How do we incorporate a sustainable urban design development in the community plan with the objective to: Propose social elements with community rehabilitation parks for community upbringing....

How do we incorporate a sustainable urban design development in the community plan with the objective to:

  • Propose social elements with community rehabilitation parks for community upbringing.
  • Protect intact Greenland areas for further deployment or recreation.
  • Integrate compact mix-use developments to place a greater emphasis on active transportation.
Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sustainable development of a community is understood as the practice of replacing resources with new resources so that continual productivity or availability is uninterrupted without degrading the resource capital and environment. Sustainable development is defined by the 1987 UN report Our Common Future as:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, Wikipedia)

The United Nations Charter the Millennium Declaration specifies categories of sustainable development, which are:

  • economic development
  • social development
  • environmental protection

These principles are incorporated in the concepts of community parkland, intact natural biotic greenland environment areas, mix-use development and options for transit and active mobility.

One aspect of sustainable development is illustrated by the Tianjin Qiaoyuan Park in Tianjin City, China. There, beautiful, lush greenland areas are honeycombed together with pleasing paths that are designed for active mobility. Such parks are part of the Tianjin Eco-City project for a sustainable city undertaken jointly by Tianjin, China, and Singapore governments. Their project, which is massive and aimed at 350,000 residents, includes social development where people of all economic classes are in proximity to each other, rather than segregated in slums and suburbs, with barrier-free access for all to educational, cultural and social interaction; environmental protection with extensive areas of protected greenlands; economic development with specialized waste management and efficient resource management.  

Five Cornell University graduate students recent won the 2015 Better Philadelphia Challenge award of $5,000 for developing a sustainable plan for Philadelphia that incorporates vertical agricultural farming and urban agriculture, among other elements, to attain "food security and flood resiliency" for Philadelphia over the next hundred years.  

With these examples in mind, for community development or redevelopment, as the Oregon Park Services explains, community rehabilitation parks will be designed to minimize the anthropogenic impact of development to sensitive sites and to protect and enhance habitats of wildlife and flora. Reuse of rain water, grey-water irrigation, minimization and recycling of waste will be part of the design.

Greenlands will emerge from the protected habitats upon which the impact of development will have been minimized or will be planted in communities that are being redeveloped. Recreational areas and active mobility areas will be incorporated into the design in such a way as to facilitate barrier-free access and participation while encouraging use and participation.

Compact mix-use development will develop along similar lines to those in Tianjin where housing developments occupy dispersed clusters where similar community resources are available in each cluster and where each cluster provides housing, shopping, business functions, recreation and entertainment for all levels of residents. This approach to development is envisioned to reduce socioeconomic exclusion and promote community health and welfare. Within clusters, active transportation, otherwise called active mobility, and accessible, efficient public transportation will be readily within reach.

[Image: Tianjin Qiaoyuan Park, Tianjin City, China. Image credit: The Adaptation Palettes, Tianjin City, China / Turenscape and Peking University Graduate School of Landscape Architecture.]

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