By Katja Räsänen
Building for Future Generations
Humanity is running up against the limits of a finite planet. We are experiencing rapid global climate destabilization and the endangerment of entire ecosystems. A great percentage of the world’s population lives in cities and the amount keeps on growing. The use of cars and natural resources has skyrocketed and we are now at a point of great crisis with the way we live.
These major life-threatening global environmental problems demand a reconstruction of our way of life. Seeing as the way we live is linked to the way we build and use resources, instead of trying to improve our outdated infrastructure, it needs to be redesigned to suit the finite capacity of our planet.
Arcology is a combination of ecology and architecture. It is an architectural design for densely populated areas and is also known as an eco-city. Arcologies or eco-cities are cities that are ecologically healthy. The aim of the design of these cities is to have the smallest ecological footprint and pollute as little possible. The idea is to meet the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It provides its citizens with food, water and power. Other important concepts to consider are: using land efficiently, composting used materials, recycling waste to produce energy and efficient water use
Ecological cities are achieved through various ways. They use various green technologies to ensure a clean footprint. The energy is acquired by using renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal energy and by using bio-gas created from sewage. The need for energy is reduced, for example, by reducing the need for air-conditioning, which is a massive energy demand. This is achieved by using proper insulation, natural ventilation systems, and green spaces which should cover at least 20% of the city’s surface. Green roofs are green spaces on the roofs of buildings, which create a natural insulation for the building and a habitat for wildlife.
Eco-cities have an emphasis on the close proximity of things, thus reducing the need for vehicles. Also, improving public transport is an important issue to consider. The optimal solution would, of course, be car-free zones and zero-emission transport by using electric cars.
Changing already existing strong beliefs of how humanity should live and build is difficult. There is not one solution for all our problems; the solution requires experts from many fields to come together and create a practical vision for a sustainable and restorative human presence on this planet.