Urban Design for Sustainability

The way we build cities can have significant impacts on public health and equity.

1 minute read

November 16, 2023, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

In an article in Colorado Newsline, Julia Perbohner calls attention to an “often overshadowed” tool in the fight against climate change: urban design.

Proper urban planning can act as both a shield and sword against climate change, mitigating its effects while adapting to its challenges. The potency of urban green spaces in providing essential ecosystem services — from regulating urban temperatures and water flows to tempering environmental extremes — cannot be emphasized enough.

Perbohner explains that “By integrating thermoregulation elements, such as pergolas, shade-providing trees, and light-colored pavements, we can combat the menacing urban heat island effect.” The way cities are built can reduce the impacts of heat, direct stormwater runoff more efficiently, and improve air quality and public health.

The article notes that policymakers must not be blind to potential displacement. “Yet, as we march towards this sustainable design utopia, a critical watchword must be equity. The beauty of design lies in its universality; it should uplift, not displace.”

Monday, November 13, 2023 in Colorado Newsline

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