Sourced from Forbes
Today, half of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, that number is expected to increase to two-thirds. More people living in condensed areas means higher amounts of waste, higher resource consumption and higher energy use. As the world’s cities already emit over 70% of carbon emissions, exacerbating the climate crisis, cities need to implement green infrastructure to meet these challenges.
In response to these issues, some city planners and developers have started to become inspired by the circular economy. Circular economies seek to redefine growth through society-wide benefits, incorporating environmentally friendly practices that include minimizing waste and pollution, capitalizing on sustainable resources and the regeneration of natural systems. The goal is to achieve sustainability through renewable resources and zero waste.
These same ideas can be applied to the design of cities and infrastructure, too. In fact, some major cities are already starting to incorporate more natural and sustainable initiatives to combat waste and unsustainable policies. NYC and Copenhagen are among the list of urban hubs applying circular economy tactics to the urban environment, earning them the apt title of “circular cities.” I'm proud to be a part of this trend, too — as president of a New York condominium, my building is the nation's tallest residence with a solar array, which supplements power to residents and reduces our carbon output by over 125,000 pounds annually. We have also gone through green upgrades including sensors that allow for savings on energy and a reduction in greenhouse emissions.
For cities and properties that intend to stay livable into the foreseeable future, these circular operations are quickly becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. Without them, high waste volume and unsustainable resource consumption threaten to destroy the environment and the very cities we live in.
Green Design Mitigates Waste
Designing a truly circular city means building infrastructure that minimizes the negative effects on human health and the environment and solves numerous problems, including stormwater management, heat stress and pollution. Traditional roofs and exteriors are problematic from this perspective because they allow oil, pesticides, chemicals and even animal waste to simply flow freely into waterways, causing pollution and increasing the chances of human infection.