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by Maria Rafeeq

Goettingen, Germany

Before discussing in our blog about, “Practical sustainability for individuals in large cities”, let me quickly explain a sustainable city. A sustainable city is an ideal city, a heaven on earth that has almost total control over its input and output. It practically demands less and wastes less. Sustainability is the capability of an environment to endure and to intact its fecundity and diversification with time. The criteria of a sustainable city naturally cover all of its environmental elements like water, energy sources, waste material, and air pollution.

Sustainable development or in the broader version, practical sustainability, is different from sustainability. Sustainable development allows human involvement up to a level where it does not insult the ecological balance of a natural system. The paradox of practical sustainability can be ecology, economics, culture, and politics.

Since ancient times, the city has been a fascinating and enchanting living place where everyone is supposed to have the best health facilities, dream jobs, and business opportunities, top-class education, and much more. It is estimated that 68% (two-third) of the world´s population will be living in cities by 2050 as compared to 54% in 2016.

Cities pave the way for future life to grow. But to get it on more than an ad hoc way, it is the right time to develop new criteria and ideas to merge sustainability with practice at the individual, local and global levels to save our planet.

Sustainability in practice for individuals in large cities

Cities are becoming more vulnerable day by day in terms of climate change with over-population and over-pollution. But parallel to it, specimens of practicable sustainability to lower the risk of climate crisis also exist. These examples are determined to use renewable energy resources instead of conventional fossil fuel. They have designed many green plans and projects and set their goals on clean energy and sustainability with low to zero-emission of greenhouse gases. Following are some of the model cities.

Practical sustainability in city Copenhagen, Denmark

The daily practice of practical sustainability measures has made Copenhagen one of the most sustainable and greenest cities in the world.

The Copenhagen City Council, in 2009, designed a plan called CPH 2025 Climate Plan, to achieve the defined goals mainly within areas of energy dissipation and generation to keep the fauna and flora of the city intact. Let's have an insight into some key features of the plan:

Lowering the dissipation of energy

One of the best ways to reduce energy consumption is the introduction of a big energy-saving unit instead of commonly used small entities. The giant unit is big enough to fulfill the energy requirements at the territory or sector level.

An energy-efficient district heating system has been installed in the city that hooks up almost all-ordinary, individual, and innovative cooling system. 70% of energy is kept stored that was otherwise consumed for running of conventional cooling systems.

  1. Advancements in the transport sector

Automobile emission is a major issue of air pollution, especially in large cities. Copenhagen has also made progress to combat the release of CO2 and to improve the health issues of its citizens. Supercycle highways and bike lanes are constructed around the city. 45 percent of the population drives daily on these pathways.

  1. Harbor management

The proper management and cleaning of the harbor have made the city a paradise for individuals with new job opportunities, advancements in local business and hence has improved the quality of life by producing more income.

Furthermore, green solutions have already developed at a broader level and the residents are practicing them. These solutions have played a vital role to reduce CO2.

Practical sustainability in San Francisco, California

Smart cities have the potential to improve the quality of life while keeping the environmental conditions in balance. They handle the advanced technologies intelligently to make the full use of their resources in a cost- and energy-saving manner.

The tech-core is now a smart city

San Francisco is a tech-core and a place of some worldly well-known businesses like Airbnb, Salesforce, Uber, and Twitter. It has shown its skills in clean energy management and sustainability fields. Melanie Nutter, San Francisco´s Environment director says, San Francisco is now going to become a smart city.

Water conservation

The residents have set an example of water conservation. On average, they use 49 gallons of water as compared to 100 gallons throughout the California state.

Zero-emission transport services

The city´s transportation system is equally eco-friendly. Buses with the word “hybrid-electric" and "zero-emission” can be seen everywhere. Maximum MUNI buses and light rails are zero emissions.

Practical sustainability in city Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is the first major North American city that depicts thelowest release of greenhouse gases per person. It has aimed at sustainability by obtaining 100% of its energy from renewable resources by 2050.

There is still a long list of small and large cities that are committed to using renewable energy resources. They are eager to reach their target of practical sustainability for everyone.


Worldwide, more than 90% of cities are located along a coast. Their locality makes them accessible to extreme weather conditions like floods, increased sea levels after the melting of giant glaciers, hurricanes, and cyclones. Such natural disasters are a big threat and can clean sweep finance, investments, and the economy of a city within no time.

Therefore, it is time to open our eyes and to aim sustainability that is practicable at individual and global level as we have already overused and abused the natural resources. The positive aspect of this crisis is its realization around the world. Now the practical plans about sustainability are being introduced and acted upon in the urban areas of the world.

Are you ready to keep a plant as a pet??? Please comment.

References and citations">Sustainable Cities: Definition, Design & Planning</a>

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