In City, P.D. Smith observes that contemporary urban populations are steadily growing, and he predicts that by the middle of this century the majority of humankind will be living in urban areas that he terms "eco-cities." Some recent trends like urban homesteading, community gardens, and vertical farming provide a glimpse of what futuristic ecologically sustainable cities are like, and they are far from the polluted, smoggy worlds that are traditionally associated with cities.
While past generations have often perceived rural living to be an environmentally friendly practice, recent studies from economists like Edward Glaeser of Harvard University and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) like London's International Institute for Environment and Development suggest otherwise. Urban life, with high-density dwellings, public transportation, and short distribution routes for goods and services, is the least ecologically harmful way of living. Interestingly, recent studies in China have also found that city dwellers, on average, tend to be more concerned about their environmental impact compared to those who live in less urban areas.
You can get a sense of just how much your own neighborhood affects your impact on the planet by calculating your ecological footprint at www.myfootprint.org or www.footprintnetwork.org.
Image of Hong Kong by Diliff.
This article is from the June 28, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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