Global warming couldn’t be any more in the world’s spotlight and with the recent fires in the Amazon causing a public outcry, cities are looking for ways that they can change their habits.
While climate change has been the focus in governments for many years now, helped along by protestors and public interest, how are smaller councils in the UK’s cities taking positive steps?
While every council is different, there are a few blanket areas that every city can work towards. From more green spaces to better education, here are just some of the ways that our cities are aiming to become more environmentally friendly.
Transport within the city
It’s no great surprise to learn that transport is one of the biggest factors restricting cities from becoming more environmentally friendly. While many cities are looking to change their travel infrastructure, a lot of city planners are working towards sustainable alternatives too.
For example, trains to places like Luton are being improved to make for better connections to the airport and surrounding areas. Things like rail improvements are crucial to UK cities as public transport is the best way to get both to and from these larger areas. With an inflated population, including tourists, cities need to work on their public transport in order to stop needless driving which of course, emits more emissions.
Cities are endeavouring to improve bicycle routes and lanes as well as the introduction of trams to keep pollution under control. Some cities, like Leeds, have implemented a Clean Air Charging Zone to encourage businesses in the city centre to transition to less polluting vehicles to avoid daily charges.
Parks and green spaces
It is expected that by the year 2050, 75% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas such as cities. This is, of course, a big concern for cities as CO2 levels will inevitably rise. To combat this, planners need to create and invest in more green areas, such as parks. Urban parks can often be thought of as the lungs of a city, restoring a balance to the extra strain on the local environment.
Not only do these green spaces provide important counter-effects to human living, but they’re also great for individuals wellbeing too. Having an open area with trees and grass gives residents a chance to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Better education on the topic
Ultimately, all these bigger changes will become the responsibility of younger generations. Generation X is expected to swoop in and provide innovative solutions to the world’s climate problems and this can be linked to their education.
Cities have made climate change part of the national curriculum with every school having to teach their classes about the devasting future of our world. Because of this, it has instilled a sense of activism that has given younger generations the environmentally friendly morals that are needed to bring about change.
This is hoped to continue until eventually, every citizen feels an obligation to live their life in a greener and more sustainable way.
Denser urban living areas
A lot of us feel that every time we enter our nearest city, there’s a new skyscraper going up and you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking this. Over recent years, it has become apparent that instead of expanding cities outwards, it’s better to condense and built upwards.
This saves crucial green land nearer the city centres which can remain just as they are, green. By continuing to build within the city area means less disruption to local land, as there’s no need for new roads, pipes and other such infrastructure.
While there is undoubtedly still a long way to go before we can claim we are living sustainably, cities are taking actionable steps towards responsible planning. With the tunnel-vision focus being on retaining green spaces, we can hope that the future of UK cities will be both cleaner and greener and more environmentally friendly.