Category FAQs Search : Sustainable Development Goal

Question: Healthy cities and energy sufficiency in sustainable city:

Answer: According to UN programs, we will be 10–12 billion people around the world by 2050. Agenda 21 is an action program adopted at the United Nations Environment and Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The program describes how efforts to counter environmental degradation, poverty and lack of democracy should be developed in order for our societies to achieve sustainable development. Agenda 21 notes that the human way to extract and use the energy inside is permanently sustainable and identifies two ways to change the energy system: energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. In order for everyone to have a reasonable material and healthy standard of living, natural resources must be utilized efficiently. Economic growth is high in Asia, for example, concurrently the population increases. This leads to more cars, more mobile phone and tablets, as well as white goods such as refrigerators, higher power consumption and so on. Pressure on finite resources like oil, coal and gas becomes large. But the most difficult issue is the pressure on biological resources: forests, arable land, fisheries, wetlands and mangrove swamps [5]. The existence of economic activities and investments on the one hand is closely linked to the existence of high-quality urban structures, a properly constructed environment and a modern and efficient infrastructure. For this reason, it is necessary to improve the existing building opportunities in disadvantaged areas, in terms of design, physical conditions and efficiency of energy use. Adaptation of housing standards for new and existing buildings has the greatest potential for increasing energy efficiency within the EU and thus combating climate change. In order to increase the sustainability of investments in improving the physical environment, they must be included in a long-term development strategy that includes, among others, a sustainable public and private investment program. The increasing population growth puts pressure on, among other things, urban areas, resources, housing prices and public services. Additionally, increased traffic volume results in poorer air quality and congestion-related problems. At the same time, there is also an increasing trend towards social divisions between populations in the larger city. The new challenge for authorities and city planners is to transform metropolitan areas into eco-areas, in a form “sustainable cities,” which is able to survive only with green energy and reduce pollution as much as possible. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities today, according to the United Nations. Given the unprecedented levels of urban migration in recent decades, in conjunction with climate change, it is necessary to recognize that human livelihood in a significant urban agglomeration, had a big impact on nature. For cities to find a place in the green future of the Planet, they have to turn into clean entities. There are already cities in the world where the future is here. Citizens of the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik and those in Vancouver, Canada, consume energy supplied almost exclusively from renewable sources. Vancouver is somewhat blessed geographically—with mountains, rivers, oceans and valleys—but the citizens have always tried to help them and make the most of what nature has provided [6]. Considering the complexity of the challenges, there is a need for an overall urban policy framework for how they are addressed and the potentials being exploited. Thinking of social conditions, environment and economy together improve the likelihood of implementing coherent solutions. Sustainable settlements must be economically viable while incorporating climate adaptation, energy and resource efficiency, environment, architectural quality and social security. Economy and the environment can thus generate added value when combined with overall considerations. Urbanization can contribute to a more sustainable society, including linking different city functions into urban development strategies. For example, proximity to public transport can reduce resource and energy consumption when planning accommodation, jobs and shopping opportunities so that busses, trains, walking and cycling are preferred. World cities occupy only 4% of the land area, yet they are home to more than half the world’s population. Since 2009, the number of inhabitants in these cities has increased by 7.6%. The development of sustainable cities is one of the most significant global challenges right now. The cities face a large number of social, environmental and economic problems that require conversion. As population flow brings new demands to physical structures, to residents and the management of cities, the need arises for thinking across professions and sectors. This conversion can be done through public-private partnerships where administrations and companies benefit from each other’s expertise and experience. Today, each year, humanity uses energy equivalent of only a few thousands of a percent of the solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface at the same time. The types of energy used are just over 90% fossil fuels, according to some analysts.

(Source: Introductory Chapter: Overview of Sustainable Cities, Theory and Practices, 24 Mar 2021)

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