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I was wondering if you can give me a list a of cities that have incorporated concerns about their environment with the planning of the city. How did they do it, what is innovative about?
and then read this
The London Borough of Merton decided that all developments of over 1000m2 should provide 10% of the building's energy needs from on-site renewable sources.
This was adopted as The Merton Rule across the UK and is now supposed to meet 20% of building energy needs.
While this might seem innovative, it is in fact counter-productive as on-site generation is rarely effective, and it's nearly impossible (with Britain's temperate climate and clean air laws precluding biomass generation, which is itself questionable) to generate 10% via wind or solar, let alone 20%.
The "Section 106" legislation which effectively allows UK councils to levy a fee from developers in the form of infrastructure/building for the local community would be an appropriate means of ensuring that the investment in sustainable measures has efficacy. However because the Section 106 is levied and implemented locally, the full opportunity is not exploited (while the developers are exploited).
The Irish equivalent of the 106 goes into a nationwide fund which, while not devoted to sustainable interventions, at least frees the funds from geographical constraints.
Taken in the context of Thom Mayne's recent comments, this article stating that "Dubai is well suited to lead the world in creating sustainable dense cities, if it followed new radical fundamental planning and sustainable designing strategies" might seem naive. Perhaps it rests on the if.
It's worth remembering that there are many levels of sustainability, and in the case of Dubai, they are trying very hard to make sure that there is a future (of any sort) for their Emirate. It's hard to deny them their shot, no matter how it looks from outside.
At that same conference, Sadhu Johnson gave a paper on the greening initiatives underway in Chicago which you can find available for download on this page
There is also Masdar
There is also Dongtan.
I particularly like that this eco-city "which will be sustainable not just environmentally, but also socially, economically and culturally" is being developed on an island that is being linked to the mainland near Shanghai via the world's longest combination of tunnel and bridge (18 miles). [sarcasm]niiiiice[/sarcasm].
However easy it is to deride any of these projects, or the intentions behind them, it's hard to find anything better
There are also the UK's ecotowns.
Don't forget about Arcosanti :o)
has tons of references, check out the symposium abstracts.
previously on architnect - the dark side:megacities or? disaster urbanism or do-bad architecture.
on the brighter side:Is the Eco-City the new Utopia Community of the 21st century?, the future of suburbia, & floating cities
finally:MVRDV gets into the action
An Arcology in Southern China?
don't think about sustainability just in terms of environmental impact.
what about cities that are sustainable economically, socially, demographically? (i.e. dubai and aberdeen won't be economically sustainable once the oil is gone...)
dubai isn't socially sustainable today - as it is being built by slave labor from southeast asia.