Eco-cities: What are they and what is the future of humanity?

Eco-cities: What are they and what is the future of humanity?

What will happen if cities continue to grow at the current rate? The world’s urban population is estimated to be growing at a frequency of 200,000 people per day. Indeed, according to the UN, 68% of people will live in urban areas by 2050. For this reason, eco-cities could be an environmental solution to this problem.

Therefore, rapid urbanization makes professionals wonder about life in harmony and balance with the planet. Here, we explain the current situation of eco-cities. Consequently, we want you to know how they contribute to environmental care and if they are a suitable solution for sustainable development.

What are eco-cities?

First off, according to Richard Register who coined the term, an eco-city is a sustainable urban space where natural resources are used, and the amount of waste is reduced.

The so-called eco-polises are designed under the principles of ecology and sustainability; therefore, they are self-sustaining. They have organic farming systems, renewable energy, a sustainable transport system, and they are constructed with ecological materials.

In fact, the big capitals of the world are currently seeking the title of eco-cities. Similarly, several smaller cities are implementing different strategies to become more and more sustainable.

According to The Zebra (2021), ecological cities not only must be self-sufficient to be sustainable, but they must also have a social component. For instance, they must ensure the well-being of their inhabitants. So, these cities should not only reduce CO2 emissions but do urban renewal. Eco-cities must also promote fair trade and guarantee access to basic services for their inhabitants.

Moreover, these spaces are so crucial to the world that they are included as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of the goals is to make human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Pollution and climate change will increase if we continue to misuse natural resources, affecting the world’s health, well-being, and economy.

The path to eco-cities

Currently, there are several countries committed to the model of ecological cities. Portland, for example, has been positioned as an eco-city because it has implemented policies that look after different ecosystems (Green Cities, n.d). Notably, the municipality implemented renewable energy, a sustainable public transportation system, and is committed to preserving rural areas.

Some countries bet on more ambitious projects, such as building cities from scratch. These are ecological cities that neutralize their carbon emissions, do not use cars, and work only with renewable energy, among other measures. Unfortunately, no projects have yet seen the light of day, but they will soon be part of the world’s map. Governments are committed to making these projects a reality, so, hopefully, they will soon be a reality in our daily lives (BBC, 2021).

Eco-cities: The future of humanity? | GreenInnovation-2
Eco-cities: What are they and what is the future of humanity?

How is the future of eco-cities?

Although it looks like they are faraway projects that depend on great architectural bets, the reality is less complicated. Without going any further, Copenhagen seeks to become the first carbon-neutral city by 2025. The city’s government aims to achieve its goals with a sustainable development plan for its urban center that has been in the making since 2012. The project includes strategies such as the transition of its energy supply, the modernization of buildings, waste management, public infrastructure, and mobility, as well as other key initiatives to support the shift in the short and long term (Forbes, 2019).

By contributing to this project, different countries have committed themselves to achieve quite ambitious environmental goals.

In addition, since 2017, the C40 cities have been committed to implementing strategies to become carbon neutral cities by 2050. Some of these cities are Austin, Barcelona, Boston, and Buenos Aires.

Ecological cities are built with our hands

Real change starts at home. Indeed, the secret to green cities and communities lies in our kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Hence, the power is in our hands to bring about change in our neighborhoods, communities, and cities.

As we mentioned before, an ecological city is one in which the input of resources and the output of waste are minimized. Thus, to build the eco-cities you dream of, you can start with elementary tasks in your home.

Recycling is one of the easiest and most popular ways of using waste, but it is not the only one. Another alternative is to make compost at home, giving back to the earth what it has given us. Furthermore, many other options allow our homes to become our eco-polis.

Over time, more and more sustainable lifestyles have been introduced. Zero-waste is a lifestyle whereby people do not produce waste in their homes. Incredible as it may seem, it is possible. For instance, Bea Johnson, the founder of this movement, lives generating a garbage can a year. If she can, so can you.

The power of organizations

This message about climate change is a call to companies and organizations to seek alternatives to offer their services while reducing environmental impact.

Today there are different ways to be a sustainable company. E.g., waste management programs and the energy transition processes are implemented in some companies. An example is Iberdrola, which transformed its services to supply clean energy to nearly 100 million people worldwide. It also leads solar self-consumption in Spain. It manages 40% of the installations since it was the first energy company to offer this kind of solutions. So, if you are wondering if eco-cities are utopists, or a reality to curb climate change, the answer is: they are a reality and a very close one. The change starts with you. With your environmental responsibility, you are already creating the construction of eco-cities, and the planet thanks you.

References

BBC (2021). How cities are going carbon neutral?

Forbes, 2029. Copenhagen Aims to be world’s first carbon neutral capital By 2025.
 
Green Cities (n.d.). Green city: Portland.
 
The Zebra (2021). What is a sustainable city? 10 characteristics of green urban
planning.
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