Sustainability is when the needs of basic needs of everyone are met, while not jeopardizing the needs of future generations. Therefore if a population is not sustainable (which is the case in most places), most resources are being used then are being produced. When a city is sustainable, they often do a lot of recycling, reusing, eating local foods (mostly produce), have great public transportation, don’t have a lot of deforestation or land degradation. Some good examples are Seattle and Portland. They each have fabulous public transportation, have many local markets, many people that eat produce and little meat, are very environmentally conscience, etc.
One of the most interesting examples of a sustainable city or town as th village of Findhorn, Scotland. The village, a tiny blip on the map in UK, uses only half the resources and creates only half the waste of the rest of the UK. Many resources are shared (such as washing machines and dining areas), and the town is mainly powered by four wind turbines by the community. The big problem, of sources is the air travel used to get to and from the tiny village.
One way to think of a good model for a sustainable city would be one that was built 2,000 years ago: little communication to anyone outside walking distance, minimal food, goods and services being shipped, and nothing like air conditioning units or sushi restaurants in the desert. Therefore, there was a total reliance on the regional resources, economy and climate.
A sustainable city is defined by most in the Sustainability community as one that meets all basic needs, but does not jeopardize the needs of future generations.
A sustainable city involves a hybrid of “old” and ancient technologies and behaviors with the new and modern. Many of the concepts for reliance on food, energy and other resources is that of local or “on-site”. Other terms used in Sustainable city actions include: cradle-to-cradle, reducing waste and maximizing use of materials; and zero net energy usage, using only that amount of energy that is created by the energy-generating technologies feeding to the site.
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