urban development initiatives has arisen as a result of the main environmental concerns and changes that the whole world has started to experience. From heavy air pollution, heavy waste pollution, to rising temperatures, and extreme weather changes and phenomena, we have all been able to observe how our reckless actions have damaged our planet.
The increasing urban migration from rural areas is one of the most powerful and hard to control factor that led to the struggle of city governments to accommodate the rising population in these areas. Thus, urban areas started to expand more and more, making concrete buildings and asphalt to conquer and cover our natural environment. As forests and green areas are cut down to build new cities or expand large metropolises, the high air temperatures have become a significant public health threat. Thus, cities are increasingly focused on finding strategies to minimize the impact of urban development on both their citizens’ health and on our planet.
The vicious cycle of waste
As cities from all around the world continue to grow, so does the pollution humanity produces annually leading to enormous amounts of waste that becomes more and more difficult to manage. According to recent studies, cities from all around the world generate about 1.3 billion tons of solid waste per year and specialists are expecting this volume to reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025. Yet, the main issue of the vicious cycle of waste management is the fact that most of the cities lack the disposal abilities. Huge waste generation and the inability of disposal are the causal relationship that led to the increasing negative effects on our environment. Urban development initiatives and policies implemented in cities that produce more waste that they can dispose of have become a necessity and aim to improve the metropolitan framework for municipal solid waste. Many cities from all around the world have started implementing recycling programs, policies, and even laws, to encourage their citizens to dispose the waste of they produce in a sustainable way. Another policy of urban development is supporting greener building design and construction processes. All businesses have understood the need to become more environmentally-friendly and change their business processes to contribute to a healthier world. Thus, they have also started partnering with eco-friendly suppliers that provide recycled materials and products.
Also known as living roofs, green roofs can turn a concrete jungle into a more sustainable place for its residents and less damaging for our environment. Green rooftops have a multitude of benefits including lasting longer than conventional roofs, reducing energy costs, and lowering urban temperatures. They have become a rising trend in metropolises as they can absorb rainwater and improve drainage which is an efficient tactic for boosting cities’ flood resiliency. Recycled aggregate and soil products such as topsoil produced in a sustainable manner are used to create a natural environment on the rooftops of the buildings of urban areas all over the world.
Sustainable sources of energy
Urbanization led to people living compact in the same are which can have its benefits in protecting our planet, yet at the same time, air pollution continues to rise due to the growing demand for energy, transportation, and various industries. Cities from all around the world have started to implement alternative renewable energy resources to lessen their carbon footprint. Technological innovations and advancements have allowed humans to explore alternative resources and create green ways to obtain energy including ocean energy, geothermal energy, biomass energy, solar and wind energy. Those alternative energy sources are being installed on a large scale in urban areas to decrease the negative impact on our planet and to meet the rising demand for energy as the urban population continues to grow.
World’s 3 most eco-friendly cities
We all have a long way to go before reaching ultimate sustainability all over the world. But there are many cities all over the world which have already succeeded in implementing environmentally-friendly urban development policies which have improved the quality of life of their citizens and reduced their carbon footprint significantly. Here are the world’s 3most eco-friendly cities that have set a great example for other city governments to follow:
For several years, Copenhagen has been voted the eco-friendliest city in the world and is hailed as Europe’s Green Capital. The city has developed a multitude of green ways of living and sustainability reaching a point where the total number of bikes outcomes the total number of cars.
Also known as “The city of bikes”, Amsterdam is another sustainable city that contains more bikes than people. The city is also famous for supporting local farmers to provide their citizens with homegrown organic food and most of its population use clothes made from green materials.
Stockholm was the first European city to be awarded the name of the European Green Capital in 2010. The city is also known as one of the cleanest cities in the EU, providing its citizens with green quality of living conditions.
The more we continue to pollute the natural resources of our planet, the more it becomes hazardous for our wellbeing in this world.