Sustainable city, also called urban sustainability
or eco-city, is a city designed with the consideration of social, economic, and
environmental effects. Sustainable cities mean that the city is prepared to be
a comfortable city for its inhabitants and ready to face crucial challenges in
the future, such as demographic, economic, social, transport and environmental
issues. A sustainable city must be prepared to deal with the problem and be
able to let the next generations experience the same comfort and resilience continuously
Although to date there are many views about what a
‘sustainable cities’ are; what are the criterions, or what are the conditions
that make a city ‘sustainable’ or not, basically an important point that can
indicate whether a city is ‘sustainable’ is whether the needs of the present
should sacrifice future needs or not.
One of the main goal of a sustainable city or eco-cities
are to reduce carbon waste as low as possible, to produce energy entirely
through renewable resources, and to integrate the city harmoniously with natural
CORE COMPONENTS OF A SUSTAINABLE CITY
Sustainable transportation is a way to mobilize people
and goods that contribute as little as possible to environmental, economic, and
social damage. In sustainable city talks, sustainable transportation is one of
the most important and the most frequently discussed topics.
Sustainable transport is important because
transportation contributes enormous pollution and consumes enormous energy.
accounts for around 25% of the world’s energy consumption and CO2 emission.
Hence, urban planners are
constantly looking for ways to mobilize people and goods to consume as little
energy as possible and to keep the journey time as little as possible.
Transportation is the most important component of a
city. Lewis Mumford, American historian and sociologist, reported
how cities are shaped around a center—most often within a walkable distance—
usually located near a port, and with suburban areas accessible by rail lines. Post-war urban planning, most notably from 1940’s
to 1970’s, saw a massive shift from the walkability of a city. A 1939 New York
World’s fair exhibited a model of a ‘future’ city. In the model, sponsored by General Motors—showed a separated residential, commercial, and industrial areas
connected by a massive and automated highways. These ideas influenced urban
planners, especially in United States, to build a similar city concept.
sprawl, an expansion of human population away from city centers to a distant,
low-density communities, is spurred by a car-oriented city development. Urban
sprawl caused several damages to the environment, most notably carbon emission
from cars that travelled the distance between the suburban communities and the
of the best way to make a sustainable transport is to build a system of public
transport. Switching from cars and motorcycles to public transports such as
metro rail and buses reduces air pollution significantly. A
study conducted in the US on 2007 claims that 3.9 million metric tons of CO2
emission might have been avoided if people are using public transport instead
of cars and other private transports.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY
In 2030, the number of people living in cities is
projected to rise from roughly 3.5 billion to 5 billion. This enormous amount
of humans will certainly increase energy demand, as more energy will be
required to support greater economic activity, expanded infrastructure, and the
rising need for city services.
Thus, creating energy efficiency in cities is a must.
Cities can generate renewable energy in various
ways. Individuals and building owners can utilize their roof or rooftops by
installing solar panels to generate solar energy. In fact, solar thermal systems
have been used for decades for water heating. Rooftop solar power capacity more
than tripled worldwide, from 30 GW to 100 GW in 4 years (2010 to 2014),
enough to cover the electricity demand of about 30 million households. The
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that there’s a
potential of 3.200 million m2 of rooftop space to be used for solar panels
worldwide by 2030; a six-fold increase from 2014, and estimates that the
installed rooftop solar panels could rise to 580 GW of capacity.
Another type of renewable energy that could be used
in cities is waste-to-energy or biomass-generated power. It is possible to generate power by using the
leftovers from forest maintenance, livestock, energy crops, food waste, and
residuals from agro-industrial activities.
Biomass can be used as energy source directly, via combustion to produce heat,
or indirectly by converting it to various forms of biofuel. One of the way to use generate biomass-generated
power is by employing Co-firing system.
Co-firing refers to using biomass as
an additional power source together with coal in a high-efficiency boilers.
This method can significantly lower sulfur dioxide emission in coal-fired power
Other sources of renewable energy usable in cities
is by wind turbines. When installed in high buildings—prevalent in large
cities, wind power could generate a significant amount of energy. One of the
tallest building in London and Europe, Strata
SE-1 integrated three large wind turbines into its design. In the USA,
there was a proposal to integrate 20 MW wind turbines into the Freedom Tower
(replacement of World Trade Center).
SUSTAINABLE CITY AND PANCASILA
Pancasila as the state ideology of the Indonesian is
something that must be adhered to and become the way of life of Indonesian
society. Sustainable city issues are included in the second point of Pancasila:
Just and civilized humanity.
The issue of sustainable cities is also an issue of
humanity and civilization. Cities that are not environmentally friendly and have
no sustainability values are in direct violation of humanitarian values. For instance,
if a city is left with a source of energy that generates a lot of pollution,
then the city is threatening the lives of all residents in the city. Past
environmental damage, which significantly contributed by urban areas, also does
not reflect a civilized humanity.
In Indonesia, the issue of sustainable development
is not addressed properly. To date, the only regulation concerning sustainable
development is only on presidential decree-level. A fixed and binding law is
indispensable for a better future of Indonesia. Indonesia is a developing
country that certainly needs a lot of infrastructure development and without
binding regulations, future development poses a huge threat to the environment.