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Eco – Cities Essay

This week, unlike previous weeks, we face societies who could effectively manage their cities, in terms of environmental aspects. Their success is, mostly, linked to strong mayoral leadership and people’s active participation in city programs; purchasing city-issues bond or even collecting garbage. These actions showed their commitment to sustainable development. But, this couldn’t be done without good understanding of local culture.

Besides, these residents have a complete understanding of the link between good urban development planning and a better quality of life and the result can be seen in their application of innovative solutions to enhance quality of their city and economic productivity and growth, while minimizing environmental impacts. They were able to solve environmental/urban issues without time-consuming construction. In some examples, despite scarcity in land and natural resources, coming from population growth, comprehensive and integrated management of these two issues helped sustainable targets to be achievable.

Approaches to Sustainable Development environment goals can be listed as below:

* Environmentally efficient transport
* Sustainable energy use
* Sustainable land and water use
* Waste treatment with minimal environmental impacts
* Healthy indoor environment

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Some cities may cut expenditures by reducing waste, while generating revenue from the recyclables and by-products resulting from waste treatment. Some protects water resources and plants trees to improve their urban ecology in response to their most important issues like: Water scarcity and high temperature.

Still traffic and mitigating usage of private vehicles are points of concerns for governments. Rapid vehicle ownership in result of low prices causes rising traffic volume. Consequences of this increment reflect on sustainable related problems, air pollution, GHG emission, depletion of open space, degradation of local neighborhood and quality of life. Thereby, efficient public transportation is one of the environmental goals in compact cities. All kinds of public transportation from mini buses and airport shuttles to mass transit technologies and elevated trains are implemented in order to provide an improved environment.

Traffic calming major objectives are to:

* Reduce the severity and number of accidents in urban areas * Improve the urban street environment for noncar-users * Reduce the cars dominance on roads by reclaiming road space for living space * Reduce the barrier effect of motor traffic on pedestrian and cycle movement * Enhance local economic activity by creating a better environment for people Sustainability is achieved within a sustainable city in which urban design and planning along with architectural aspect do their best to be green. Sustainable city can feed itself with minimal reliance on the surrounding countryside, and power itself with renewable sources of energy. From the architectural and urban design aspect, cities have to be human-scaled.

Form an identity of a metropolis should integrate historic context, unique ecologies and comprehensive regional structure. Streets must be pedestrian and friendly. Sidewalks have to have trees. Building entries and parallel parking must shelter and enhance the walking environment. We as human being need towns rather than sprawls, so solutions to decrease urban sprawl, by seeking new ways of allowing people to live closer to the workspace should be considered, access to better public transportation which should be efficient/safe and mixed used development are important options. Sustainability and sustainable approaches, treatments and management are something that should penetrate to all aspects of our life. We can definitely green our green planet again.

References
Eco2 Cities – Ecological Cities as Economic Cities; Part 3, The Field Reference Guide (p. 165 – 224). S.M. Wheeler & T. Beatley (2004). The Sustainable Urban Development Reader (Routledge, NY); “The Next American Metropolis,” (Peter Calthorpe, 1993); “Transit and the Metropolis: Finding Harmony” (Robert Cervero, 1998); “Traffic Calming,” (Peter Newman & Jeffrey Kenworthy, 1999). J.H. Kunstler (1993). The Geography of Nowhere (Simon & Schuster, NY), Ch. 11 (Three Cities) 189-216.

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