Components of an Ecological City

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I am collecting some information for an upcoming proposal and came across three articles of usefulness.One is on planning for ecological-friendly cities, the other involves identifying the ones already doing a good job.

An article from Mary Newsom at the Charlotte Observer. A self-titled writer on topics of “growth, development, urban design and urban life,” Ms. Newsom presented a useful synopsis of the various components of an ecologically-mindful urban area, which stemmed from a recent conference, “The Next City,” sponsored by the Lincoln Land Institute. Here is how it breaks down:

  • Design and layout: density is key
  • Public transport and eco-friendly personal transport (i.e. walking, bicycles) are facilitated by higher density
  • Agriculture and local food, and
  • Effective regional management

These are not at all new, but base components for thinking about policy. Just making a note of them for myself and any interested others.

Another strikes a bit more personally. The Independent recently reported on Mercer’s list of the most Livable Cities in the world. The usual tenets, such as cost of living, public transit, family-friendly, etc., seemed to be included. John Lichfield’s take was that the cities that topped the list are all fine and good and, well boring. Vienna is top. Now, living in Vienna, I don’t find it boring at all. Hardly innovative, never cutting-edge, the city is still a wealth of activities and traveling. The survey did not seem to take a pulse of the grumpiness of citizenry, as I’m sure that Vienna would top that list, which detracts from its livability. No matter, however, as the list is a virtual who’s who of cities thinking in the contexts of urban environmental interactions. The list should prove useful, even if the places are dull.

Finally, in line with the infrastructure component from above, the New York Times relates information about the smart infrastructure movement. Provides all sorts of numbers on greenhouse gas reductions and transit efficiencies possible through effective “grid” management, whatever the grid maybe. This projects where cities may find resource efficiencies as more cheap sensors are installed and smart systems are further adopted.

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