Developing Eco-friendly Urban Areas
If we want to develop urban areas in an eco-friendly way, we must consistently enlist the right civil engineering company for the job. Let’s take a look at some of the things that would make urban areas more eco-friendly and which cities are already working on it.
What can be Done?
Did you know that even though the cities of the world only occupy 4% of the land on the planet, they are home to more than half of the population? While growing urbanization can actually be good for the environment (city dwellers tend to drive less), it also causes issues such as smog, traffic congestion, etc. There are things that can be done to make the carbon footprint of these urban areas smaller, though… to make sustainable cities, if you will.
Make Improvements to Mass Transit
Commuters spend hundreds of hours yearly sitting in traffic. This burns gasoline and increases emissions. Better mass transit systems could improve this by getting more cars off the road.
More Efficient Buildings
In developed countries, powering, cooling, and heating buildings account for 40% of the carbon dioxide emissions. Better insulation and more efficient ventilation and heating equipment could improve this statistic.
Some cities are finally making the move to capturing and then recycling heat from waste, purchasing wind power or installing solar panels on rooftops. Cities can also make the change to natural gas from coal to cut down on pollutants and carbon emissions.
Parks, Parks, and More Parks
The massive concentration of people in cities means that these areas are major contributors to CO2 emissions and overall pollution. However, by creating parks and planting trees, you create a cooling counter to the heat that is created by all of the concrete and asphalt, while also giving all of those harried residents a place to relax, take a deep breath, and just reconnect with nature.
In amongst all of the busy roads and skyscrapers, green cities have places that have been built to a more human scale. These places are ones where people can safely gather together or just walk. Take the High Line in New York City, which is an old railway bed that was converted to an aerial type walkway. In Curitiba, Brazil, there is a street for pedestrians only. These places encourage using foot power to get around as opposed to other, more polluting methods of transportation. They also tend to create a reduction in the need for large private homes because of the fact that they are communal places that people enjoy.
We Aren’t the Only Ones
The European Union is also focused on improving the urban environment and has come up with a comprehensive plan to do so. Part of their plan includes better implementing the existing legislation and policies at the local level through the exchange of good practice and experience between the local authorities. There is also the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities that further demonstrates a commitment to making cities places that are sustainable, healthy, and attractive. Aside from these, there are quite a few other plans in place across the continent.
New York, New York
Yes, we have already mentioned this city as one to be making changes, but New York is also trying to reduce its carbon footprint by recycling. They are building all sorts of new recycling centers and trying to increase their percentage of materials that are recycled by double what it was.
Is your city trying to make any changes to become more eco-friendly? What are they? What can you do to help?