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Sustainable city

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Sustainable city

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This is a discussion forum associated with the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge (ISCFC).

Here's your chance not just to be the mayor, but the original city planner as well! Imagine a medium sized city that would be developed with modern, low carbon transportation in mind. What would that city look like? Would that make you more likely to want to live there?
 
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Sara B-USA, Nov. 20, 2012

My name is Sara, and I am from Houston Texas which is a pretty busy city that is constantly moving. The main mode of transportation in Houston is to drive. Well it is one of the biggest cities in the nation, and with everyone driving, we really pollute the air and add to global warming. I think it would help if we had more bus services to transport people or if we had trains or something like other big cities. For example, New york is huge, but they have metros and stuff. It would help if Houston did that too. If it does not work with the city planning then I think the city should promote buying eco friendly cars like hybrids. Hybrids help the environment and could help us reduce the polution we add to the air. The car might not even have to be a hybrid, but just having eco friendly cars in general could really help! Below i have posted a link that says what the most environmental friendly cars are.

http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=435625
Sara B-USA
Comments (1)
  • Jeevin S-USA Jeevin S-USA Oct. 9, 2013
    Hi Sara, My name is Jeevin and I am from Oakland California. I find it extremely interesting that a large city such as Houston has no public transportation system. In the bay area, we have BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) which acts as our train transportation system. We also have a network of buses and have created incentives to carpool.

    I highly agree with what you have said in regard to eco-friendly cars and electric cars. A lot of people fail to realize that while helping the environment, they can also help themselves economically. The federal government in the United States offer tax incentives for people with eco-friendly/electric cars that could amount up to 3,400 dollars. Along with this, many state systems also offer incentives to users with eco-friendly cars. Surprisingly, car insurance companies also offer eco-friendly insurance rates, which are significantly less. Many companies are now offering there employees incentives ranging from 2,000-5,000 dollars depending on the company. There are some really great reasons for buying eco-friendly/electric cars. You get to help protect the environment and your pocket as well!

    http://gengreen.org/eco-friendly-cars-save-more-than-the-environment/

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Sarah C-USA, Nov. 16, 2012

Living in Texas you know its winter when you go to school bundled in sweatshirts and fuzzy socks. Now I know that 60 degrees Fahrenheit might not seem like much to those of you who live in constant cold climates but here in Texas it’s a big deal. Now in the winter season I want to be nice and warm. Doing this requires using a heater which can greatly increase your carbon footprint. This parlays into using the air conditioning when its hot in the summer. Both use a lot of energy and can be quite costly. That’s why in the winter I always make sure I have a good supply of warm clothing and blankets. Also if you have a fireplace that isn’t a gas fireplace (because they use a lot of energy) then you should really use that. I have found that my fireplace can defintely warm up a whole room and sometimes quicker than my heating system. Now when it is hot outside and you need to cool off try to use a small fan if you have one. You could also make a cool refreshing drink which i have found can always cool me off. Anyway the main point is to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the energy use in your house. If you have other tips on saving energy please comment and share!

Sarah C-USA
Comments (1)
  • Brittany W-USA Brittany W-USA Nov. 16, 2012
    Although the idea of using a fireplae seems great, it actually is not that efficient or helping. fireplaces lose about 90% of the heat they create, and pull the heat from the house up the chimney and outside. Maybe the extra heat you felt was right next to the fireplace, but if it isn't sealed then you could end up having your heating system pick up for the loss. Here's a great site that could help you with other ideas for eco-friendly home heating: http://www.supergreenme.com/go-green-environment-eco:Eco-Friendly-Home-Heating

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Lauren F-USA, Nov. 15, 2012

Founders of cities may find it challenging to properly plan and achieve their goals when setting up a sustainable organization, especially in urban cities. You may ask yourself, “What can my community do to increase the responsibility, actions, and opportunities to make a city green?” It’s simple. We all need to work together. If we all work together everyday to help our economic, cultural, and daily lives, then we can all come together to make a change in our cities and how they affect the atmosphere. Living in a very populated city, we could all start by walking or biking anywhere that we can. If this doesn’t work for you, then you can make a carpool with someone instead of individually polluting the Earth. Another thing that majorly affects our city is electricity. We should start our journey of change by starting with the little things. We should immediately unplug that cell phone when it’s finished charging. We could also turn off the lights when we aren’t using them. If everyone takes part then who knows? Maybe our cities may turn to solar power!
Our ideal city is a place where we want to live; it’s a place of choice. Many may think these changes are insignificant, but if we come together and make a change then think of the many lives you may be saving in the future! We have the ability to make our world a better place. The only necessity we need is to become motivated to help our Earth, the same place our descendents will live. They are our future. They will be affected by the choices that we make.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edWdHBBhWKY&feature=related
Lauren  F-USA
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Jan Y-USA, Nov. 15, 2012

Living in California, I see many different kinds of cities. There are huge urban centers like LA and San Francisco but also small farming and mining towns. To create a sustainable city, I think one must think of what makes both of those places enjoyable but also sustainable. For something to be both liveable and “green” you must take many ideas and put them all together. My city would be one with plenty of parks for the public to get away from urban life, and a priority on public transit. If the people have access to mass transportation and the city builds bike lanes throughout the streets, they will be less encouraged to drive cars and release more emissions. My city would promote solar energy on all buildings, and have all construction projects be LEED certified as low energy and low waste. Some buildings could even have gardens or “living roofs” on their roof such as the City Hall of Chicago. The grocery stores would cooperate directly with local farms instead of large corporations for meat and produce and host farmers markets on the weekends. Finally, the city will actively participate in activities to get the public interested in new ideas. The city can host marathons (for if the people exercise, chances are they’ll want to start eating healthy) and festivals that promote eco-friendliness and carbon cutting practices.

http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/about_the_city/green_chicago/Green_Roofs_.html
Jan Y-USA
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Triona S-USA, Nov. 15, 2012

The idea of an “ideal” city can have many meanings to different people. Some like the quiet, “homey” city where there is no need ot do anything in a rush. To others, an “ideal” city would be a “hustling-bustling” city, always moving, with no down time. And to others, the “ideal” city would be “green”, recycling, and environmental friendly. Since I live near Houston, there are few breaks, and the city is always moving and doing something. In the area where I live, my community is trying to keep the area clean, by putting dog waste pick up stations in various areas. Although this is a great addition, my “ideal” city would be green-friendly, but not too calm. The city would have many bike-friendly areas, and biking would be the main mode of transpotation. People could also walk from place to place if they do not want to ride a bike. The city would aslo have many home-grown fruits and vegetables, so they would be organic, instead of inorganic which can have various chemicals, and in my opinion, do not taste as good as organic fruits and vegetabels. Also, the meats and chicken would be organic, instead of “mass-produced” and filled with various chemicals so the meats would grow faster to meet the needs of the population. The ideal city would also be very Earth-friendly, with many recycling areas, because almost everything can be recycled. Grocery stores would bag up the groceries in paper bags, or people would bring their own reusable bags. My ideal city would be biker friendly, with little to no use for cars; organic, all the produce would be grown in the city and would be Earth friendly, with paper bags instead of plastic, or even better reusable bags.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255
Triona S-USA
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Sarah B-United States, Nov. 15, 2012

When one thinks of an ideal city, people may think of the adjectives “pretty”, “beautiful,” or “busy”. Cities like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco might come to mind, if you live in the United States. But what would be an “ideal” city? Must this ideal city be “beautiful”? Imagine a city in which everything is recycled and nothing fulfills its purpose only once, a city where used Coke cans were compressed and used as walls for buildings. Or a city where instead of building up, we built down, making all the things we live in underground. A city where there were recycle bins everywhere there was a trashcan so there would be no cause for “lazy trashing.” A city where everything was powered by either solar energy or water turbines. A city where everything was grown in and underground the city naturally and organically. A city where everyone wore their clothes more than once and continued to wear them until they stopped fitting, not until they went ‘out of style.” A city where people could walk anywhere and everywhere. This ideal city would not be very beautiful, but if every city looked like this one, it would be beautiful compared to those around it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and beauty doesn’t have one definition. Something that is beautiful today might not be beautiful tomorrow, and something that would not be beautiful today might be beautiful tomorrow. This idea of “ideal city” is ever-changing, and maybe one day this city full of environmentally-wary ideas and people could exist and be considered truly beautiful.

Sarah B-United States
Comments (1)
  • Catherine B-USA Catherine B-USA Nov. 15, 2012
    Hi Sarah, i totally agree. If every booming city could put in an effort to make themself more green, it would become the new normal. Cities like Houston and many others do not even have a subway system. If these cities could get a subway system this would encourage people not to buy more cars or use more gas. Imagine all the people that go to work in the morning by car- if they could use a mass transit system like a subway, there would be way less cars on the street and way less of a carbon footprint per car. Not to mention the decrease in traffic!

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Brittany W-USA, Nov. 15, 2012

An ideal city may sound nice, but it would be almost impossible to make it perfectly ‘green’. When we think of a city that it ideal- for us and the environment, a more techy landscape is what we have in mind. Machines in our homes that automatically seperate your trash from recycling, transport systems in every house to eliminate cars and solar panels for power. At first glance all these machines appear to be helping us help the environment, but are they really? With all the electricty need, solar panels won’t be enough and we will have to resort to nuclear powerplants or other harmful energy plants to compensate. So, even with all the ideal environment friendly technology you may envision, there are consequences. That is why in my ideal city I would not change how it looks or how it is but rather I would target the people. The only way that a city can be eco friendly is if the people inhabiting it can agree to work towards greener solutions. If we place recycling bins everywhere (much like some european countries) it wouldn’t effect the city if the people don’t utilize them. If we build a solar pannel plant, would the people invest money in the building project? If a greener form of public transportation was built, would people give up there cars and only use the better transport system? It all comes down to how motivated people are as a community. Some ways I could motivate people could start off as just an ad campaign. I could institute recycling bins first, host public events with games and food to raise awareness (public events with many people also helps reduce the electricity used to cook food- plus its great fun to hang with the people in your community) and I would even push to build bike lanes on the streets for those that are willing to really go the extra mile. Even though some additions are needed, many of those things have already begun in some communities. But it truly is your job to do your part in helping out the environment, your community, and the whole world.

See here the recycling habits of countries: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4620041.stm
See how riding bikes may help: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2007/nov/04/global-warming-riding-bikes-would-help-many-ways/

http://www.capewatersolutions.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/recycling.jpg
Brittany W-USA
Comments (8)
  • Brittany W-USA Brittany W-USA Nov. 16, 2012
    Exactly! And targeting children would be important too. Many younger kids don't understand the idea of recycling untill later on in life. If we were to also broadcast to kids then the younger generations would be brought up knowing that they have to be eco-friendly and concious of what they are doing to the environment. It wouldn't hurt either if parents would teach their children when they are little, too.
  • Tiffany D-USA Tiffany D-USA Nov. 19, 2012
    I agree when you say these new machines may require even more energy than traditional options. I think we are just becoming more lazy. These gadgets save time, not energy. You are also correct with your comment about how solar panels may not generate enough energy. They definitely help so we should continue use, but we need to develop another energy source that will not negatively hurt the environment and is more efficient. A few of the comments mention recycling at an earlier age- another great point. Good habits start at an early age. If society was really concerned they would be teaching younger children how to conserve energy. Maybe if we did, the future would be brighter even if we have problems now.
  • Tiffany D-USA Tiffany D-USA Nov. 19, 2012
    I live in Texas, but California has been promoting recycling lately. Thought I would include this..

    http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/735/files/11JRHandbk-Recycling.pdf
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
James Shu, Nov. 15, 2012

Hi, I am James from Taipei Taiwan. I am also a 9th grade student at Dominican International School. I had heard that there is a plan that the government is doing right now. It is a system that you can borrow bicycles from one place and return it at another place. Of course, you need to pay some money but the amount of money you pay will defiantly be less then the amount you need to pay for other transportations, except bus, for a shot distance. By using this new system you can reduce the amount of carbon used by you, exercise at the same time and save time as well. I personally wanted to try it some time but the problem is that there is no stations near my house. If there is a bicycle station in front of my school and another in front of the entrance of the MRT station, then I can save time for going to school.

http://www.youbike.com.tw/home.php
James Shu
Comments (3)
  • Sara B-USA Sara B-USA Nov. 15, 2012
    That is a good system! it would help out the ecosystem buy using less polution because you can ride bikes. It could also help the obesity problem while conserving carbon. This is a very good system. I have recently started to ride bikes more to release my carbon footprint. Riding bikes will also save money because you wont have to pay for as much gas!
  • Colleen C-USA Colleen C-USA Nov. 15, 2012
    I've heard about something like this is Austin, Texas, except they use Smart Cars instead of bikes where you swipe a credit card and use the car to drive to your destination. But I've heard of it being expensive due to the price of gas and the total cost of the car. Bikes, though, would be way more efficient, money-saving, and healthier than cars. And considering bikes can go almost anywhere, one would most likely have more use for one than a car!
  • Brittany W-USA Brittany W-USA Nov. 29, 2012
    This is a cool idea! Bikes are great for the environment, excercise, and your wallet. (or your parent's wallet). I wish that my home town would build bike paths though, because some drivers in texas are really agressive. Also, I read that bike paths would be greated with open arms in houston because people are more gung-ho about green transportation. Colleen, the article I found also says that in houston they are starting a bike sharing program too. James, Sarah, and Colleen, feel free to read it as well. Here's the link.
    http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Build-more-bike-paths-3516803.php

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Eleanor D-USA, Nov. 11, 2012

An ideal green house would be built of adobe. Straw bales can be affordable, good structural material, but are one of the best insulators available. The adobe materials can be placed over them, to provide significant insulation and beauty. The water heater could be an energy efficient instant water heater, so no hot water must be stored or maintained. The roof would be either clay tiles or metal. Clay tiles are made from the earth and can last for many years. They are also a great insulator. However, metal roofs can now be made to look like clay tiles, and will last the lifetime of the home. The roof will also have sky lights with insulated glass that can be opened to exhaust air, and allow breezes to flow throughout the house. Solar panels on the roof can help aid in electrical costs for items like the water heater and appliances. Some eco-friendly floors would be bamboo, polished concrete, or tile. Windows should be put on the north and south sides of the house only, which will receive light all day in both the winter and summer, but will not have the extreme heating. You also need to pick a double-panned, argon-filled window for good insulation. (For more information see source at bottom.) Countertops can be made of either concrete or concrete materials that have glass within them, to make a beautiful finish, that recycles used glass. These things make an adobe house that doesn’t have to be heated or cooled because it is so well insulated. To capture energy for these homes, you could put solar panels on the roof or have geothermal heat pumps.

Sources:

Home Energy Saver.” homeenergysaver.lbl.gov. US Department of Energy, n.d. Web. 11 Nov.
2012. <http: homeenergysaver.lbl.gov=”“>.

World’s Greenest Homes.” Planet Green. Discovery Communicaions, LLC, n.d. Web.

11 Nov. 2012. <http: planetgreen.discovery.com=”” videos=”“ worlds-green-homes=”“/>.

Eleanor D-USA
Comments (1)
  • Brittany W-USA Brittany W-USA Nov. 29, 2012
    Wow, Eleanor you have thought this out very well. This is so cool! Do you really think that if enough people would know about a house like this they would buy it? How much would it cost to build or buy the house? What machines and transport mechanisms will be used to gather all these materials and put them together? Will the overall pollution from those machines outweigh the benefits of the house? I am in no way doubting your house, but I am interested in knowing more details.

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Tiffany Tsou, Nov. 8, 2012

Hi, my name is Tiffany Tsou and I study at Dominican International School in Taipei, Taiwan. I go by MRT (Mass Rapid Transmit) to school every day, and I have realized that it is one of the most used public transportation in our city. It is really convenient to travel around the city by the MRT, and it helps to reduce much of the pollution in our environment. On the other hand, local buses are not being used that widely these days. On my way to school, I can see fleets of buses travelling on the streets, but most of them are barely filled with passengers. Honestly, the government has tried to provide bus stations to most of the places in the city. But why aren’t people encouraged to use them? The most reasonable answer is because most of them prefer driving in their own cars. Then, where is the sense of reducing air pollution? Rather than travelling by cars daily, I think people should intensify the use of public transportations in order to save our environment.

Tiffany Tsou
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