How Can Cities Be More Sustainable Environmental Sciences Essay

Increasingly people are traveling to metropoliss and it is estimated that by the twelvemonth 2025 that 65 % of the universe ‘s population with be urban inhabitants ( Pacione 2007 ) . However, the demands of this turning urban population are impacting on our environment as resource ingestion and waste production wreak mayhem on our planet and our quality of life ( Wackernagel and Rees 1996 ) . The international consensus is that we need to move now toward sustainable development and this means happening a balance between societal, economic, and environmental precedences for now and future coevalss ( World Commission on Environment and Development 2004 ) . This essay will discourse the construct and rules of sustainable development as a model for be aftering for sustainable metropoliss, Australia ‘s national stance, be aftering dockets at the local degree, the common visions and actions for sustainable development, and reviewing the recent Brisbane City Centre Master Plan 2026.
The universe is presently home to a projected population estimation of 6.8 billion people ( US Census Bureau 2010 ) with approximately 22.4 million residing in Australia ( Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010 ) . Urbanization is happening at an dismaying rate with 50 % of the universe population presently populating in metropoliss and by the twelvemonth 2025 this figure is expected to hold risen to 65 % ( Pacione 2007 ) . These mega-cities have to run into the basic demands and consumerist life styles of 1000000s of people ensuing in degrees of resource ingestion and waste production which have black impacts on the environment ( Wackernagel and Rees 1996 ) . Our “ ecological footmark ” greatly outstrips the rate at which our environmental resources can be renewed and wastes can be absorbed which internationally has raised grave concerns for the future sustainability of our planet ( Wackernagel and Rees 1996 ) . If we fail to move now we may really good be jeopardizing the really being of future coevalss. So the inquiry is how to make we travel towards sustainability and the echoing reply is for the sustainable development of our metropoliss.
The construct of sustainable development purposes to protect our hereafter and was foremost defined in Our Common Future by the World Commission on Environment and Development ( WCED ) in 1987 as “ development that meets the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands ” ( 2004, p.56 ) . Besides known as the Brundtland Commission, it advocated for sustainability which encompasses non merely our natural environment but equilibrating this with interacting economic and societal precedences ( WCED 2004 ) . The demand for sustainable development was emphasised once more internationally with the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ( UNCED ) in Rio de Janeiro ( the “ Earth Summit ” ) which resulted in Agenda 21 ( United Nations 2004 ) . This docket paperss the rules of sustainable development and is an international guideline for actions authoritiess, non-government administrations, and the community can take together to accomplish sustainability ( Department of the Environment and Heritage 2004 ) . Several international get-togethers and studies on sustainable development for our metropoliss have since occurred and legion states and international administrations have adopted the rules of sustainable development rules into their dockets.

Despite the multiple of dockets, models, and acts steering the sustainable development of our parts and metropoliss it is still a fuzzed construct and therefore a closer expression at its three constituents – environment, societal, and economic system – is needed to place the issues and demands, signifier ends and aims, and develop programs for execution. Using this integrated planning attack has normally been called the ‘triple bottom line ‘ ( Williams 2007 ) .
The Triple Bottom Line
First coined by John Elkington in 1996, the ternary bottom line advocates that the attack to sustainable development and assessment steps of sustainable patterns should see societal, environmental, and economic indexs and how they impact upon each other ( Rogers and Ryan 2001 ) . Figure 1 illustrates merely how the three constituents of sustainability are intertwined.
Figure 1. The mutuality the societal, economic, and environmental constituents of the Triple Bottom Line.
When be aftering for sustainable metropoliss a balance needs to be struck between the precedences of accomplishing societal equity and inclusion, economic prosperity, and the protection of the environment ( Campbell 1996 ) . Conflicts in the precedences of each factor are inevitable and metropoliss besides impact upon environing parts and on a national and even international graduated table. With this in head, this attack to be aftering sustainable metropoliss is bound to be more successful when all cardinal stakeholders ( authorities, concern, industry, non-profit administrations, community etc ) work in partnership. Examples of precedences enveloped under each ternary bottom line constituent are outlined below in Table 1.
Table 1. Examples of Triple Bottom Line Priorities for Sustainable Development
( Reproduced from: Dekay & A ; O’Brien 2001, Pacione 2007,
United Nations 2004, Wackernagel & A ; Rees 1996 )
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Air and H2O pollution ( i.e. COA? emanations )
Climate alteration ( i.e. increased H2O temperature )
Impacts on ecosystems and species biodiversity ( i.e. species extinction )
Over usage of land and natural resources ( i.e. over-fishing, deforestation )
Water deficits
Natural catastrophes ( i.e. bushfires, cyclones, temblors, tsunamis )
SOCIAL ISSUES
Health ( i.e. disease )
Poverty and hungriness
Inadequate lodging ( i.e. homelessness )
Social unfairness ( i.e. human rights, chances )
War
Crime
Impacts on quality of life ( i.e. traffic congestion, noise )
ECONOMICAL ISSUES
Unemployment
Issues with economic growing and stableness ( i.e. planetary fiscal crisis )
Campbell ( 1996 ) lineations three major struggles which can happen when turn toing these precedences: the belongings struggle ( economic growing versus societal equity ) , the resource struggle ( economic growing versus environmental protection ) , and the development struggle ( societal equity versus environmental protection ) . An illustration of a development struggle is happening land to develop lodging for the turning population while still continuing the environment and ecosystems ( i.e. Parkss, natural militias ) .
The issues ( outlined in table 1 ) which are confronting the universe are by no agencies exhaustive and some are more applicable to developing ( i.e. poorness ) than developed states ( i.e. C emanations ) , therefore designation of these specific issues, the causes, and interactions confronting metropoliss at a local degree are critical towards sustainable planning. However, metropoliss can impact globally ( i.e. due to exporting ) and hence the overall ends and aims for be aftering for sustainable development should besides vibrate with regional, national and international dockets.
Ecological Sustainable Development in Australia
In 1990, merely a twelvemonth after sustainable development had been brought to international attending by the WCED ‘s publishment of Our Common Future ( 2004 ) the Australian authorities embraced the construct specifying ‘ecological sustainable development ‘ ( ESD ) as “ ‘using, conserving and heightening the community ‘s resources so that ecological procedures, on which life depends, are maintained, and the entire quality of life, now and in the hereafter, can be increased ” ( Commonwealth of Australia 1990, cited in Williams 2007, p. 124 ) .
After old ages of extended audience between all the cardinal stakeholders ( i.e. authorities, concern, industry, community, non-profit administrations, faculty members ) , studies from cardinal industry sectors on sustainability issues and advice on ESD policy way, and careful consideration of planetary positions ( i.e. United Nation ‘s Agenda 21 ) the National Strategy for Ecological Sustainable Development was published in 1992 ( Department of the Environment and Heritage ( DoEH ) 1992 ) . This papers was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments ( COAG ) and provides a national model for authoritiess to steer their determination devising and policy development towards guaranting sustainable development in Australian. Furthermore, the Strategy aims to inform industries, concerns, and the community and promote the development of policies and patterns towards a sustainable Australia ( DoEH 1992 ) . The ends, nucleus aims, and seven steering rules outlined in the National Strategy for Ecological Sustainable Development are outlined in the tabular array 2 below.
Table 2. Overview of the National Strategy of for Ecological Sustainable Development ( NSESD ) ( DoEH 1992 )
Goal: Development that improves the entire quality of life, both now and in the hereafter, in a manner that maintains the ecological procedures on which life depends.
CORE Aim:
to heighten single and community wellbeing and public assistance by following a way of economic development that safeguards the public assistance of future coevalss
to supply for equity within and between coevalss
to protect biological diverseness and keep indispensable ecological procedures and life-support systems
GUIDING Principles:
determination devising procedures should efficaciously incorporate both long and short-run economic, environmental, societal and equity considerations
where there are menaces of serious or irreversible environmental harm, deficiency of full scientific certainty should non be used as a ground for proroguing steps to forestall environmental debasement
the planetary dimension of environmental impacts of actions and policies should be recognised and considered
the demand to develop a strong, turning and diversified economic system which can heighten the capacity for environmental protection should be recognised
the demand to keep and heighten international fight in an environmentally sound mode should be recognised
cost effectual and flexible policy instruments should be adopted, such as improved rating, pricing and inducement mechanisms
determinations and actions should supply for wide community engagement on issues which affect them
In reexamining the aims of the NSESD the three basis of sustainable development are present: accomplishing environmental protection, societal wellbeing and equity, and economic development now and for future coevalss. The rules are really wide sweeping and argue for a collaborative, careful and balanced attack towards determination devising and actions to accomplish sustainable environment, economic system, and communities in Australia. Of note is the 2nd rule, besides known as the “ precautional rule ” , which emphasises that deficiency of scientific grounds should non forestall action to debar serious environmental debasement ( Williams 2007 ) . The NSESD rules have been incorporated into legion local, province, and federal authorities Acts in Australia, including ( but non limited to ) environmental, land, H2O, coastal, and be aftering Acts ( Peel 2005, Williams 2007 ) .
One of the most recent planning Acts is the Queensland Government ‘s Sustainable Planning Act ( SPA ) 2009 ( Department of Infrastructure and Planning 2009a ) which replaces the Integrated Planning Act 1997. In line with the NSESD rules, the intent of this new act is to accomplish ecological sustainability by pull offing the procedure and effects of development ( guaranting answerability ) on the environment and guaranting that local, regional, and province planning is integrated together through collaborative partnerships ( Department of Infrastructure and Planning 2009b ) .
Another of import papers which is steering local planning in Australia is the United Nation ‘s Local Agenda 21 ( LA21, chapter 28 of Agenda 21 ) . This plan provides a model to implement sustainable development at the local degree and strongly encourages community engagement with local authoritiess in the development of policies, action programs, and enterprises for their metropoliss and the surrounding parts. Australia has been committed since 1997 to advance the Local Agenda 21 plan and provides local authoritiess with resources and funding towards be aftering for and implementing sustainable policies, schemes, plans, and activities in their local countries ( Cotter and Hannan 1999 ) .
Figure 2 illustrations the five action phases of LA21. These actions provide a construction for planning in which it appears to be both in line with the procedural rational attack and values-based in that it focuses on developing programs based on a wealth of information and cognition from all possible beginnings and actively measuring whether executions are working towards accomplishing the program ‘s ends and marks. Of note is that beginnings for planning can include: looking at beginnings which provide information on what the indexs or issues are happening ( i.e. of the State of the Environment studies ( Williams 2007 ) , ecological footmark appraisals ( Wackernagel & A ; Rees 1996 ) ) ; sing what authoritiess ( i.e. regional programs ) and administrations are making ; affecting the community and concerns to pull on their cognition, experiences, and needs ; and feedback from reappraisals and studies on the results of ain and other enforced programs.
Figure 2. Action countries in Local Agenda 21 procedure ( Cotter, B & A ; Hannan, K 1999 )
As mentioned antecedently, LA21 is a planetary plan for be aftering sustainably and hence by supervising and describing on the results around the universe this feeds back into the planning procedure and is bound to make common visions for our metropoliss and the manner authoritiess ( and hopefully communities and concerns ) go about accomplishing them.
Common Visions for Sustainable Development
Over the past 30 old ages, since our focal point has turn towards sustainability, common visions and ends for metropoliss across the universe are playing out as we face similar quandaries. In his reappraisal of sustainable urban development in 1998 Wheeler highlighted nine chief waies for be aftering to accomplish the development of sustainable metropoliss ( 2007 ) . These, along with short descriptions, are listed in table 3 below. A major recurrent subject is the demand to switch our dependence on auto transit to more sustainable signifiers of conveyance ( i.e. trains, coachs, bikes ) in the attempt to cut down its impacts such as air pollution, urban conurbation, low quality of life, and demand on natural resources ( i.e. fuel ) . This and the vision of resource decrease, as seen from a personal point of position, would hold to be the hardest to accomplish. This is merely because personal transit and resources ( i.e. engineering, communications, mundane merchandises – the list is eternal! ) are so entwined in the economic system ( i.e. movement/production of goods ) and human thoughts of freedom and leisure that these extenuate the motive for alteration.
Table 3. Common Visions for Sustainable Cities ( Reproduced from Wheeler 2007 )
Compact, Efficient Land Use – In built-up countries expeditiously use land and do infinites more green, safe, attractive, and livable ; continue farm land, ecological home grounds, and unfastened infinites near metropoliss.
Less Car Use, Better Access – Reduce the demand for auto transit ( i.e. to work ) by constructing up public transit and entree ; making urban small towns where services and employment are in close propinquity to places ; cater environment for bikes and paseos ; increase pricing related to auto transit ( i.e. parking, fuel, enrollment fees )
Efficient Resource Use, Less Pollution and Waste – Greater focal point on resources which are reclaimable and reclaimable ; enterprises and inducements to cut down resource ingestion ( i.e. electricity, H2O ) ; increase pricing related to resource ingestion ( i.e. electricity )
Restoration of Natural Systems – reconstructing natural land and waterways to supply corridors and home grounds for wildlife and opens infinites for people to reconnect with the environment ; reconstruct bing urban Parkss and unfastened infinites ; urban horticulture to turn nutrient and workss ; reclaim abandoned land for ecological Restoration and human activities to reconstruct wellness
Good Housing And Living Environments – purpose to supply low-cost lodging and design and restore houses and vicinities to give people easy accessible services, installations, and recreational and cultural infinites
A Healthy Social Ecology – reduce/eliminate homelessness ; address entrenched societal jobs which are impacting on quality of life ( i.e. racism ) ; enhance community, chances, and authorization for groups to accomplish equity and justness.
Sustainable Economics – an economic system that helps to reconstruct the environment and societal harm and prevent future harm ; provides valuable employment and invests locally ( i.e. local green goods ) ; economic sector move towards renewable resources and puting in new sustainable engineerings and merchandises ( i.e. intercrossed autos ) .
Community Participation And Involvement – create a more functional local and regional democracy which promotes community engagement and engagement in decision-making
Preservation Of Local Culture And Wisdom – through encouragement of traditional trades, linguistic communications, rites, cultural patterns, and edifice techniques ; protect local merchandises from mass-produced imports ; protect local farming area and resource stocks ; integrate architecture and stuffs into local development.
A good beginning to exemplify how Australia is be aftering for sustainable development is the Brisbane City Council ‘s Brisbane City Centre Master Plan 2006 which outlines the strategic way and model for the development of Brisbane to the twelvemonth 2026. The program ‘s highlighted issues and schemes are enveloped under the three focal point of sustainable development: design and environment, people and civilization ( i.e. societal ) , and economic sciences and concern ( Brisbane City Council 2006 ) . Figure 3 below illustrates the model of the maestro program.
Figure 3. The Brisbane City Centre Master Plan Framework
( Brisbane City Council 2006, p. 17 )
As a metropolis Brisbane ‘s population is expected to hold increased by 70 % in the twelvemonth 2026 ( Brisbane City Council 2006 ) . The vision for Brisbane metropolis is for a compact ( high-density ) metropolis based around the river which: has: green and unfastened infinites for diversion and assemblage ; provides chances for creativeness ; provides life, working, and leisure demands for a multi-cultural society ; preserves the metropolis ‘s cultural and heritage ; provides each entree and mobility for all types of motion and conveyance ( i.e. bicyclers, vehicles ) ; is an economically comfortable metropolis ( i.e. concern, touristry, instruction ) ; and provides a safe environment ( Brisbane City Council 2006 ) . Interestingly there are societal and economic schemes outlined in the papers but no expressed mention to an environmental scheme other than the ‘built environment ‘ scheme which involves the design and development of constructions. Alternatively mentions to ‘sustainable ‘ patterns affecting the environment are spread throughout the program such as: sustainable edifices and public infinites, air emanations, biodiversity resources, and ‘adopting sustainable resource patterns in relation to stuffs, energy, and H2O efficiency ‘ ( Brisbane City Council 2006, p.19 ) .
The Brisbane City Centre Master Plan 2006 high spots widespread arguments and concerns that all the declarations for sustainable development are no more than canonized lip-service as societal and economic factors still hold precedence over protecting our environment. Furthermore, it is questioned whether the execution of policies which are geared towards sustainable development are taking topographic point ( Pacione 2007, Wackernagel & A ; Rees 1996 ) .
There is no easy reply, it may be that societal and economic sustainability require more focal point to work towards long-run environmental sustainability. Plans for the sustainable development of our metropoliss surround visions crossing from anyplace between 5 to 50 old ages into the hereafter and are invariably reviewed in visible radiation of new precedences. It will take clip to alter our society so we are willing to take on the duty, to accomplish a balance between human wellbeing and equity, economic stableness, and caring for the environment that sustains our life and that of other species. Barriers to alter besides have to be explored such as unfairness of groups ( i.e. hapless versus wealthy ) in their capacity for sustainable patterns and the restrictions of political dockets.
However, these alterations may non be plenty if we have gone excessively far to retrieve a sustainable environment and drastic alternate solutions, such as engineering and scientific discipline, may be the hereafter planning for sustainable metropoliss.
Decision
Sustainable Development is a planning attack which aims to accomplish sustainable metropoliss by striking a balance between the precedences of societal equity, economic prosperity, and the protection of the environment ( Campbell 1996 ) . This attack has been endorsed by internationally administrations ( WCED, UN ) and states across the universe which have incorporated the rules of sustainable development into their national, regional, and local dockets, Acts of the Apostless, and metropolis programs.
In audience with cardinal stakeholders the Australian authorities developed their ain ‘ecological sustainable development ‘ ( ESD ) national scheme as a model for authoritiess, concerns, industries, and communities to steer their policy development and determination devising towards guaranting sustainable development in Australian ( DoEH 1992 ) . The rules of sustainable development have besides found their manner into legion Acts of the Apostless including the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 ( Department of Infrastructure and Planning 2009a ) which guides planning in Queensland to guarantee local, regional, and province planning is integrated together through collaborative partnerships ( Department of Infrastructure and Planning 2009b ) . The United Nation ‘s Local Agenda 21 plan is besides an internationally critical tool to steer local authoritiess to develop of policies, action programs, and enterprises for their metropoliss and the surrounding parts ( Cotter and Hannan 1999 ) . Furthermore, through appraisal and coverage of the results of execution of sustainable programs, metropoliss around the Earth can use this information to steer their ain programs for sustainable development relevant to their country.
Common sustainable development visions include: compact and efficient land usage ; reduced dependence on auto transit and better entree to promote alternate signifiers of conveyance ; reduced resource ingestion ; ecological Restoration ; low-cost lodging and better life environments ; societal equity and justness ; sustainable economic system ; community engagement and engagement in decision-making ; and the saving of local civilization and cognition. However, when reexamining a local program ( Brisbane City ) there is grounds that in Australia economic growing and making healthy communities and taking precedency over saving of our environment. This illustration challenges whether all the declarations, dockets, and programs for sustainable development are really being implemented, particularly in relation to the environment.
There is no uncertainty that accomplishing a balance between the three constituents of sustainable development is hard as precedences are conflicting and barriers to execution are present. A thorough appraisal of the barriers to sustainable development would be beneficially so these can be addressed, in every bit much as they can, and considered in future planning towards sustainable metropoliss. It may be that new engineerings and scientific discipline will supply the chance by which these struggles and barriers are overcome and worlds begin to populate in harmoniousness with their environment.

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