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Articles on Sustainable cities

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Artist rendition of the National Western Center, a net-zero campus under construction in Denver to house multiple activities. City and County of Denver | Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center

Buildings consume lots of energy – here’s how to design whole communities that give back as much as they take

Net zero energy buildings produce at least as much energy as they use. Designing whole net zero campuses and communities takes the energy and climate benefits to a higher level.
The lure of suburbia clearly remains strong. To deal with sprawl, planners need to increase urban density in a way that resonates with the leafy green qualities of suburbia that residents value. Julian Bolleter

GOD save us: greenspace-oriented development could make higher density attractive

Residents of the 'leafy suburbs' will continue to fear what they might lose to increasing urban density without an explicit planning approach that enhances green space in affected neighbourhoods.
Ecological economics focuses on sustainability and development, rather than the traditional economic concerts of efficiency and growth. thodonal88/Shutterstock

What is ‘ecological economics’ and why do we need to talk about it?

Ecological economics focuses on sustainability and development rather than efficiency and growth. Cities, as home to 70-80% of economic activity, are at the heart of the challenge of being sustainable.
The costs of keeping a roof over our heads create a dependence on market growth that puts low-consumption, sustainable living out of reach for many of us. Glenn Hunt/AAP

Access to land is a barrier to simpler, sustainable living. Public housing could offer a way forward

The cost of land and, in turn, housing forces people to buy into the rules of market capitalism, making it very hard to 'downshift' from consumer lifestyles. But what if we rethink public housing?
Urban greening is just one aspect of the transformation required to ensure our future cities are sustainable, liveable places. Matt Leane/Shutterstock

If we want liveable cities in 2060 we’ll have to work together to transform urban systems

Future Earth Australia is working to create a long-term national plan of transformation for our cities. As part of this, everyone in Australia is invited to have their say in a survey.
Landcorp’s WGV residential development in Fremantle is demonstrating the benefits of making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Josh Byrne & Associates

Cutting cities’ emissions does have economic benefits – and these ultimately outweigh the costs

The debate about the transition away from fossil fuels has focused on costs, but right here in Australia we have examples of the benefits of sustainable new energy sources for our cities.
Just off Washington Square in New York City. Frej Berg/Flickr

The value of trees: 4 essential reads

Trees clean urban air, store carbon, slow floodwaters and can be used to design safer streets. Scholars are starting to calculate what these services are worth – a fitting topic for Arbor Day.
The main concern when talking about the liveability of a city like Melbourne should be sustaining the health and well-being of residents. Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock

Seven steps Melbourne can take to regain its ‘liveable city’ crown

Rather than mourn the end of a seven-year reign as 'world's most liveable city', Melbourne could raise its sights to become more liveable, healthy and sustainable for all who live in the city.
City Farm is a working sustainable farm that has operated in Chicago for over 30 years. Linda from Chicago/Wikimedia

How urban agriculture can improve food security in US cities

Urban farming can make it easier for city residents to obtain healthy, affordable food. But to raise big yields from small pieces of land, farmers need training and support.

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