I am sure most people around you live their lives as pollution and the constant threat of climate change didn’t exist. Meanwhile, there are others who care so much they decided to create an entire eco-community, by changing their houses, the means of transport they use, the way they collect garbage in order to minimize the gas emissions or the land contamination produced by a large number of people living together and to produce energy exclusively from renewable sources.
The idea of rebuilding a city so that it becomes a sustainable and environmentally friendly community dates some years back when it was created the Urban Ecology Organization in California, USA. In 1975, people have started planting trees on the main streets of a city, building greenhouses and encouraging public transport. Slowly, the entire community became more aware of the necessity of protecting the environment so they even introduced new laws in order to help the project and they changed almost every aspect of their lifestyle.
Ideally, an eco-city should meet a series of criteria, such as:
- Energy is produced from renewable sources, without gas emissions – a replacement for conventional fuels;
- The city has its own resources and works of its own economy;
- The city plan is well developed encouraging first walking and bike riding, then public transportation;
- The city has an efficient system of garbage collecting and recycling which stimulates conserving energy and water resources;
- It has decent housing at affordable prices for every social and ethnic group;
- Local agriculture is stimulated.
Although there are some guidelines for building or rebuilding an eco-city, every community can set a new set of criteria depending on the goal. Some of the cities look for zero gas emissions, others look for zero garbage, others look for using the bike as only mean of transport (although that would be too sad for car lovers).
Moreover, not every project of an eco-city rebuilds the entire community. There are some people who only choose to “revitalize” their city by building green roofs – Google is also coming with something similar with its new Sunroof project – (like they did in Malmo, Sweden), or by restricting the use of cars and introducing a no-car day (in some states in USA).
On the other hand, there are cities with extensive eco-friendly projects, and goals of zero pollution and contamination, like the Masdar City in Abhu Dhabi or Tianjin Eco-city in Singapore.
Just like every change, turning a city into an eco-friendly one is not an easy thing to do. The transformation could take years and years, especially when we talk about big projects with bold targets. But, if the entire community gets involved, the benefits are numerous, in almost every aspect: the quality of life improves, people are healthier, economic growth is stimulated and poverty reduces significantly. If these are not good reasons to rebuild your city, nothing is!