Worldwide, fifty percent of the population lives in urbanized areas. This figure is eighty percent in the United States and the United Nations predicts that this figure will increase to sixty percent worldwide by the year 2020 (UN, 1998). With this amount of humans densely clustered together, it is evident that there must be changes in urban areas towards environmental sustainability.
What is the problem? (Reading by Hardy, Environmental Problems in an Urbanizing World)
Urban areas across the world are facing declining environmental conditions that are having adverse results on human health and the natural environments surrounding the city. Cities in the developed nations are experiencing different problems tha in the It is apparent that at the current growth rate, cities fail to be ecologically sustainable.
a) Air pollution Air pollution covering downtown Los Angeles
Smog cloaking the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
b) Water pollution
The Los Angeles River
c) Land use and habitat loss
e) resources/energy consumption
f) Large amounts of waste products
How are municipal governments addressing these problems? (Handout on Portland Office of Sustainable Development)
Many urban planners and government officials are beginning to realize that cities have a large impact on the natural environment and are implementing new strategies, policies, and solutions to reduce the strain on the natural environment. These officials and planners are focusing on innovative, sustainable strategies for transportation, buildings, land use, waste disposal and municipal policy to diminish pollution and environmental decay. Portland, Oregon is the United States’ premier green city, implementing revolutionary tactics for a sustainable future.
A panoramic view of Portland, Oregon
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