Factors responsible for shaping our towns and cities
There are two major drivers of change that are responsible for shaping our towns and cities.
1) Technological impact
This has changed the way people connect with each other across the globe. It has given rise to new businesses and has also resulted in the increase in urban population.
Technological impact also has positive benefits. It has opened up ways and means by which we could attain sustainable living by use of clean technologies. It is time we take charge of our towns and cities and develop them in a way beneficial to mankind in long run. People prefer to live in the heart of the city for important reasons such as close proximity to offices, leisure areas etc.
To bring about sustainable development, we have to focus on connecting places or linking homes, offices and leisure places in close proximity to each other. This would also help in reducing ecological footprint by reduction in energy consumption.
2) Changing lifestyles and Ecological balance
Our global population has been on the rise from the past 100 years. It grew from under 1 billion inhabitant to 6 billion inhabitants. It is estimated that if the population continues to grow at the current rate, it will reach 8.5 billion inhabitants by 2025.
Urbanisation is taking place rapidly. At the start of the century, around 10% people lived in cities but now the number of people moving into the cities is growing at an alarming rate. 50% of urban population now lives in cities. This growing population and urbanisation is adding a lot of pressure on the use of resources and the environment.
With each passing year, it is being realized that there is an urgent need for a new approach that brings out environmental sustainability. It is estimated that 75% if all pollution arises from urban environment of which 45% is from transport and 30% is from the buildings.1
Cities are like organisms and have their own mechanism. They require heavy inputs in the form of physical resources in order to sustain as well as they produce significant number of outputs in terms of waste products. The importance of achieving higher environmental standards in the places we build, as well as protecting existing natural environments from damage, is one of the greatest challenges of the next century.
1. ‘Cities for a small planet’, Richard Rogers (1996)