Climate crisis has taken over the whole world and the growing global population is adding to the crisis. According to the United Nations, 2.5 billion more city dwellers are expected by 2050. This tells us that, there is an increasing demand for creating sustainable cities that nurture a resilient way of life.

10 ways to design more sustainable cities
Image Sources:  Sustainable Cities ©

How do we make cities sustainable?

Though there is no fixed paradigm, it is sure that one strategy on its own is simply not enough to make an entire city sustainable, rather what’s needed is a series of strategies.

The following are a list of sustainable techniques and technologies that help in shaping a new design methodology:

1. Bicycle bridges of Copenhagen, Denmark

The Bicycle bridges provide an aerial path for a cyclist to move throughout the city, free of car traffic. These bridges are a very efficient method of transportation that encourage people to bike rather than drive, reducing congestion and tension on the roads.

2. Foot traffic electricity:

London’s Heathrow airport’s “springy” tiles harness the kinetic energy in foot traffic and convert it into electricity. This is an innovative way of converting the mass foot traffic into a valuable resource of energy.

3. Pocket parks/parklets:

These are small green spaces in densely populated areas that help in increasing the green cover and also provide

4. Urban agriculture:

The food is transported miles across to reach the cities instead if plants can be grown in the urban area it could save a lot of energy.

The US-based food start-up Aero Farms is trying to do exactly the same! Pioneering vertical farming solutions, the company is proposing to build a 78,000 square foot vertical farm that would grow 12-stories of leafy goods.

5. Biomimicry technology:

Dutch designer/artist Daan Roosegaarde has experimented with a bioluminescent plant that uses DNA from a luminescent bacterium to make a glowing plant that can possibly replace current street lamps.

6. Porous concrete:

The urban environment is filled mostly with concrete. Therefore, when it rains the water cannot penetrate the asphalt to be absorbed by the earth and enter the groundwater system. These issues are solved by this porous concrete pavement. It has been successfully implemented in China.

7. Waste to energy:

In the Indonesian city of Sodong, the city has a pneumatic waste disposal system that uses pipes to suck trash from individual homes into processing centres that automatically sort the material to recycle and turn it into renewable energy.

8. Anaerobic digester:

It is a gasification technology that can convert solid wastes and the digests from the AD process into syngas and biochar. Pilot tests have been run at eateries in Singapore to prove the feasibility of AD in an urban environment.

9. Co-generating, Co-heating, Co-cooling:

Co-generation systems capture and use excess heat. These tri-generation systems can heat or cool buildings and can recover carbon dioxide used in the process for other applications.The Australian city of Sydney’s Town Hall has a tri-generation system that produces electricity that power up its civic buildings.

10. “District” heating:

Sweden’s has shifted from oil to “district” heating, which means the nation now uses heat from centralized sources (such as a power station) to more efficiently heat and cool its buildings. District heating alone accounts for over 80 per cent of heating and hot water in apartments.

Information Sources:

Tejaswini is passionate about writing. She has a deep interest in knowing different cultures and languages. Pursing Bachelors of Architecture, she envisions architecture as a medium of social unification and development which she pens.