The Best Environmentally-Friendly Urban Planning Strategies
Large cities used to host some of the worst environmental problems in the world. Pollution and waste were overwhelming in most urban areas. More and more lately, that image is changing. With the installation of public transportation, less people are driving in cities than before. Technology has enabled cities to move forward with more eco-friendly solutions. Many cities have goals to become completely energy neutral. The following are some urban planning strategies that can make a city more environmentally friendly.
One of the greatest sources of pollution is cars. The more cars cities can get off the road, the less pollution will be a problem. One way city officials go about this is by encourage bicycling through the construction of bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks. Providing City Bikes for people to rent will also encourage the use of bikes over cars and taxis. Cities should also focus on providing an efficient and cost-effective public transportation system for citizens to use. If public transportation is a viable transportation option for city residents, there will be fewer cars on the road.
Micro Energy Plants
Large wind turbines and solar panels are not possible in a large city, but smaller ones can be used. A city in Norway is building solar power bike paths that can collect and store solar energy. Miniature wind turbines placed on roofs can provide energy for buildings as well. Micro-hydroelectric plants that store the energy from wind and solar energy can help distribute clean energy, even on cloudy, windless days.
More and more cities are using their rooftops for energy efficiency. Planting green roofs will help insulate buildings and reduce the need for heating and cooling. They also help absorb rain runoff and filter the water that does runoff. Green roofs also contribute to the city’s green space, helping to clean the air the city dwellers breathe.
Cities are also interested in reducing their waste production as well as reducing their garbage production. One way to do this is to install a pneumatic trash system. These trash cans suck the garbage and waste through tubes to underground waste facilities. According to an environmentalist and graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology online Master's in Civil Engineering program, a plant similar to this one has been running beneath Roosevelt Island in New York since the 1970s. Even better, if this waste could go to a treatment facility that collects reusable waste like aluminum cans, the waste could eventually feed energy back into the system and be energy neutral.
Currently, cities are some of the least sustainable areas in the world, but this is changing. Over the next few decades, changes in urban development could result in eco-friendly cities everywhere.
Image Credit: GreenRoofGardener