- The sustainability of high density — Heriot-Watt University
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There are many perceived benefits of the compact city over urban sprawl, which include: less car dependency thus lower emissions, reduced energy consumption, better public transport services, increased overall accessibility, the re-use of infrastructure and previously developed land, a regeneration of existing urban areas and urban vitality, a higher quality of life, the preservation of green space, and the creation of a milieu for enhanced business and trading activities.
As sustainable development relies upon the combination of economic, social and environmental elements. The following are some of the issues that should be addressed for the compact city to show improvements across all three spheres.
Connected Centres of Social and Commercial Activities The creation of the modern Compact City demands the rejection of single-function development and the dominance of the car. The issues to be addressed are:. These provide the focal points around which neighbourhoods develop. The Compact City is a network of these neighbourhoods, each with its own parks and public spaces and accommodating a diversity of overlapping private and public activities. Most importantly, these neighbourhoods bring work and facilities within convenient reach of the community, and this proximity means less driving for everyday needs.
The sustainability of high density — Heriot-Watt University
In large cities, Mass transit systems can provide high-speed cross-town travel by linking one neighbourhood centre with another, leaving local distribution to local systems. This reduces the volume and impact of through traffic, which can be calmed and controlled, particularly around the public heart of neighbourhoods. Local trains, light railway systems and electric buses become more effective, and cycling and walking more pleasant.
Congestion and pollution in the streets are drastically reduced and the sense of security and conviviality of public space is increased. Sustainable Compact Cities could reinstate the city as the ideal habitat for a community-based society. It is an established type of urban structure that can be interpreted in all manner of ways in response to all manner of cultures.
Cities should be about the people they shelter, about face-to-face contact, about condensing the ferment of human activity, about generating and expressing local culture. Whether in a temperate or an extreme climate, in a rich or poor society, the long-term aim of sustainable development is to create a flexible structure for a vigorous community within a healthy and non-polluting environment.
Proximity, the provision of good public space, the presence of natural landscape and the exploitation of new urban technologies can radically improve the quality of air and of life in the dense city. Another benefit of compactness is that the countryside itself is protected from the encroachment of urban development. The concentration of diverse activities, rather than the grouping of similar activities, can make for more efficient use of energy. The Compact City can provide an environment as beautiful as that of the countryside.
The whole premise of the Compact City is that interventions trigger further opportunities for efficiency. Fewer cars mean less congestion and better air quality, which in turn encourages cycling and walking rather than driving. Better air quality makes opening windows to fresh air more attractive than turning on filtered air-conditioners.
There are other important environmental advantages to a compact form of city that has fewer roads but more landscaped public spaces. Parks, gardens, trees and other landscaping provide vegetation that shades and cools streets, courtyards and buildings in summer. Cities are generally 0 C warmer than their hinterland. The overall effect of rich urban landscaping is to reduce the heat 'bloom' of cities, measurably reducing the need for air-conditioning. Plants dampen noise levels and filter pollution, absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen - further factors that reduce the need for air-conditioning to supply cooled fresh air to buildings in what would otherwise be hot and polluted urban areas.
Urban landscape absorbs rain, reducing the discharge of urban rainfall and storm water. Landscape plays an important psychological role in the city and can sustain a wide diversity of urban wildlife. A Compact City reduces the waste of energy. Generating electric power produces hot water as a by-product, which in conventional power plants is simply wasted. Local Combined Heat and Power plants CHPs can be used both to distribute electricity and, due to their proximity, to pipe hot water directly into buildings.
This can more than double the efficiency of conventional urban power distribution. In a city that combines a variety of activities, it is easier to transfer waste heat from one activity to another. Excess heat generated by offices, for example, is usually dissipated into the environment, but it can be reused in hospitals, homes, hotels or schools if they are reasonably close.
Human waste that is rich in nutrients is currently discharged in such high concentrations that it poisons the environment. It can instead be recycled to produce methane fuel pellets and fertilizers. Grey water can be filtered through natural systems on site and be re-used for irrigation of urban landscape or to restock local aquifers. Conservation Land Management. Go to Conservation Land Management. Click to have a closer look.
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Select version. About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles. Images Additional images. About this book Compact living is sustainable living. Understanding Density and High Density 2. Is the High Density the Only Option? Urban Environment Diversity and Human Comfort Designing for Urban Ventilation Natural Ventilation in High Density Cities Designing for Daylighting Fire Engineering for Density Cities Energy in High Density Cities Edited By: Edward Ng.
Media reviews. It is an excellent overview of the state of the art on design process for cities presenting high densities. The book is an outcome of long standing research in the area of urban sustainability and includes contributions from internationally acclaimed researchers and building scientists. This is a valuable reference not only for academics but also for architects and practitioners.
Starting with the essentials of high density building, this book then explores the complex relations of high-density metropolitan areasi? It goes without saying that the combination of such important themes fills a gap in our knowledge and that no planner can ignore this book' Tejo Spit, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Utrecht University, The Netherlands 'At first glance this may not seem to be a text book for urban designers but I wish that it had been available when I was working on large projects in Hong Kong Current promotions.
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