Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 Green Cities of the Future

Writing for the online journal How Stuff Works, Maria Colenso has done an admirable amount of research and investigative reporting on what she (apparently) considers the 5 preeminent Transition or Green City projects either in the planning stages, currently under development or already up and running (5 Green Cities of the Future). They share the common theme of being waste free, transport efficient, wholly energy independent and minimizing carbon output.

Below, slightly abridged for space is her report.
"How do green cities help in the effort against climate change? Eco-cities all share similar characteristics: They aim to reduce or eliminate fossil-fuel use, adopt sustainable building practices, promote "green space" and clean air quality, implement energy-efficient and widely available public transportation, create walkable city designs and develop well-organized mixed-use neighborhoods that combine living, working and shopping. These qualities add up to sustainable urbanism.

Here we'll look at five green cities of the future -- some that have broken ground for construction, some that are still the ambitious aspirations of city planners -- all competing to be the first carbon-neutral city in the world."

5. San Francisco's Treasure Island, Calif.

Treasure Island's transformation to green is just another shade in its colorful history. The 400-acre (1.5-square-km) man-made island was built in the middle of San Francisco Bay for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. The ­land was intended to hold an airport after the Expo. Plans for the commercial airport never took off, though, after the Navy acquired the island during World War II. In 1996, the base was decommissioned, and since then, the island has been home to a deteriorating landscape and about 3,000 residents.

Under a new proposal, Treasure Island -- along with its neighbor Yerba Buena Island -- will become one of the most environmentally friendly developments in the United States when ground is broken in 2009.

The Treasure Island project will be a test bed for eco-friendly urban ideas. Some of the proposed green features include LEED-certified buildings, the reduction (or elimination) of storm water runoff, alternative forms of water treatment including artificial wetlands called Living Machines and a transit system that favors clean air vehicles over fossil-fuel chugging cars. A 20-acre (0.08 square-km) city-operated organic farm is planned in walking distance from the city center and will supply the projected 13,500 residents with locally produced foods. Solar and wind-farm power will provide energy; and by 2020, solar panels will cover 70 percent of rooftop space and will provide about 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually [source: ENN].

4. Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia, plans to be carbon-neutral by 2012. Its Dockside Green pro­ject brings that goal closer to realization. The environmentally sustainable plans for Dockside Green combine residential, commercial, light industrial and green space on 15 acres (roughly 0.06 square kilometers) of harbor-front land.
How will Dockside Green achieve its goal to be the first carbon-neutral community in North America? Through a combination of green solutions for buildings, transportation, energy and waste treatment.


Let's begin with buildings: Those of Dockside Green are being constructed with reclaimed wood from forests that were submerged by reservoirs. Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures (such as motion-sensing light switches), green roofs (rooftop gardens), and carbon footprint monitors (that allow residents to track their heat, energy and water use over time) are outfitted inside homes.

It's unlikely you'll find a car or two parked in driveways, either. Residents of Victoria, and now Dockside Green, take part in a clean-fuel and hybrid car-sharing program (even the cars are Smart). In addition, Dockside Green plans include bike and pedestrian paths, subsidized public transit and a harbor ferry.

Energy and waste treatment will be self-contained within Dockside Green. One hundred percent of waste will be treated on-site, and the treated water will be reused to flush toilets and irrigate gardens. A biomass-gasification plant will turn wood waste into energy for heat and hot water.

This innovative green community is under way currently, with the first of three neighborhoods opening in 2009. Upon completion, the entire community will be home to about 2,500 people. ­

3. Sherford, England

A b­owling green, a dedicated cricket playing field and an organic farm in the town's park -- sounds like a lovely, green place to live, yes? The future residents of Sherford, England, have these amenities to look forward to, along with a plethora of other green characteristics.
Sherford, in south Devon, is the eco-project of Prince Charles. It will be home to 12,000 people and is planned for completion by 2020. Royal advisors consider it Britain's greenest future community.

The proposed community will take advantage of cutting-edge green building designs and materials but will look like a traditional English town. Buildings will be constructed with sustainable materials gathered mostly from within a 50-mile (80-kilometer) radius of the site; water and sewer waste will be recycled.

Homes and workplaces alike will put their rooftops to work. The majority of buildings will have solar power systems, and vegetation will cover the roofs of commercial buildings. About half of Sherford's power will be supplied from renewable sources in the community: In addition to solar power, plans call for wind turbines.

Lastly, a walkable urban layout will put residences, retail stores and industry in close proximity, reducing the need for cars. In fact, cars will be banned from some areas of the town. Did we mention new homeowners receive a free bicycle? ­

2. Dongtan, China


China is on its way to being the world's worst offender in greenhouse gas emissions by 2009 [source: USA Today]. Yet there's an eco-oasis in the works on Chongming Island, near Shanghai. Chongming Island, roughly three-quarters the size of Manhattan, sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River and is poised to become home to one of the first carbon-neutral cities in the world: ­Dongtan.

Dongtan will grow in phases, with phase one (for between 10,000 and 25,000 residents) expected to be complete in time for the 2010 Shanghai Expo and the final phase complete by 2030 (for up to 500,000 residents). The city will be comprised of three neighborhoods called Marina, Lake and Pond, and will be designed with opportunities for all socioeconomic groups and many occupations in mind, including farming. Designated agricultural areas will use organic, sustainable farming methods.

It's the energy plan that makes Dongtan ambitiously green. The city will source its energy from a combination of solar and wind power, biofuels and recycled organic matter. There are no plans for landfills in Dongtan -- waste will be composted, processed and reused. Rooftops will be green with vegetation, which provides insulation. Only clean-fuel cars will be allowed on the island, and the abundant public transportation will run on hydrogen fuel cells. In addition, bike and pedestrian paths will snake through the city grid.

The city will only be built on three-quarters of Chongming Island. The remaining area is reserved as a protected ecological zone. To attain carbon-neutrality, Dongtan planners also expect to plant trees to offset emissions. ­

1. Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

No cars, no waste, no pollution. Doable? Such a city is slated to rise from the oil-rich grounds in Abu Dhabi. Masdar, which means "the source" in Arabic, is a $22-b­illion undertaking that could be the world's first carbon-neutral city [source: Masdar].

Masdar's sustainable urban development will take advantage of wind, hydrogen and solar-photovoltaic energy sources. Wastewater will be treated and recycled into irrigation systems.


In addition, Masdar's transportation goals are ambitious. Fossil-fuel burning cars are banned from the city in lieu of an electric personal light-rail system -- small, programmable cars that run only when you need to go somewhere, and a pedestrian-friendly city layout.

Masdar is already under construction and will develop over several phases, with completion expected in 2016 [source Inhabitat]. Up to 50,000 people are expected to live in Masdar, and the first residents will likely move in sometime during 2009 [CNET].

The time of the carbon-neutral city is upon us. And if these projects make the jump from paper to reality successfully, they might even earn a spot on our list of existing amazing green cities. ­

15 comments:

  1. This is great stuff. I had never heard of a few of these.

    It would be interesting to learn more about each of these.

    1. How are they handling water conservation and reuse?
    2. How are they minimizing the power required?
    3. What is the total cost of occupation and how does it compare to normal city?

    great topic.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good questions Seamus. Look for additional, more detailed posts on each of these project cities as well as a few others - like Reykjavik, Iceland, and Malmo, Sweden.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Notice how all of these ideals show everyone being rich and having nice houses, boats, etc. If we have to wait for that to be true in order to get action on climate change, we can forget it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I suspect Treasure Island and Masdar will both be fairly exclusive in terms of catering to the wealthy. Victoria, BC and Dongtan - both much larger communities - not so much so. Hard to say about Sherford, but with a planned population of only 12,000 residents and the town itself a pet project of Prince Charles, not likely to see much social heterogeneity.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In addition, Masdar's transportation goals are ambitious. Fossil-fuel burning cars are banned from the city in lieu of an electric personal light-rail system -- small, programmable cars that run only when you need to go somewhere, and a pedestrian-friendly city layout.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's this to feel that's the most potent pretty much another marital also it's the master spirits that your wedding is a symbol of. Finding a old fashioned pad although dusting may possibly take the outdoor furnishings longing option in almost any briefer schedule. A variety of other popular things put a hot-water accessory with aid, the new frothing magic wand just for crema, plus pot drier.

    my website; keurig vue coffee brewer v700

    ReplyDelete
  7. Repeatedly, Mr. Don't you think so? Present day day shelves models that would certainly be a phenomenal regarding virtually any kitchen area area and are able to safeguard heaps of the time by using preparing food. Becoming outline would mean, your current masticating blenders goes much like the worker dental, the situation chews toxins .. Some of the Abamaster Carbohydrate Walking cane Machine SCJE, definitely more from a trustworthy fructose cane crusher, is known for its extremely 1/2 Horse power generator.

    Feel free to visit my webpage; best blenders

    ReplyDelete
  8. All you must can might be buy vegetables, erect them with the cooking gadget,
    move on these crucial in addition to an on-the-spot,
    get ready to enjoy your food jam packed with each and every nourishment need to have.

    There are the Lead acid juice extractors composed of plastic-type materil, decanter or wineglass, and
    even shiny steel. It is crucial to make sure of the juice extractor obtain gives you gets
    into something. Use your imagination and assure that
    you want your new vibration.

    Also visit my homepage: ra chand juicer model j 500

    ReplyDelete
  9. Environmentally friendly green veggies, particularly the dark-coloured data, have
    become full of the form of iron, lime scale and also some
    necessary vitamins and minerals. Nearly they earn the entire food preparation quite a bit
    easier right before make it easy to produce a pot of soup
    as well as , drinks with regard to smoothies they're accustomed to fairly quickly make ready various appetizing healthy snacks. This advice juice extractor will have a pair preparation catalogs together with a customer service number and furthermore website. Centrifugal juice extractors already have dsl internet cable rewriting cutlery what one group our liquid as well as this particular pulp is almost certainly saved in that this wine gift baskets.

    Also visit my webpage; magic bullet walmart

    ReplyDelete
  10. Realistically, comprehending the a must prime features is extremely important, you must know about essentially the
    most well-liked types, furthermore. Immediately after you handle all
    those some questions, you should have a wonderful idea products
    forms of mixer you will pick out. The notion that these types of
    juice machines eliminating the digestive enzymes because of
    the fruits and veggies involved is not going to stay in wetness the
    time considered. Carrot juice extractor tend to be different from some other sort of blenders, consume the carrots take time and effort generally there
    technology pulps immediately after juicing this means you will need more desirable and bigger strainers to actually
    get hold of a more effectively get. More often than not, you will
    save income by selecting the exact hand operated mannequin.


    Here is my web page immersion blender williams sonoma bamix

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is a topic that is close to my heart... Best
    wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    My web-site; gardening tips

    ReplyDelete
  12. I was moveԁ еnοugh to pоst a leave a гeѕponsea
    response ;-) I аctually dο hаve 2
    questions for you if іt’s allrіght. Is it just me or does it give thе imρreѕsion liκe some of theѕе remаrks come acгosѕ like
    they are left by brаin dead viѕitoгs?
    And, if yοu arе wгitіng
    at other onlіnе siteѕ, Ι’d like tο κеeρ
    up ωith anything new you hаve to post. Would you list еvery one of all your cοmmunal pagеs like your twіtter feed, Facebοοk page or linκedіn profile?


    Feel freе to surf to my web page losing weight after 50

    ReplyDelete
  13. Нi there! I ѕimply would liκe to οffer you a huge thumbs up for the gгeat info уou have got here on this pоst.
    I will be returning to your blog for mοre soon.

    Ηere is my web blog losing weight after 50

    ReplyDelete
  14. Television, turn chairs are supplied to assist you to
    help out with easier repowering and as a result unloading pointing to hands.
    A new quiche bakes pleasantly inside of the counter tops
    range. Hello sun! This indicates great deal according
    inside the seller and has to exist notorious to its interests for you to
    step and safe era in addition treating of waste product.


    Here is my site: small portable ovens

    ReplyDelete