The largest city in the South Pacific, Fiji’s capital is quite culturally diverse. The lush scenery, convenient location —Suva is Fiji’s political and administrative centre— attracts lots of students and expats. The cultural diversity shines through downtown, where you can find an abundance of restaurants, plazas, and small shops. Pollution is generally kept to a minimum, and preservation of the natural scenery makes being environmentally friendly a must.
Many communities around the world are sustainable to a certain extent, their geography allows people to settle at these locations. However, some cities around the world often aren’t sustainable, while others are. How can this be? In order to answer that question, we must take a look at what makes a community sustainable.
The 2005 World Summit on Social Development identified the three pillars of sustainability as; Economic (which is constrained by both) Social (which is constrained by) and Environmental. This makes sense as the environment you're living in must be clean and have plenty of resources for you, and your community to survive. This can then allow you to build a society which creates rules and laws, that ensure the safety and well being of everyone. Also, this constrains the economy which allows the community to gain resources and pursuit in economically pursuits like trade and resource development.
The environment is the most important out of all of the three pillars of sustainability. This is because you need enough resources (food, water and shelter) to sustain your community. An ideal climate is also fundamental to make sure that the basic needs of survival are fulfilled. Ensure that the land stays fertile, and that there is enough land to allow humans and nature to coexist harmoniously. Again, a pollutant free environment is the most crucial pillar of sustainability as the other two pillars can not sustain a community without it.
Society is the second most important pillar, as it ensures the safety, reliability, laws and regulations, and the social order of the community. People must follow laws, rules and regulations to make sure others in the community are safe. If these laws are broken, the person who broke them will have to face the consequences. The social order can be broken. For example, war often causes people to live in their old homes rather than a place that's more stable and safe.
Economy being the last pillar of sustainability, is the “power” of a community. The economy helps provide people with money to buy objects both of value and need. This money can be earned by working in a career, which in a way, makes sure projects in a community get accomplished. All of this, increases the wealth of a community thus allowing more projects to be done, leaving us with an endless cycle. Money isn’t essential for survival and this is why economy is the last pillar of sustainability. Without a clean environment, there would be a lack of resources leading to the extinction of plants, humans and animals. If social order didn’t exist, humans would probably end up fighting each other for resources, which would also lead to the downfall of a community.
As humanity progresses, we can expect that the sustainable cities of the future have set even higher standards than the ones we currently have. After all, with more advanced technology and new discoveries, what we consider as a sustainable city today, could be the city facing a downfall tomorrow.
Environmentally-wise, we should be trying to stave off of using fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, as well as reducing the amount of waste from industry. Ideally, a city should be able to run solely on green energy, and with solar, wind, and hydro power, this will likely be a reality. Since waste disposal is often the root of many pollution problems, there should be a set system that includes proper sewage drains, with monitored and controlled industrial wastewater. Air pollution is generally a major problem in cities where the majority of the population drives a vehicle, or an area with a large amount of factories. To cut down on car exhaust, a well functioning public transport system should be put into place, and restrictions imposed on factories.
Society as we are right now is decently aware about the effects of human activity on our surrounding environment. Global warming remains an issue at hand, as do environmental degradation, desertification, and resource depletion. However, we should be prioritizing the environment over letting large corporations make a profit, and campaign to get the government to do the same.
Regarding economy, the cities of the future should look towards have self-sustained economies, without relying too heavily on underpriced labour from other countries, although it may keep prices down, in the end one side will always lose out. Prices for food, water, and gas should be kept reasonable, and to ensure affordable housing for everyone, the market should be carefully monitored.
Sources: Unaids & CMSdata