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Living a Sustainable Life: Dongtan City Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 13th, 2022


During the past few decades, there have been several scholarly arguments concerning the universal dilemma of great importance for the future of our planet earth (Correa, P.13). The most significant discussion topics have been on population growth, climate change, food shortages, economic inequality, ecological destruction, and greenhouse emissions. Despite the current civilization apprehension of these problems, attempts to understand their effect on living a sustainable life and there has been hardly any design of urban or rural systems (Correa, P.13).

Population and Life Sustainability

There was robust population growth in the 20th century due to improved food production, sanitation, and medicine, which improved the sustainability of human life. The human population grew rapidly while food production only grew in small amounts (Kunstler, P.6). Therefore the population growth faced severe and predetermined natural restrictions. We are already experiencing the effects of hyper-population growth and the use of fossil fuel in the form of environmental devastation (Kunstler, P.8).

The present is a result of our past actions and therefore the future should be the projection of what we presently do or avoid doing. Great responsibility lies in us whose lives have been affected by the unprecedented experience of land destroyed by the growing human population. We require a clear-cut vision and several goals to be achieved indefinite accuracy (Correa, 13).

Our current illustrations, thoughts, and our valuable modern belief structures will yield ecological flexibility, ease of form, and difference in small and large development growth and its reasonable solutions to problems affecting our modern society. Living a sustainable life is not a new idea but a hint of good things to come. In our current dilemma, every flamboyant theory of sustainable life on the planet seems to be failing while people are finding themselves in an extraordinary environmental emptiness (Correa. P.14). Because of this, the human population is beginning to realize that the good practices of the past do not solve the immediate problems of life sustainability. What used to be viewed as important technological or social progress are just less important tools that are inappropriate to living a sustainable life.

Creating Sustainable Communities

The usage of cheap fossil fuel and climate change must be transformed for the human race to curb the environmental degradation crisis and sustain their life. We have to create the future by taking immediate action to reverse global climate change (Correa, P.15). To achieve life sustainability, we need to find answers to the causes of our present crisis and in what ways we can restore our community order without causing further destruction to the integrity of our environment (Correa, P.15).

General life sustainability has its deep environmental roots threatening our existing society. Nature was ruined by the past human generations leaving us today to live in an exhausted ecological condition (Correa, 17). There is a growing human population that is decreasing biologically productive space through overconsumption of resources. Many people don’t have the resources to grow their food conversely, the profit-making agricultural technology is generating millions of tons of harmful waste, which poison the environment including the crops they are growing not sparing the water sources. Overusing water has seen the water tables running low leading to growing desertification as well as a scarcity of drinking water and inadequate sanitation (Correa, P.17).

The global demand has exceeded the capacity of the natural system to produce what is needed to sustain the current living standards. Society is meeting its current demands through uncontrolled utilization of natural resources leading to their decline and subsequent collapse. The radical transformation of the existing production technologies and community development methods will be the only complete solution to the current dilemma (Correa, P19). It is time that food, energy, water, and materials for clothing and sheltering be produced in an environmentally friendly way; an environment where precise carbon rationing is brought in to reduce travel volumes while rising their demand for mass transportation. Finally create communities where common sense, stability, class, and beauty are their main focus. Any ecological change is cumulative and disastrous (Correa, P.20).

The global warming we are currently experiencing is the result of greenhouse gases emitted in the early years. The current generation is bound to build a new world with a closed-loop system of production. A practical production model that gives demonstrates the importance of diverse biological processes where there is local production that can be reused, recycled, or returned to nature to complete its natural cycle (Correa, P.23). Create an environment of small communities where nature is highly valued imitating the natural environment where food can be simply processed and produced locally. A generation that aims to live a sustainable life where there is the use of renewable sources of energy, multi-modal public transportation systems, a democratic world with simple prosperity, and natural entrepreneurship (Correa, P.23).

To achieve all the above goals, we have to set up a system to self-support the community that can settle people in villages so that they can help one another in one way or another. Make the communities work together with a common goal (Correa, P.24). The construction of settlements and urban villages should be based on the traditional building methods, which require regional building materials that are easily obtainable and assembled for constructing houses. This will help us to overcome the post-industrial era in which have seen environmental degradation since the emergency of the industrial revolution (Correa, P.24). Industrial growth is the main source of pollution on the planet though; industrial activities can be less harmful if they are located in areas that do not affect the population. Factories should have a mechanism of treating their waste before disposal to the rivers, which provide water for domestic and irrigation (Lengen, P.62).

To transform the future into a sustainable living environment, the human population must accept its destructive behaviors and change to environmentally friendly practices for the better. Change is not easy but to achieve sustainable living, we need to shift our consciousness and work for the highest good of everyone (Correa, P.24). The sustainability revolution is simply changing our roles on the planet for sustainable living. This has seen people replacing diesel generators with small-scale hydro generators. We should improvise ways in which we can tap our local streams to produce clean water and affordable electricity to sustain our communities (Edwards & Orr, P.1). By introducing the society literacy curricula in our institutions, we will be able to achieve ecological health, bring back co-housing building projects to restore community ties and the large groups in the communities will work together in the restoration of the environment (Edwards & Orr, P.2). The sustainability revolution is spreading fast and its impact is shaping everything from where we live and work to the foods we eat. This is evident as there is an increase in hybrid cars, wind turbines, and even solar panel installations (Edwards & Orr, P.2).

The sustainability revolution gives an option, which supports economic viability and ecological health through modifying the human consumption patterns and implementing a more reasonable social structure. In facilitating the sustainability revolution, personal computers and the internet are playing a significant role to ensure there is the frequency distribution of information through media outlets (Edwards & Orr, P.6). There is a need for more innovative projects such as coming up with renewable energy, free collateral loans for the poor to improve their living standards. The worldwide awareness of issues like climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction requires a combined effort by all nations to resolve. The sustainability revolution developed as a reaction to the industrial revolution’s degradation of the environment and human well-being. Some governments came up with environmental programs such as the clean air act, clean water act, and endangered species act to prevent the damaging effects of the industrial revolution (Edwards & Orr, P.6).

Sufficient planning of urban centers must be well-thought-out and construction of the streets laid out in a way that requires the least amount of earth displacement with good drainage systems. Urban centers should be constructed in areas with the superb landscape and pleasant breezes having easy access to the public. Factories and other substantial activities that have changes to the environment should be located in less interesting areas. It is important as it will prevent the concentration of stores in a commercial area (Lengen, P.63). Conservation of forests and trees, in general, is very important. The trees provide shades and their roots protect the soil besides forests acting as water catchments. Before designing houses, we must assess the local climatic conditions to ensure that the materials that will be used can stand the climatic conditions of that area (Lengen, P.64). As Beatley and Wheeler state that there must be a balance between city and nature, a more equitable society, and sustainable economic growth (Beatley & Wheeler, P.8).

Developing a Green City (Example of Dongtan City)

China has accomplished great economic development raising most of its people above the poverty line. It is has become an industrial powerhouse tremendously. Conversely, that development has coasted their environment terribly. China is becoming the most polluted country in the world. There are massive plans to tackle china’s emerging crisis through green buildings, green cars, and the use of wind power and solar among many others (Steffen, Para.1).

The green city of Dongtan is set to be ready for its first residents by the year 2050 (popular science, P.81). Dongtan was designed to be an ecosystem city with its planning done through integrated thinking. Transportation and health care were the main considerations of its design. In this city people will mainly walk, there will be less pollution and health care will be more affordable. The buildings were designed in a way that will save on air conditioning. Every block will be designed in response to china’s environmental predicament. The planning team of Dongtan city is comprised of economists, water engineers, graphic designers, property consultants, and a philosopher (popular science, P.82). “The starter section of Dongtan city will be made of three separate villages which will be bisected by waterways, walking and biking paths. All this will be surrounded by public transport loops and green space (popular science, P.82)”.

Water taxis will use their canals and only vehicles using electricity or hydrogen will be allowed into the city with no sound pollution or poisonous emissions (Popular science, P.83). Residents will approximately take three minutes to a park and less than seven minutes from any public transportation to their place of stay. Streetlights will be solar-powered and wastewater will be treated and recycled. Dongtan will run on renewable energy that will come from a plant powered by rice husks (popular science, P.83). The plant will burn plant substance to drive a steam turbine that will produce electricity (Popular science, P.83). The construction of a twin water supply network will enable residents to get access to clean drinking water and treated wastewater for their household use. Trees will be planted to enable air conditioning, invite cooling summer breezes and block winter winds. The building of Dongtan city takes place five times faster than in China. It will be responsibly developed as an eco-island (Popular Science, P.84). Dongtan city example is an illustration of the separation of economic development from environmental degradation.

Works Cited

Correa, Jaime. Self-Sufficient Urbanism: A Vision of Contraction for the Non-Distant Future. North Carolina: Lulu.Com, 2008, Print.

Edwards, Andres. & David, Orr. The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005, Print.

Kunstler, James. The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twentieth Century. New York, NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005, Print.

Lengen, Johan. The Barefoot Architect: A Handbook for Green Building. Bolinas, CA: Shelter Publications, 2008, Print.

Wheeler, Stephen. & Beatley, Timothy. The Sustainable Urban Development Reader. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004, Print.

Popular Science. The future of the Environment is Now. New York, NY: Bonnier Corporation, 2007, Print.

Steffen, Alex. World Changing: Bright Green: Dongtan and Greening China. Worldchanging, CC: 2006. Web.

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