Sustainable Cities: How Urban Fabrics Theory Can Help Sustainable Development

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Title: Sustainable Cities: How Urban Fabrics Theory Can Help Sustainable Development
Author: Newman, Peter; Thomson, Giles; Helminen, Ville; Kosonen, Leo; Terämä, Emma
Publisher: Finnish Environment Institute
Date: 2019
Belongs to series: Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 39/2019
ISBN: 978-952-11-5078-4
ISSN: 1796-1726
Abstract: This paper investigates how influential urban planning is in delivering sustainable cities. We discuss the impact of different urban fabrics – walking, transit and automobile urban fabric - on cities’ ecological footprints and demonstrate it via case studies. We show significant advantages in terms of resource efficiency that walking and transit urban fabric offer over automobile fabric when it comes to urban metabolism. The basic raw material demand of walking fabric has the potential to improve urban efficiencies almost thirty times over the conventional automobile urban fabric in the same city. Also, combining urban fabrics with the Finnish national travel survey revealed clear differences in mobility patterns and related CO2 emissions across urban areas and urban fabrics: walking and transit fabrics support and encourage least carbon intensive modes of mobility. In informal settlements across the globe, with many of the qualities of the walking urban fabric, community cohesion must be safeguarded when considering infrastructure development for effective urban metabolism and supporting the SDG’s. The differences in urban metabolism with urban fabric suggest that cities can make major contributions to sustainable development through urban planning and design that respects and regenerates walking and transit urban fabrics. The paper also shows how this approach can assist the emerging regenerative cities agenda.

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