Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Can “Sustainability” Apply to Cities?

The Unsustainable City(10 page pdf, Matthias Berger, Sustainability, Jan. 13, 2014)

Today we review an interesting thoughtful article that examines the concept of sustainability as applied to cities which, on the surface, seem unsustainable. The author goes further though in identifying the origin of the word – not in Brundtland’s 1987 report “Our Common Future” and the introduction of the “sustainable development” concept but earlier. He concludes by suggesting that although the application of sustainability lacks time constraints that the objective is to improve the state of the city in all six aspects of the term: aesthetical, environmental, financial, functional, political, and social sustainability. urban sustainability

Key Quotes:  

This article is a discussion on theoretical and practical boundaries of using the expression ―sustainability- with respect to the scientific community, therefore avoiding sustainability becoming a euphemism for ―doing good… is not meant to be an apocalyptic or resigned view but rather a reframing of the question how we can make cities better ”  

by definition, cities are the counterparts to the hinterland, and thus they axiomatically should be and are unsustainable.”

“Cars and their infrastructure are doomed as unsustainable.. and consequently cities, which are hosts for many cars and streets, entitled unsustainable cities.”

“society as a whole is neither pure unsustainable nor should be fully sustainable, but in reality something in between.”

“Enabling sustainable cities requires an extension of the term sustainability to the six aspects of aesthetical, environmental, financial, functional, political, and social sustainability”

“sustainability means responsible management of a renewable asset, so it may last into in(de)finite time, serving future generations “

“―Today’s cities are not sustainable, yet we need not abandon urban centers and return to rural living. In short, we must have cities” “sustainability cannot address the problems associated with growth; it can only indicate how we manage the consumption of renewable goods.”
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