Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Designing a Sustainable City with Local Farming and Waste Management


Optimizing Urban Material Flows and Waste Streams in Urban Development through Principles of Zero Waste and Sustainable Consumption (29 page pdf, Sustainability 2011, 3(1), 155-183, Jan. 11, 2011)

Also discussed here: Zero Waste Australia

Today’s review article caught my attention because it focussed on urban farming and waste reduction and the large contributions to waste from the construction and demolition sector as a city progresses toward sustainability. These are all important aspects of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, which is the larger by area than all of the other large Canadian cities by population put together- and contains more farmland than any other city in Canada. Its large area and loose controls on urban boundaries have resulted in sprawl and a very large road network which funnels the working population into its centre every day with downtown congestion and health impacts. The article makes recommendations that have been implemented in Australia under a “zero waste” and local food objectives.

Key Quotes:

“urban farming has emerged as a valid urban design strategy, where food is produced and consumed locally within city boundaries, turning disused sites and underutilized public space into productive urban landscapes and community gardens.”

“reports on best practice of urban design principles in regard to materials flow, material recovery, adaptive re-use of entire building elements and components..and other relevant strategies to implement zero waste by avoiding waste creation, reducing wasteful consumption and changing behaviour in the design and construction sectors”

“Today, no other sector of industry uses more materials, produces more waste and contributes less to recycling than the construction sector”

“Emerging complex global issues, such as health and the environment, or lifestyles and consumption, require approaches that transcend the traditional boundaries between disciplines. The relationship between efficiency and effectiveness is not always clear: high efficiency is not equal to high effectiveness, while recovery offers another side of those two notions. Today, it is increasingly understood that the same way we discuss energy efficiency; we need also to discuss resource effectiveness and resource recovery. “

Organic waste is playing an increasingly important role. ..a recommended split for a city can be found, where no waste goes to landfill:

  • Recycling and reusing min. 50–60%

  • Composting of organic waste 20–30%

  • Incineration of residual waste (waste-to-energy) max. 20%”

“recycling in itself is inefficient in solving the problem, as it does not deliver the necessary ‗decoupling‘ of economic development from the depletion of non-renewable raw materials “

“Australia is the third highest generator of waste per capita in the developed world. In July 2006, only around 50% of waste collected in the state of New South Wales (NSW) was recycled”

“Cities are resource-intensive systems. By 2030, we will need to produce 50% more energy and 30% more food on less land, with less water and fewer pesticides, using less material“

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