Sustainable development and cities

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A sustainable city concept incorporates eco-friendly practices, green spaces and supporting technology into the urban environment to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, enhance air quality, and protect natural resources. These practices lead to a healthier environment for city residents and a lower carbon footprint for the city. Sustainable cities are becoming essential in the quest to reverse global climate change.

“Cities today must retrofit their infrastructure — for example, to ensure that the city can be easily navigated on foot, by bicycle or on eco-friendly public transit systems. And the energy that powers and supports city systems — from the power grid to water management to traffic and transit can be upgraded to support lower emissions and better air quality. We look at goals for sustainable cities and society, and how urban areas can adopt green practices today and tomorrow.” Ariel Vallarino, Executive Vice President of Latin America of UNLAT.

What Is a Sustainable City?

Sustainable city

A sustainable city is an urban center engineered to improve its environmental impact through urban planning and management. For an eco city definition, picture cities with parks and green spaces, solar-powered buildings, rooftop gardens and more pedestrians and cyclists than cars. This is not a futuristic dream. Smart cities are actively moving toward greener urban ecosystems and better environmental stewardship.

Clean technology

Green technology is a key factor that is helping to foster more sustainable urban development. It comprises all aspects of city planning, including transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications and energy.

Green tech also supports green living practices, including recycling and use of energy and renewable resources in homes and offices. Sensors, gateways, embedded radios and cellular routers are at the heart of many sustainable city infrastructure and green building systems. See our video introducing the green tech landscape.

6 Characteristics and Key Features of a Sustainable City

What are cities doing to become more sustainable? Smart cities are creating sustainable places with clean technology, parks and pathways, and urban sustainability principles. See our list of key eco city characteristics to learn how to achieve sustainable cities and communities.

Sustainable City Center with Green Space

Cities can do a number of things to support sustainable practices:

  • Make it easy to get around without a car
  • Add EV charging stations
  • Provide access to public resources and green spaces
  • Improve water conservation and wastewater management
  • Support urban farming
  • Implement green architecture

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