Sustainable urban living 1
A sustainable city has certain characteristics that relate to its long-term future, which is ideally problem free. The environment is not damaged; the economic base is sound with resources allocated fairly and jobs secure, there is a strong sense of community, with local people involved in decisions made.
A sustainable city – an urban area where residents have a way of life that will last a long time. The environment is not damaged and the economic and social fabric, due to local involvement, are able to stand the test of time.
Conserving the historic and natural environment
The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City provides an example of conserving an area of previous industrial use and historic commercial and cultural areas. The Liverpool Waterfront and areas associated with its development were designated a World Heritage Site in 2004. The award recognised the importance of the area as a port and associated buildings of global significance during the heyday of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the buildings are architecturally as they were then, although their function has changed.
The historic environment can be conserved in many different ways:
· old industrial buildings, like warehouses, can be turned into apartments
· rundown houses can be redeveloped to provide housing that will last into the future
· canals in cities can be rebranded and regenerated as leisure facilities
The natural environment can be conserved by cities:
· using more electricity generated renewably, e.g. by solar and wind power
· collecting and recycling water, instead of piping it in reservoirs in the countryside
· running fuel-efficient public transport systems that cause less pollution
The natural environment can be conserved by reducing, or even stopping, development on the edge of the existing built-up area and by encouraging development to
take place on sites that have been previously used in the inner city or other areas. Green belts exist around many large towns in England or in towns where growth is occurring. These were set up to prevent urban sprawl and to ensure that the surrounding countryside is protected from development. This often provides (and the policy intended this) recreational open space for urban residents, limiting available sites on the edge of the city means that alternative locations for development must be offered if growth is to continue. This means that building on brownfield sites is simultaneously encouraged. In addition to limiting the growth beyond the city, as sites are available with
the current built-up areas, there are other advantages of building on brownfield sites that benefit the environment and encourage sustainability.
Advantages of building on brownfield sites
· makes use of sites that have already been developed
· reduces possible waste/derelict land in cities
· countryside is not built on
· leads to contaminated or unsightly sites being cleaned up
· prevents urban sprawl
· reduces commuting and traffic congestion
areas on the edge of the city can be used to provide leisure opportunities