You may think of cities as machines put in place with the goal to support human life. When taking sustainable urban development into account, it’s also important to consider the journey as well as the goal. One path may do the work efficiently or another may consume huge amounts of resources without ever increasing the quality of life.
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future by the United Nations
Oversights can make or break sustainability
In a poorly planned residential tower, the living areas might face away from the sun in winter. A simple mistake like this can cause long lasting detrimental effects, like making the apartments colder, more prone to mold, and requiring more energy to heat.
The only change that would have been required to improve sustainability would have been for the planner to spin the drawing 180-degrees during planning. A smarter decision at the right time would save an exponential amount of wasted energy and dramatically improve living conditions. No additional heaters, no increase in power cables, or higher quality glass necessary.
Sustainable urban planning
Sustainable urban development means caring about the people who will use your city, and setting the living machine up so that it is efficient for them to live comfortable lives.
Think of all the other things that make a city pleasant, clean, and efficient.
- Does the design of the city make use of trees to cool itself?
- Are transportation and services planned out to keep as many people as possible out of gridlock?
- Does the city deal sensibly with rain water and potential floods?
Every city plan has hundreds of factors like these to consider, which can add time and resources to solve. By preemptively thinking about these factors and responding to them creatively, cities can eliminate enormous quantities of waste over their lifetime. Thus accumulating savings every year the city survives. Good decisions can benefit people for millennia.
Putting sustainability in action
As urbanization continues to expand, so does the impact on the environment. In order to grow sustainably, expansion requires acknowledging the long term effects and lifespan of the built world.
Understand and leverage existing systems
Immerse yourself in the environment where you’re creating. Know where the sun hits within the spaces you create and where the warm winds come from. Understand how people travel, where they go and when they’re in motion. Get to know what species of trees and animals flourish.
Utilize GIS platforms to analyze and evaluate information. Leverage visualization of spatial GIS data to quickly gain a full perspective of your environment.
Start creating and then leverage expert knowledge
Maintain your project's momentum as it grows and continues to expand. Utilize your existing massings, models, and designs to collaborate and access experts.
Account for carbon emissions
With 50% of carbon emissions stemming from the property and development industry, get ahead of the growing legislation by implementing expert solutions now. Set embodied carbon targets from project inception and quickly analyse, report, and deliver real results.
Confidently solve for embodied carbon with leading experts in your early stage planning »
Optimize your space
Easily achieve optimized engineering design in real time. Execute improved floor efficiency and spatial flow, get accurate data insights and push the boundaries of design innovation.
Deliver elevated designs and quality documentation for faster approval with expert assessment »
Iterate and develop new options
It’s rare that the best version of anything is created on the first try. Iteration allows you to expand your understanding and then make changes as you find opportunity.
Iteration is also a more efficient way to create a higher quality final product. Quickly creating an intuitive design gets you a working prototype faster and allows you to rapidly make improvements.
Communicate with clarity
Being able to convey what you mean is less straightforward than it sounds. By leveraging visual aids with additional context, in conjunction with a verbal walkthrough or presentation, you can eliminate having your concept get lost in translation.