July 16, 2014

The Features of a Sustainable City


In looking at the article “21 Features of the Sustainable City,” which offers a preliminary summary of the key elements of holistically sustainable cities, there is a noticeable gap in the list in regards to water management. While the author indirectly references water in relation to climate resilience, it is definitely worth highlighting the need for conserving, celebrating, and maximizing the overall potential of water.

More broadly, we also find it important to consider aesthetics, beauty, and biophilia when considering the sustainability of a city. If an environmentally advanced strategy fails to nourish the human spirit, it will not succeed in the long run. A city cannot simply be resource efficient, it must also be a place where people want to live and a place that they want to care for, in order for the city to succeed.

And finally, a sense of “social” sustainability – or a framework for human connection and community development – is essential for the sustainable city. Not only does sociability enhance human wellness, it also encourages the sharing of environmental resources and human capital.

What features would you add? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #BKSKLab.

photo by NASA/Goddard/Landsat