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This essay asks you to identify a city-wide sustainability plan and provide a critical assessment of it. To begin the essay you need to do two things.

First, identify a city. This can be any city in the world, BUT IT CANNOT BE AN AUSTRALIAN CITY. In choosing a city, you should make sure that it has a city-wide sustainability plan. Such a plan will likely have a variety of names – a climate change plan, a strategic plan (with sustainability within it), etc,.

Your second task is to figure out the basis for your critical assessment: what are the criteria by which you will assess the plan. The UN Habitat Report on Planning Sustainable Cities (the report is also on iLearn) provides a good foundation. You might like to seek other sources if you like. One useful one is below:

K.Davidson and M.Arman 2014 ‘Planning for sustainability: an assessment of recent metropolitan planning stratgies and urban policy in Australia’ Australian Planner.

Your third task is to bring the first two tasks together: use your criteria to assess the relevant plan(s) for the city you have selected.

In terms of essay structure, use your criteria for what a sustainability plan should contain to organise your essay. I suggest spending  on your criteria, and the rest on your assessment. You will also need to include a short description of the context of the plan, but this should be very short.

Criteria for a Sustainable City Based on UN-Habitat Report on Planning Sustainable Cities

The city of Chicago is selected for critical assessment of citywide sustainability plans. This plan criterion is to be created to assess the plan, for this purpose UN Habitat’s (2009) concepts, which provide eight common urban sustainability trends to evaluate the climate action plan of Chicago. A sustainable city or urban sustainability is where the social, environmental, and economic impact is considered while designing a city but not negotiating the upcoming generation to experience the same (Sorving, 2018). 2015 Sustainable Chicago action agenda will be discussed in detail in this report.

In the United States, Chicago is one of the largest city. The population is estimated to be 2,716,450 according to 2017 census, makes it third most crowded city after New York and Los Angeles in the United States (cityofchicago, 2018). A sustainable Chicago is a city, which creates high-paying jobs in up-coming trades and spends little on the use of energy with passing years; upgrading infrastructure ensures Chicago residents with an opportunity to enjoy a healthy life and active lifestyle (Leyden, 2016). Over some years, investments in infrastructure, transportation, and energy efficiency have been increased to enhance job opportunities and make sustainability as Chicagoans part of life. Chicago is well known as the “Windy City,” but its formal motive, “City in a Garden,” defines the image it is struggling for (Hower, 2018).

Criteria for a Sustainability city, The UN-Habitat Report on Planning Sustainable Cities that gives eight characteristics that provide criteria to assess the plan of sustainability. First, developing renewable energy- cities must strive to become producers and suppliers of the energy instead of just consuming energy in the form of sources like wind and solar energy for production of latest renewable technologies and driving force after transportation. An important and significant element of the urban economy includes integration of production of renewable energy within the city. Second, striving for carbon-neutral cities- being carbon neutral, whether business, home or neighborhood is the main objective described by the UN-Habitat. To accomplish this objective, cities must replace fossil fuels and implement energy proficient measures. Through ecological regeneration, bioregion can also be enhanced. Carbon neutral city can be achieved by following three steps that include reduction of use of energy, the addition of more renewable energy, and planting trees to emit CO2. Third, Developing locally distributed power and water systems- the main objective is to shift to small-scale systems from large centralized systems within cities for such development. Through water-sensitive urban area, the efficiency of water and power supply will increase which would result in a reduction of ecological footprints. Forth, Increasing photosynthetic spaces as a part of the green infrastructure- placing greater emphasis on the natural system, a city can reduce ecological footprint by increasing green infrastructure cities. This will benefit in the form of clean water, climate moderation, cleansing the urban air, and stormwater collection, and managing. Fifth, improving the eco-efficiency- a move toward closed-loop systems from linear is involved in this characteristic. It develops nutrients and energy from waste streams. By reduction of waste and resource requirements, can result in a decrease in ecological footprints. Moreover, the process can also include green agenda issues in it. Sixth, increase the sense of place, a city’s economy needs to be locally self-sufficient and more of place-oriented in order to reduce ecological footprints and make sure its ecological features are improved. Seventh, developing sustainable transport- by a change in transport forms, from emission polluting to non-emission polluting, less energy utilization concept is offered by transport-oriented solutions. The ecological footprint can be reduced in the city that runs on sustainable transport. Private and Public transport infrastructure plays a vital role in this regard. Eighth, developing cities without slums- innovation is required in order to achieve this goal. This is one of the significant objective, which all developing countries consider in urban planning (UN Habitat, 2009).

Assessment of Sustainable Chicago Action Agenda 2015

Assessment of sustainable Chicago action agenda 2015, First, developing renewable energy- this criterion is considered in action agenda in one of the plans that are ‘energy efficiency and clean energy’.  The third goal set in this plan is consistency with Illinois renewable portfolio standard and create 20MW renewable energy. Key actions taken to achieve the goals are the installation of 10MW renewable energy in city properties; locally produced renewable energy must be explored for new approaches for power procurement (chicagoclimateaction, 2018).

Second, striving for carbon-neutral cities- under this criterion, with the introduction of Chicago Climate action plan (CCAP), it helps the city of Chicago achieving climate goals by reducing greenhouse gas emission by 25% until 2020. City of Chicago sustainable plan of ‘climate change’ includes: First, diminish carbon emissions from every sector. Second, enhance the quality of air by diminishing greenhouse gas emission and speed up act towards federal standards (chicagoclimateaction, 2018). The third goal, prepare for changes in the climate for protecting the city and its residents. To fulfill this criterion another plan in the action agenda is ‘Waste and recycling’, for this first goal is accessibility to recycling to be improved, and re-use and waste reduction policies to be promoted. Secondly, Standard green practices to be incorporated in every city operations (chicagoclimateaction, 2018).

                                                               

                                                                   

                                                                                  Source: cityofchicago, 2015

Third, Developing locally distributed power, water systems this criterion is considered through plan ‘water and wastewater’, and its set goals as per sustainable action plan Chicago 2015. These goals are: First, an annual decrease of water usage by 2 percent- by replacing leaky old water pipes and guiding residents and business in water consumption management. Second, to reduce basement flooding and sewer overflows, stormwater management is to be enhanced- for this Chicago is improving underground sewer system and its process. Third, the Chicago River must be converted into their second waterfront- Chicago river plays a vital role in the development of Chicago economy, and it is a valuable asset for the city, enhancing the quality of life of its residents, it is potential to become the second waterfront for the city. The fourth goal, improve access to Lake Michigan and protecting water superiority- for this, the plan key actions involve the creation of better accessibility to the lakefront like pedestrian flyover, because of visitors make value priceless for Lake Michigan.

First Criterion: Developing Renewable Energy

Forth, Increasing photosynthetic spaces as a part of the green infrastructure- according to a sustainable Chicago action agenda 2015, for this criteria, a plan is made, that is ‘Parks, open space, and healthy food.’ For the accomplishment of this plan, three goals are created. First, The rise in the number of parks and public spaces accessible for residents- for this the city will invest in new public spaces and enhance innovation to generate open active lanes. Second, availability of healthy food locally and increasing more variety and options for it in the neighborhood- around 400,000 residents lack this access nearby, the city will create innovative solutions for the availability of healthy food varieties within convenient area nearby. Third, increase and protection of  Chicago's biodiversity and natural assets- for this the city will create a protective habitat for birds and other species to live, in the Calumet region habitat restoration would be driven.

Fifth, Improving the eco-efficiency- according to Chicago sustainable plan, one of the considerable categories is ‘Energy Efficiency and clean energy.’ Major goals for this plan includes: first goal, improving citywide energy efficiency by five percent, for this key actions considered are support installation of smart meters in households and business in Chicago; also support improvements in energy efficiency by 20 % in business and homes through Retrofit and LEED-certified buildings are doubled in number (cityofchicago, 2018). The second goal, in municipal buildings overall energy efficiency, is to be improved by ten percent. For this, key actions are energy reduction of 20%by targeting 10 million sq. feet of municipal buildings; tracking and report of energy consumption (chicagoclimateaction, 2018).

Sixth, increase the sense of place- regarding this criterion sustainable Chicago action agenda 2015 has not included any specific plan. Although some goals regarding the availability of local food, and exploring local renewable resources options are set to accomplish within other plans.  

Seventh, Developing sustainable transport- according to a sustainable plan of Chicago, the goals to be achieved for this purpose are: First goal, Increase in average of regular transit ridership, for this goal accomplishment key actions include:  Whole renewal of 100 train locations with work concentrating on painting, lighting, waterproofing, and masonry  ensuring they are “dry, safe,  and bright.” The second goal, around transit stations transit-oriented development, would be accelerated. Third, create Chicago the most bike and pedestrian pleasant city. Forth, hasten high-speed passenger rail plans and increase freight movement. Fifth, at Chicago's airport sustainability leadership is advanced. Sixth, to progress vehicle efficiency infrastructure, is to be strengthened- for this traffic signal timings for buses and cars must be reduced, electronic vehicle charging stations to be install, development of fuel infrastructure with ‘Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition’ and use of clean fuel to be encouraged. The seventh goal, decrease in usage of municipal fossil fuel by 10 percent- the number of vehicles to be reduced for this, and on fleet vehicles to be replaced with green fleet by 3% annually, garbage services efficiency to be increased with lane grid-based pick-up routing (chicagoclimateaction, 2018).

                                                     

Eighth, developing cities without slums-, this action plan has not considered criteria of slum specifically in any plan, but one of its plan of ‘economic development and job creation’ will help the residents by an increase in job opportunities and reduce unemployment in the city. This plan will indirectly fulfill the requirements of these criteria (cityofchicago, 2015).

To conclude, it can be stated that for a city to be sustainable, plans or action agendas are prepared. Here in this report, Chicago had molded its legacy as a most dynamic city in America and have willing to look frontward to create Chicago’s future as economically competitive and sustainable. Creating criteria to assess sustainable plans of Chicago, UN nation established characteristics are taken into account. While assessing, Sustainable Chicago action agenda 2015 on UN nation based criteria there are major seven plans that this agenda focus. These seven agendas include many goals and projects that need to do in 2015-2020, full filing almost every criterion of UN Nation characteristics stated. These seven plans were, economic development and job creation; transportation options; climate change; water and wastewater; energy efficiency and clean energy; parks, open space and healthy food; waste and recycling.

References:

chicagoclimateaction, 2018. Adaption. [Online]
Available at: https://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/pages/adaptation/11.php

chicagoclimateaction, 2018. Clean & Renewable Energy Sources. [Online]
Available at: https://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/pages/renewable_energy_sources/13.php

chicagoclimateaction, 2018. Energy efficient buildings. [Online]
Available at: https://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/pages/buildings/12.php

chicagoclimateaction, 2018. Improved Transportation Options. [Online]
Available at: https://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/pages/transportation/14.php

chicagoclimateaction, 2018. Reduced Waste & Industrial Pollution. [Online]
Available at: https://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/pages/waste/15.php

cityofchicago, 2015. 2015 ACTION AGENDA SUSTAINABLE CHICAGO. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/progs/env/SustainableChicago2015.pdf

cityofchicago, 2018. Facts & Statistics. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/about/facts.html

cityofchicago, 2018. Retrofit Chicago. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/env/retrofit_chicago.html

Hower, M., 2018. Inside Chicago's sustainability strategy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/inside-chicagos-sustainability-strategy
[Accessed 11 03 2011].

Leyden, D., 2016. Public-sector entrepreneurship and the creation of a sustainable innovative economy. Small Business Economics, 46(4), pp. 553-564.

Sorving, K., 2018. Sustainable landscape construction: a guide to green building outdoors. s.l.:Island Press.

UN Habitat, 2009. Global report on human sttlements 2009, London: Earthscan.

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[Accessed 22 May 2024].

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