Challenges of an urban world

Urbanisation= the rise in the percentage of people living in urban areas, in comparison to rural areas. 

Urbanisation occurs because:

  • populations are rising
  • rural-urban migration

Hyper urbanisation= when urban growth is so fast the city can't cope with people's neeeds

Mega city= urban areas with a population of more than 10 million

Conurbanisation= where cities have grown and merged with other settlements to create large metropolitan areas

Green belt= rural areas which are protected from builing developments to prevent uncontrolled urban sprawl

Rural-urban fringe= the boundary between the edge of the town and countryside.



  • pop of 8.2 million
  • An ecofoot print 200 times its size
  • 81% of London's food comes from outside the UK
  • 100% of it's energy is imported
  • Produces 8% of the UK's CO2 emissions
  • 28% of water lost in leaky pipes
  • Produces 40 million tonnes of CO2 (69% by car)
  • 15 million tonnes of waste from demolition

An ecological foot print is a measure of our consumption. It is defined as 'the area of biologically productive land and sea required to meet a person's needs (food, water, resources, energy). It is measured in global hectors (or GHa). There is enough productive land and sea for evergy tp have a fooprint of about 1.8 GHa. In the UK the average is 5.4, in the USA the average is above 8 and the largest consumer is the UAE where each citizen has an eco-footprint which exceeeds 10GHa. On the other hand the average Zambian has a foot print of 0.9 GHa

What can we do to make our cities more sustainable??

  • Use more renewable energy sources
  • Install energy meters
  • Energy efficient appliances
  • Water conservation through meters
  • Make pipes leak proof
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Reduce, re-use, recycle waste
  • Decrease size of black wheelie bins- fewer collections
  • Recyclable packaging on food
  • Reduce beef consumption
  • Make building south facing, double glazed, add insullation
  • Encourage bikes or walking or public transport (free bus passes for 60+)
  • Highly efficient cars
  • More parks, green spaces and habbitats for animals- carbon sink


Background: 100 eco houses were built in Wallington, London

Energy: 777m squared of solar panels were installed. It had 10% of the heating requirments of a typical home. Heating from woodchips- carbon neutral. The homes had a lot of insulation (60cm thick, concrete lined and filled with unsulation). They are also south facing and triple glazed.

Water: water meters were installed along with water efficient apliences. Most rain water is collected and re used eg. for toilets.

Building: materials were selected from renewable or recycled resources. Materials were also sourced from a maxium of 35 miles away from the site. This reduces energy required for transport.

Transport: Solar panels and electric car hook ups. A city car club base. It also encouraged eco-friendly transport by being near major bus routes and cycle paths.

Successes: Space heating requirements were 88% less. Car mileage is 65% less. Mains consumption reduced  by 50%. Electric power was used 25% less


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