Urban Design for Sustainability


Globalisation includes the increasing spatial division of labour and economies of scale in the
international economy, overriding any increase in transportation costs (which often, in any case,
are highly subsidised). Large scale, single use developments outside the main urban areas are
contributing to urban sprawl. The transport of goods and mobility of people continues to grow
steadily every year adding to the pollution of the global environment, the depletion of fossil fuels
and pollution and congestion at the local level. The development of transport infrastructure, and
particularly roads, responds to the economic pressures and in turn increases mobility and
accessibility, opening up rural areas to new urban development, with the demand for easing the
long distance and international flow of goods over-riding local sustainability needs.

The growth of mobility, of the transport infrastructure and other infrastructures, especially in the area of information and communication technology (ICT) is also resulting in the emergence of
new, more polycentric patterns of urban development, with a greater specialisation of functions
between centres (as well as increased competition) and the growing importance of networks of
cities. The challenge for urban design is to respond to these emerging patterns in a proactive way
that overcomes negative effects such as excessive car-based mobility and urban sprawl.
Hammarby Sjöstad masterplan
Growing prosperity and wealth and increasing demands for an improved quality of life are
reflected in the increasing consumption of land and space, demand for privacy and better living
conditions and access to green space. Demographic trends, including an ageing population and
the growth of smaller and single person households, are adding to the demands for new housing
and to the pressures for suburbanisation in rural areas (as well as for improvements to the quality of the environment and everyday life in inner city areas). Valuable agricultural land, amenity space and natural reserves of biodiversity are being lost. At the same, increasing land values and property prices in cities make housing in locations that are accessible to livelihood opportunities and services increasingly unaffordable for many sections of the population.

The relationship between the housing market and public land and housing policies and urban design is critical. Urban design can provide the framework for achieving a good quality of life when the attempt to meet these challenges may require higher densities and better mixes of development.

The overall aim of sustainable urban development is to achieve a healthy and high quality of life
for all people in this and subsequent generations, with equitable and geographically balanced and
socially cohesive economic development, which reduces the impact on the global and local

1 comment:

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