Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism

Sustainable development is a main goal for many sectors in urban policy-making, affecting the practices and theories of urbanism.

Illustration of a future sustainable city.

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Over the years, this led to many frameworks, concepts and planning principles which can be summed up in Sustainable Urbanism: the application of sustainability and resilient values to the design, planning, administration and operation of cities.

The application of a sustainable architecture seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings, by efficiency, moderation in the use of materials, energy and development in research fields such as recycled materials, heating, cooling and ventilation, solar panels, wind turbines and waste management.

China built a Solar Highway with transparent concrete over solar panels.

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The principles of urbanism can be applied increasingly to projects at the full range of scales, from a single building to an entire community:

  • Space principles

1. Diversity, safety and tolerance;
2. City of neighbourhoods, including decentralised governance and the protection of a city’s identity;
3. Compactness: city of short distances, with accessibility to all infrastructure networks available on foot or by bicycle;
4. Public transport and density: land users with civic function and high frequency of use shall be located near to public transport nodes;

  • Content principles

5. Ehmphasis on education, science and culture, as these have a strong influence on our quality of life;
6. Industry and jobs provision as the most important task for the future;
7. Biophilia: being surrounded by nature, buildings need to have their plans  evaluated for their environmental impact;
8. Design quality, especially for public spaces, using expert panels;

  • Process principles

9. Long-term vision, incorporating awareness of the past and looking way into the future;
10. Communication and participation of all levels and sectors of society;
11. Reliability, obligation and fairness, to build trust and consensus;
12. Cooperation and partnership, with financial support for projects and incentives for investors plus exemplary actions;


Example of Sustainable Architecture

Vertical Forest                                                                                                         Milan, 2012

(Boeri Studio)

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Hanging gardens of One Central Park                                                           Sydney, 2014

(Frasers Property and Sekisui House)

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Tree House Concept                                                                        Dolomites, Italy

(Peter Pichler Architecture)

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