Sustainability in the World Today
Chattanooga Aquarium (photo courtesy of Narayan Sengupta)
Chattanooga is located near the Tennessee-Georgia border, and is the fourth largest city in Tennessee. It is well known for its beautiful scenery, eye-pleasing architectural design, and most affordable housing plan in the country. The whole city is located right beside the Tennessee River.
In Chattanooga, there are walkways that lead from downtown, to almost any part of the city. There are also electric buses which have no emissions so that the air is kept clean. People can park their cars, and ride by bus to their destinations, which significantly reduces downtown traffic. Museums, cave tours, civil war history and hang-gliding are just a few of the things that keep visitors busy. Chattanooga is also home to the Tennessee Aquarium and there are four colleges in the city. These are just a few facts about this very amazing city. Chattanooga is a very sustainable city today and is well positioned to continue to be so in the future.
There is a lot more that you can learn about Chattanooga! Click on any of the following links:
Curitiba, Brazil (photo from picfindr.com)
Curitiba, Brazil, is currently ranked as one of the world’s most sustainable communities. The entire city was carefully planned, and the city growth has continued to increase since its establishment, in the mid 1960’s. Their mayor has a 90% approval rating and has used many innovative approaches to win the honor of having others coming to study his city. Curitiba’s planners have worked to make it economically sustainable. Here are some of the things that they have done:
Curitiba has a very unique traffic system. Since their public transportation system works so well, only one out of three people choose to own cars. Roads and highways have designated uses. The roads are laid out in concentric circles with other roads radiating out like a spider web. Some lanes are just for cars, some for buses only, and some for both cars and buses. This allows buses to take their passengers to destinations without as much traffic holdup. As a result, there is much less congestion. Local people spend only about ten percent of their yearly income on transportation.
Curitiba has been laid out so that most areas are accessible to pedestrians. Again, this thins out traffic. Since people can walk instead of drive, they are able to shop in town without having to find a place to park after each stop. Storeowners have found that they are making more money now that most of the city is available to pedestrians. Curitiba has also been busy trying to make the whole city bike accessible and plans to build 150 KM of bike paths to connect the various sections of the city and along the river banks and railway lines.
Wind turbines South Australia (photo from www.flickr.com)
Adelaide is the first city in Australia to take advantage of a 75 million dollar grant to become a solar city. This is paid for partly by the grant and partly by the city itself. It has a goal of having zero net greenhouse emissions in buildings by 2012 and in transportation by 2020. It plans to install solar panels on museums, art galleries, libraries, and schools. There are also wind turbine installations planned. They are also planning to convert old land fills into recycling facilities by 2010. Adelaide is looking forward to increasing renewable energy use up to 15% by 2014. This plan was initiated by Herbert Girardet, an urban ecologist, writer, and documentary maker and it is called “Adelaide Green City Program”. He made 33 recommendations, and 30 of them have been adopted by the city. There is a measure to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. They have a 5 star rating system, and the goal is to improve the rating of each building by at least 1 star. The agency pays for half of the cost of the audit, while the owners pay for the other half, and the cost of the repairs. They had a competition to draw up designs what they call “Eco housing”. These are to be affordable inner city housing. The winning design incorporated such features as solar power and evaporative coolers. It saved water by using gray water and rain water for flushing toilets, landscape watering, and washing cars. They have also planted 1 million trees to absorb part of the 25 million tons of carbon dioxide released each year. The goal is to reach 5 million trees. In addition, the whole country has a law that requires the people to use only florescent light bulbs. These bulbs use only ¼ of the electricity that the standard light bulbs do. Adelaide is well on its way to becoming a solar city.