Sustainable urban infrastructure
Sustainable urban infrastructure, also called sustainable municipal infrastructure in Canada, is an infrastructure that facilitates a place or regions progress towards the goal of sustainable living. Attention is paid to technological and government policy which enables urban planning for sustainable architecture and initiatives that promote sustainable agriculture.
According to the College of Engineering and Applied Science of the University of Colorado Denver, urban infrastructure refers to the engineered systems (water, energy, transport, sanitation, information) that make up a city. Challenges resulting from increasing population growth generated a need for sustainable infrastructure that is high performing, cost-effective, resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly.
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Roadside and urban infrastructures such as signposts, bollards and street furniture are prone to impact from vehicles and damage resulting in ever increasing costs associated with maintenance. " We are in the midst of global infrastructure crisis. Infrastructure worldwide is deteriorating and needs to be replaced or enhanced. Existing public funding sources are inadequate to meet the need, but the problem is more than money — What we believe is required is a broad, robust infrastructure life cycle perspective." Deloitte Research. Closing the Infrastructure Gap. Washington, D.C., Deloitte Research.
New self-healing technology protects surrounding paving and foundations from damage when items of infrastructure are impacted, reducing maintenance and improving the sustainability of urban developments. Self-healing developments result in Zero waste and Zero landfill from maintenance on items of urban infrastructure for the life of the development.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the planning process of sustainable design can lead to the development of a community that is ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable. The design emphasis for a sustainable urban infrastructure is on localization and sustainable living. The aim is to reduce individual's ecological footprint according to the principles of sustainable development in areas with a high population density.
The criteria for what can be included in this kind of urban environment varies from place to place, given differences in existing infrastructure and built form, climate and availability of local resources or talents.
Generally speaking the following could be considered sustainable urban infrastructure:
- public transport networks
- Distributed generation and integrated energy demand management initiatives and programs
- high efficiency buildings and other development constraints such as only permitting the construction of green buildings and sustainable habitats with energy-efficient landscaping.
- connected green spaces and wildlife corridors
- Low impact development practices to protect water resources.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Several organizations in Canada related to the FCM InfraGuide project, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Infrastructure Canada, National Research Council of Canada, and Canadian Public Works Association, seek to achieve sustainability in municipal infrastructure especially large scale urban infrastructure, they advocate environmental protocols and inclusion of ecological and social indicators and factors in decision making at the earliest possible stage. There is little focus yet on sustainable rural infrastructure though this is a stated goal of the project, as is spreading it to achieve rural development in developing nations.
- municipal decision making and investment planning
- potable water supply
- stormwater and waste water especially minimizing the distance that such water travels to be treated and reused
- roads and sidewalks and their integration with transit systems to achieve smoother flow of people
- environmental protocols and multi-discipline practices to ensure they are respected, e.g. green procurement.
These and other Canadian official entities including the Auditor General of Canada and Service Canada are focused on related efforts such as municipal performance audits, information technology and communications technology, moral purchasing and sharing of "data, information, common infrastructure, technology" and the need to "integrate their business processes" to further reduce duplication and waste, especially e-waste and greenhouse gas emissions a concern under Kyoto Protocol targets that Canada has committed to achieve. In 2011, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol due to economic concerns.
Communities of Tomorrow is a non-profit enterprise in Saskatchewan, Canada that fosters the development and commercialization of innovative sustainable infrastructure solutions for the global marketplace. Sustainable infrastructure is the development of water, sewer, roads, and other infrastructure systems that meet the needs of current and future generations in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Communities of Tomorrow brings industry firms together with researchers to collaboratively develop new infrastructure solutions to existing or future problems with the ultimate goal to commercialize them. It’s about building greener and longer lasting infrastructure, such as roads and water systems, to offer the global marketplace.
- Environmental design
- Green infrastructure
- Landscape urbanism AALU
- New Urbanism
- Regional Planning
- Smart city
- Sustainable urban drainage systems
- Transit-Oriented Development
- Sustainable Implant
- "Specialized Areas of Study". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Action Planning and the Sustainable Community". U.S. EPA. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "The Global Climate Change Regime". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Canada to withdraw from Kyoto Protocol". http://www.bbc.co.uk/. BBC News. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
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- Cities can Save the Earth: the urban solution to climate change, species extinctions and peak oil
- Canada's National Round Table on the Environment and Economy suggestions re: sustainable urban infrastructure
- Canada's National Round Table on the Environment and Economy Sustainable Cities Initiative
- Communities of Tomorrow industry-research partnership in Regina, Canada