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Urban Sustainability: Global Urbanization Trend

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Question:

Discuss about the Urban Sustainability for Global Urbanization Trend.

 

Answer:

Introduction

In the context of urban development, the meaning of sustainability is slightly different. Developing countries do not escape the global urbanization trend (Stowers 2017). Urban sustainability can be define as creating urban environments which are independent of any foreign elements and are self dependent for their requirement of resources. The fact that 51 percent of the population is now concentrated on only 2 percent of the planet means we need to design urban environments that have minimal impact on the ecosystem while also being resilient to external threats (Herring 2017). Cities that are sustainable have a cycle of energy transfer and consume what they produce. This cycle is replete and the cities do not need to depend on any foreign bodies for their needs of energy, electricity or fuel.

 

Impact on Urban Development

Any new concept needs time for people to grasp it. There are always certain product and cons associated with change. Sustainability is the need of the hour. Our planet's resources are depleting at a fast pace and even though there is a lot of awareness among people, very few are actually trying to put an effort into doing something about it.

The already constructed urban developments are not in line with the intended urban sustainable cities. Therefore, a huge amount of time, resources, effort and money will be required to change the current scenario. Over the past half decade or so, it has become increasingly apparent that cities are leading the way–and ultimately, have the greatest chance at boosting our chances for survival in the face of declining resources and rising seas (SCHWARTZ 2013). In addition to this, making people aware of the benefits of sustainable developments is also necessary. The two main strategies for transitioning to a low-carbon city are to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources and to reduce urban energy consumption levels (Kammen 2016). The governments cannot cease people properties and take stand alone decisions about creating sustainable urban developments. They can however, teach the public and spread awareness about its benefits to the environment and in return to the humans itself.

As concerns about suburban sprawl, shanty towns and climate change grew, so too did awareness that clustering people in energy-efficient buildings and walk able, shady neighborhood makes cities more pleasant to live in and better for the global environment (Wachsmuth 2016). Urban development cannot be made sustainable overnight. It takes years and years of planning. Planning is a crucial element for any development initiative (UrRahman 2016). This includes large scale documentation of the already constructed buildings, analyzing built mass, listing down costing of the entire project, figuring out how to and whether or not to relocate people already sustaining their lives in these urban developments. However, one cannot ignore the benefits of sustainable urban developments. Below are mentioned the short, medium as well as long term implications of turning current developments in to sustainable ones on to their growth and development.

Short term implications- The most chaotic bumpy and overall disruptive period shall be the imminent future if one is thinking of converting the already present urban development into sustainable ones. The growth and development of a city are directly proportional to the overall smooth functioning of every major element that contributes to its being. However, even though one might think that the present urban scenarios are progressing rapidly and have increased development economically, are headed towards their doom.

The Sunshine Coast Council has unapologetically chopped down and mulched 18 fruit trees on verges in Buderim within the hugely popular Urban Food Street (UFS) precinct (Atkinson 2017). In this particular case, the act of cutting down of trees that had been a part of the particular area in Sunshine Coast was extremely shocking to the residents. They didn’t know why it happened. Also, the parents at the Sunshine Coast reported that they felt that their children would be very heavily impacted by this action of felling trees by the Council. This is because children were used to playing outside near the trees. But there aren’t any trees there anymore.

The short term effects on the growth and development of urban developments are not going to be very positive. There will need to be some major changes incorporated in to the very basis of the city for it to be converted into a sustainable region. Once the initiative of converting a city into an urban sustainable development is started, the government may decide to relocate some people. Many other large scale measures such as setting up of sewage and other waste treatment plants may take place. In an already developed city, there can be issues relating to finding the space for building such upcoming ventures. There can also be major changes in the bye-laws, policies, regulations and guidelines of a city

Medium term implications- Medium term implications on growth and development of the urban city shall be mandatory in determining whether the graph of developer is going to or down. This phase shall be extremely crucial in determining whether the changes are being widely accepted or not. Also, the growth and development during this phase shall be comparatively slow. However, it shall be indicative of the growth in the future.

There have been a number of reports and researches concluding that sustainability leads to a boost in the economy. Therefore, the medium phase will be full of changes. However, it shall determine whether the city is able to function properly after the changes that it has gone through.

Long term implications- the long term implications shall be extremely positive. The society and the city as a whole shall get very accustomed to all the changes. Businesses will have a new found way of running their organizations. Progress shall be seen in every field and growth not just economically, but socially and environmentally, shall be very evident.

The long term effects of sustainability are goals for which the concept had been developed in the first place. These shall definitely have a positive impact on the overall development of the city and a mutually cohesive environment shall be created where a perfect balance between human and nature shall be achieved.

 

The After Effects

There is a huge amount of research and literature available on the economical development as a result of the adoption of sustainable practices. These available researched have analyzed a number of case studies which have proven how the adoption of sustainable practices results in a boost in the economic development of a business, an organization, a city or even a country.

The idea behind resulting businesses achieving more profits is that sustainable practices tend to reduce the inputs and utilize the resources effectively. What this essentially does is that it reduces the costs related to input of raw material used for manufacturing of goods. In addition to this, it also reduces the overall operational costs of a business. These bring down the amount of money that a business invests in the business or sees as the cost of running a business, thus leading to savings that finally turn out to be profits.

Sustainable practices tend to cut down costs of electricity, fuel and money spent on energy utilized for a number of processes that form a part of business operation. A simple example for a business to become more sustainable can be choosing to use only locally available materials for the production of goods. This brings down cost exponentially as the money that was earlier spent on transportation of good s from a far away state or country is now being saved. Therefore, urban sustainability can be directly linked to a positive growth in the economy of a city or country.

 

Social Implications

As human beings, it is our duty to keep our planet healthy and clean. Due to the hoard of making money, businesses, factories, large scale companies are all consuming enormous amounts of resources irresponsibly and generating an even more enormous amount of waste. This waste contaminates the soil, water and air of the very planet that we live on.

In the case of the felling of trees in Sunshine Coast, the incident generated major hype. It was received with a lot of criticism from the general public. This show how the local people give importance to nature even when they are living in unban settlements.

It is essential for every teacher and parent to teach their future generations as well as themselves as to how one can utilize the available resources in an effective manner. These resources are not available to us in abundance. Therefore, it should be realized that wasting these resources shall leave nothing for the future generations to come. With the current scenarios developing into sustainable environments, more and more people shall become aware of the negative impacts of their previous habits. More and more people shall become responsible, caring and compassionate individuals who not only care about their families and friends but the planet as a whole.

 

Environmental Implications

The environmental implications of sustainability are an overall positive environment on the planet. With the adoption of sustainable practices, the citi3s shall not only become self dependant but also a lot more livable. The quality of air, water and soil that we have currently is below average. The contaminated soil becomes more arid by the day. The crops that grow in the soil contain toxins. The water that is available to is also filled with contaminants that not only create a toxic environment for the animals that live in water but also for humans who need it for their survival. The air that one breathes is so heavily filled with polluting gases, causing a number of respiratory diseases and even cancer.

Cr Jamieson understood the public space in front of three properties on Clithero Ave, which had been home to a number of citrus trees, had been cleared because one property owner had refused to finalize a permit (Sawyer 2017). This was received with major backlash. The trees had been there for decades. Felling of trees is not only harmful for the environment but also the residents of the Sunshine coast. All of this was caused due to the repeated negligence by a single resident, apparently and could have been very easily avoided.

Adopting sustainable practices is the right choice. It is the innovation of the future. Today, technology has made it possible to be able to use energy that does not generate any form of waste. This is known as clean energy. Adoption of such practices leads to the overall environment becoming more and more clean, hygienic and pure. Human have made the planet into a toxic environment. However, more people are realizing the importance of sustainable practices in the present day and taking steps forward to ensuring a cleaner future.

Conclusion

Sustainability is the thing of the future. Creating sustainable developments in the present scenario seems to be an extremely daunting task. The amount of time, effort, resources and money needed to bring about such a change is also very high. However, it is not impossible. Bringing about any change has its pros and cons as well as short and long term implications. As discussed above, the task of constructing sustainable developments might see painstakingly difficult in the present. However, it has some amazingly beautiful results that shall en beneficial for one and all.

Urban sustainability not only results in economic growth and development but also brings about a positive change in the society as well as the environment. It makes the citizens of a country aware of what is beneficial and what is harmful. It also makes humans more responsible citizens.

In addition to the economic and social implications, the concept of sustainability is supremely beneficial for the environment. Less air, soil and water pollution shall result in cleaner green cities. Treatment of ways shall profile electricity, resulting in the formation of self dependent clean cities, replete with Mother Nature’s greenery inhabiting compassionate, sensible and empathetic humans.

 

References

Atkinson, B 2017, Residents horrified as Sunshine Coast Council chops, mulches trees in Urban Food Street, viewed 9 october 2017, <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-31/urban-food-street-trees-culled-sunshine-coast/8576700>.

Herring, A 2017, The Very Big Issue of Urban Sustainability, viewed 9 october 2017, <https://www.northeastern.edu/magazine/the-very-big-issue-of-urban-sustainability/>.

Kammen, DM 2016, 'City-integrated renewable energy for urban sustainability', Science Magazine, vol 352, no. 6288, pp. 922-928.

Sampson, RJ 2016, 'Urban sustainability in an age of enduring inequalities: Advancing theory and ecometrics for the 21st-century city', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 114, no. 34, pp. 8957–8962.

Sawyer, S 2017, Mayor: Why we destroyed Urban Food Street, viewed 8 october 2017, <https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/mayor-why-we-destroyed-urban-food-street/3184190/>.

SCHWARTZ, A 2013, The 10 Cities That Are Leading The Way In Urban Sustainability, viewed 7 october 2017, <https://www.fastcompany.com/3016816/the-10-cities-that-are-leading-the-way-in-urban-sustainability>.

Stowers, C 2017, Urban sustainability should look outside the cities, viewed 8 october 2017, <https://www.scidev.net/global/cities/opinion/urban-sustainability-cities-planning-rural-development.html>.

UrRahman, MA 2016, 'Urban sustainability through strategic planning: A case of metropolitan planning in Khulna city, Bangladesh', Journal of Urban Management, vol 5, no. 1, pp. 16-22.

Wachsmuth, D 2016, Expand the frontiers of urban sustainability, viewed 9 october 2017, <https://www.nature.com/news/expand-the-frontiers-of-urban-sustainability-1.20459>.

Woo, F 2013, Sustainable urban development: it's time cities give back, viewed 8 october 2017, <https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/aug/13/sustainable-urban-development-regeneration>.

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