Here is a tale of two cities that are trying to tackle the sustainability issue in different ways:
Pakistan’s largest city, with a population of over 20 million, each year in the region of 1 million people are driven here largely due to poverty and desperation. Sustainability is not high up on the city’s list of problems, but an architect from Harvard has put together a plan to help ease the stress on Karachi.
- The project, dubbed ‘DHA Karachi City,’ puts forward the idea that an entirely new city is needed, located on a rural site covering 11,640 acres, around 50 kilometres to the north east of Karachi City.
- The plan is for the new city to have 50,000 residential and commercial lots, plus a host of other facilities, built and operated in an eco-friendly fashion.
- Once the city is built, only clean and renewable energy will be used to power it, like wind, solar, and biomass energy, combined with energy efficient LED lights for street lighting and interior lighting.
In addition, drains will collect rain water in an artificial lake for use on the land, and energy efficient public transport will be the norm. A sound idea in practice, however creating an entirely new city from scratch doesn’t exactly solve the problem of an unsustainable city, unless of course everyone moved out to its new substitute. This is pretty unrealistic though, and another city is trying to convert itself into a more sustainable home for its residents.
Sydney: Sustainable by 2030?
Over in Australia, Sydney is diving head first into its plans to make the city carbon neutral and sustainable to 2030. It’s fair to say the city council has a lot of ambition, but will they be able to pull it off? Well, the preparation has been thoroughly thought through, and the switch to sustainability involves many different sectors of the city, from transport to energy efficient infrastructure.
Here are some of the initiatives:
- It plans to reduce its own carbon emissions by 70% by 2030, compared to 2006 levels
- Sydney’s infrastructure will be subject to an overhaul, with new energy efficient and water efficient infrastructure, sustainable and affordable housing, and green public spaces for people to meet, work, and shop
Converting an existing city into a more sustainable one seems to be more logical than creating substitute cities, but the work needed to overhaul and change existing infrastructure is enormous. Often cities are built up over hundreds of years, and when you think about converting all those old, energy-inefficient buildings, not to mention water and electricity infrastructure, building a new city from scratch actually begins to sound like a better idea.
Two methods to solve the same problem
Sydney and Karachi are taking two very different approaches at solving the problem of becoming sustainable. Solving the sustainability problem is no easy feat, but here we have two cities that are coming up with new ideas on how to become greener and cleaner, and putting them into action. More cities need to do the same.
7 characteristics of a Sustainable City as identified in a report by SustainAbility and Greenbiz:
The numerous cities strewn across the earth are like hubs for mankind – the idea of a better life in a city gives people hope and inspiration to join these massive communities. With so many people living in the big cities of the world, there are plenty of ideas about how these concrete jungles can be made sustainable. While individuals are slowly swinging around to buying ethical products, such as organic mattresses and fair trade coffee, governments and large organizations around the world are also striving to urge whole communities down the green and sustainable path. Here are the 7 characteristics as per the report:
- The ConnectedCity
- The Decisive City
- The Adaptive City
- The Collaborative City
- The Visceral City
- The Personal City
- The Experimental City
Which city do you live in?
- 3 organizations that are making our cities walkable
- The why and how of walkable cities
- Building a sustainable tomorrow (leeddaily.com)
- Cities and sustainability: our urban future (Green Sustainable Futures)