Sustainable Cities Through Planning

Urban planning can produce sustainable cities. There are dozens of examples around the globe.

Planning for sustainability. Curitiba’s former industrial area is now parkland. Photo: J. Birtch

Urban planning can produced sustainable cities. There are dozens of inspiring examples around the globe. Those cities significantly reduce environmental stress and improve quality of life for people. This process will continue.

One example is Curitiba, Brazil which is a world leader in planning for sustainability. The photo above shows a former industrial site in Curitiba that was converted into a beautiful park.

Yet over 3000 cities in the world are not sustainable

Unplanned City. Photo: J. Birtch

Yet over 3000 cities in the world are not sustainable. International organizations are promoting planning for sustainability in all types of cities, and this is good. But there are two problems with this approach:

  • Resources – Achieving sustainable cities through planning requires significant resources in terms of expertise, planning tools, political leadership and money. Many of the world’s cities have too little of those resources.
  • Time – Planning takes time. Problems of unsustainable growth in many cities are urgent and must be addressed as soon as possible.

These cities need a new resource for sustainability to complement planning. They also need an approach that will engage this resource. For a discussion of this new resource, view “Sustainable Cities Through Human Capital.” To read about an approach to engage human capital for sustainability, go the page on the “Biosphere Eco-City Model.”