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Article: The city of the future must be sustainable

La città del futuro deve essere sostenibile

The city of the future must be sustainable

In these times of increasing social isolation, there is considerable interest from more and more people in moving to cities that offer a better quality of life. Benefits such as a lower cost of living, large outdoor spaces and efficient public services come to mind. But they are certainly not the only essential elements. The population around the world is slowly awakening and acquiring ever greater awareness. This is also thanks to the greater amount of information circulating, an ever-widening globalization and a greater sensitivity towards issues related to respect for the environment, ethics and sustainability . The latter in particular is perhaps an underestimated topic but the numerous problems that concern modern living such as pollution, inequalities and excessive consumption are closely linked to the lack of government plans that take sustainability into consideration.


To better understand what we are talking about, let's first look at the definition of sustainability offered by Wikipedia: “sustainability is the characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. In the environmental, economic and social fields, it is the process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the investment plan, the orientation of technological development and institutional changes are all in harmony and enhance the current and future potential in order to meet human needs and aspirations. The guiding principle of sustainability is sustainable development, that is, development aimed at meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs ."

Reading this definition it is easy to understand how this concept is often ignored, leading to problems like the ones we have under our noses every day. Poor air and water quality, a constant increase in the cost of living and increasingly limited resources. In short, at this rate, the cities that we will leave to those who come after us will be increasingly unlivable. It is therefore necessary to review our policies and habits . First of all because, as with any true love, loving a city means appreciating every part of it: from the iconic buildings to the carefully curated urban landscapes, from the cafés under the arcades to the noise that comes from the crowded streets, from the variety of shops available to the certainty that a city offers. In short, a city must be able to convey trust to those who are younger and gratitude to those who are older, it must contribute to giving us that feeling of familiarity with the world, but above all it must represent a backbone when it comes to our interactions human .

And given the situation we find ourselves in these days we can say that we have distanced ourselves greatly from these assumptions. So, just as we would with a friend in need, we need to worry about the situation that has arisen, as urban immune systems are often pushed to their limits, if not to collapse. Cars congest the streets everywhere, temperatures are increasingly extreme, air quality is constantly decreasing, green spaces are shrinking, walking and cycling are increasingly risky activities and more and more lives and neighborhoods are being swept away in an instant from storms, flash floods and out-of-control fires.

Future cities will therefore have to be sustainable cities and the complexity of this challenge will require new urban planning methods that act on ecology, water, energy, waste, food, mobility, culture, liveability, infrastructure and economy.

The city of the future must be designed with nature at its centre , protecting wildlife habitat and natural resources. Protecting mountain water systems and rigorously collecting and cleaning rainwater will improve water quality. Restoring wetlands will help protect us from flooding and rising sea levels. The energy produced will come entirely from renewable sources and each urban center will be completely self-sufficient. The waste will become a resource to produce energy or other material. Landfills and abandoned industrial areas will gradually be converted to other purposes after land reclamation. The wastewater will be treated for irrigation or human consumption. Sustainability practices will be mandatory throughout the life cycle of a product, from food production to delivery and disposal. Global standards for organic farming and animal treatment will be established. Most of the products will be locally sourced. Traveling in the city of the future will be more convenient and safe and thanks to increasingly automated technology, there will be fewer cars in favor of more space for pedestrian use. Historic heritage will continue to be preserved and celebrated, while art and entertainment will be increasingly shared globally through virtual and augmented reality.

The city of the future will need to be designed to be highly accessible and safe for all, allowing residents to live healthier lives with easier access to nature and services . Buildings will be constructed more efficiently by integrating technologies that can improve the quality of natural resources. And finally the economy will have to be designed while safeguarding ecological sustainability.

And what do you think? How do you see the cities of the future?

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