Building the Ecological City

Building the Ecological City

by R R White

Hardcover

$270.00

Overview

If the modern city is a monument to anything, it is a monument to man's inefficiency. Our cities are plagued by problems of congestion, waste, and pollution that deplete natural resources, damage the environment and reduce the quality of life of citizens.

The irony is, as this fascinating new study shows, that it doesn't have to be like this.

Building the ecological city describes the problems we face and puts forward solutions to the question – how can we build cities that provide an acceptable standard of living for their inhabitants without depleting the ecosystems and bio-geochemical cycles on which they depend?

The book suggests and examines the concept of urban metabolism in which the city is characterized as a set of interlinked systems of physical flows linking air, land and water. A series of chapters looks at the production and management of waste, energy use and air emissions, water supply and management, urban land use and air quality issues. Within the broader context of climate change, the book then considers a range of practical strategies for restoring the health of urban ecosystems from the restoration of 'brownfield' land to productive use through to improving air quality and making better use of water resources

Building the ecological city is a major contribution to better urban management and planning for both citizens and the environment and is an invaluable sourcebook for urban and national planners, architects and environmental agencies.


  • Authoritative review of the environmental impact of modern cities
  • Seeks to identify a viable model for urban living in relation to all the resources – land, air and water, upon which cities depend but currently tend to deplete or destroy
  • Essential reading for urban planners, architects, local and national government officers, environmental agencies worldwide and students of ecology and environmental sciences

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781855735316
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Publication date: 02/22/2002
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

About the Author

Rodney R. White is Professor of Geography and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

Preface x

Acronyms xiii

Other abbreviations xiv

Part I Introduction

1 Cities for the new millennium 3

1.1 Cities as a metaphor for Western society 3

1.2 The urban environment and human health 10

1.3 The urban management challenge 13

1.4 How to use this book 24

1.5 Websites 27

1.6 Further reading 27

Part II Metabolism: how urban ecosystems work

2 It isn't waste until you waste it 31

2.1 Land use and urban metabolism 31

2.2 Sources and types of solid waste 34

2.3 Collection and treatment options 38

2.4 Improving our management of the solid waste stream 41

2.5 Conclusion 44

2.6 Websites 45

2.7 Further reading 46

3 Energy and emissions to the air 47

3.1 Emissions to the air 47

3.2 Cities and energy 48

3.3 Air masses and air movements 51

3.4 Energy sources 53

3.5 Energy uses 56

3.6 Energy users 61

3.7 Conclusion 62

3.8 Websites 63

3.9 Further reading 63

4 Cities and the hydrological cycle 64

4.1 The hydrological cycle 64

4.2 Urbanisation and water use 68

4.3 Urban impacts on the hydrological cycle 69

4.4 Urbanisation and water management 71

4.5 Climate, climate change and water supply 73

4.6 Conclusion 76

4.7 Websites 77

4.8 Further reading 77

Part III Pathology: what's gone wrong?

5 Urban land: asset or liability? 81

5.1 Paying for the past 81

5.2 Contaminated land and urban blight 83

5.3 Landfills - yesterday's solution 88

5.4 Problematic building materials 91

5.5 Underground storage tanks 93

5.6 Subsidence 94

5.7 Conclusion 94

5.8 Websites 95

5.9 Further reading 95

6 The air we breathe and the climate we are changing 97

6.1 The issues and the impacts 97

6.2 The mounting cost of poor health 100

6.3 Air quality management 102

6.4 Regional and stratospheric impacts 104

6.5 The changing climate 105

6.6 Living with higher temperatures 107

6.7 Extreme weather events 108

6.8 Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the city 110

6.9 Conclusion 111

6.10 Websites 112

6.11 Further reading 112

7 The water we use and abuse 114

7.1 New challenges for water management 114

7.2 Water shortages 116

7.3 River basin floods 117

7.4 Urban floods 119

7.5 Health and water quality 122

7.6 The impact of climate change 124

7.7 Conclusion 127

7.8 Websites 128

7.9 Further reading 128

Part IV Health: restoring urban ecosystem health

8 Restoring urban land to productive use 131

8.1 Reducing our ecological footprint 131

8.2 Reducing throughput 132

8.3 Density, proximity and variety 136

8.4 Improving the modal split 138

8.5 Redevelopment and reuse of brownfields 140

8.6 Energy from waste and biomass 142

8.7 Naturalising urban systems 143

8.8 Conservation of historic buildings and districts 144

8.9 Conclusion 145

8.10 Websites 146

8.11 Further reading 146

9 Clearing the air 147

9.1 An integrated approach 147

9.2 Energy conservation 153

9.3 Fuel switching 158

9.4 The transportation challenge 160

9.5 Conclusion 163

9.6 Websites 163

9.7 Further reading 164

10 Water - our most precious resource 165

10.1 Integrated watershed planning 165

10.2 Planning for climate change 168

10.3 Facing the urban flood issue 170

10.4 Water supply and energy use 172

10.5 Water treatment 173

10.6 Demand management 175

10.7 Conclusion 175

10.8 Websites 176

10.9 Further reading 176

Part V Conclusions

11 International issues 181

11.1 International aspects of human impacts on the biosphere 181

11.2 Health and climate change 183

11.3 Implications of the termination of the fossil fuel development model 186

11.4 Potential for cities to lead the way 188

11.5 International urban co-operation 189

11.6 Emissions trading - the lure and the danger 191

11.7 Conclusion 192

11.8 Websites 193

11.9 Further reading 193

12 Do we have the means to build the ecological city? 194

12.1 An ecological city: what does it really mean? 194

12.2 Urban lessons learned from recent extreme weather events 196

12.3 Case study: American cities at risk 200

12.4 Achieving what is already within our reach 201

12.5 Changing gear, or moving the game up to another level 204

12.6 Getting ahead of the problem 205

12.7 Conclusion 205

12.8 Websites 207

12.9 Further reading 207

Appendix 1 Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability (the Aalborg Charter) 209

Appendix 2 Final Nagoya Declaration 215

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