A Liveable City is defined by its ability to make its citizens feel happy, healthy, and safe by providing hospitable settings for all its inhabitants as well as generate a sense of community and identity. A sustainable city is defined by its dedication to achieving both green sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. As the Liveable City is based on the principle of sustainability, the two concepts are often seen as two sides of the same coin.
Here we collected 5 of the most crucial ways the Liveable City overlaps with the sustainable city, both contributing reaching important Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):
A city with green areas, such as urban parks or green infrastructure routes provide important recreative areas which are correlated with increased happiness. Urban green areas entice people to spend more time outside and be more physical active, which improves their well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness through increased social interaction. At the same time green cover reduces the carbon footprint, increases biodiversity, and minimizes air pollution.
Improved conditions for cyclists and pedestrians make the urban public space more vibrant and enhances the physical health of its citizens. By making a fully flexible transport network in the city with shorter distances between urban functions, the need for private owned cars is reduced, which is one of the greatest contributes to carbon emissions and air pollution.
Cities turning harbours from industrial ports into vibrant cultural and social centres, not only makes it possible to take a swim in the city centre, but it also contributes to more recreational spaces and improved water quality.
Using green Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) holds many benefits besides its main function to reduce the challenges of increased rainfall. SUDS are another way to combine climate adaptation measures with adding recreational green elements that makes the city more attractive. Making the city more liveable with green SUDS has the potential to clean urban runoff water and thus improve urban water quality.
Smart architectural retrofitting, which includes installing insulation and ventilation measures, can result in a dramatic reduction in energy use and improvement of historic building blocks which adds comfort for the user. At the same time, it enhances the attractiveness without having to remove the highly aesthetical and cultural neighbourhoods. With many people living on less m2 on average in cities compared to rural areas, and the fact that buildings alone account for up to 38% of all energy-related COemissions, cities can play a key role in decreasing energy use and making future cities more sustainable.
Another benefit of making smart architectural urban development and landscaping, is the opportunity to use and reorganise the public urban space to make it more efficient and sharable. Installing, for example, new rooftop terraces or creating multifunctional urban spaces that invite the use of various demographics creates new recreational meeting places which stimulates social gathering.
By sharing not only resources but also urban public spaces, it frees up more space for green areas and reduces the carbon and environmental footprint per citizen.
The liveable city holds many opportunities for both increasing the wellbeing of its habitants, as well as contributing to reaching important sustainability goals. Green and multifunctional playgrounds, enjoyable hang-out spots and attractive train stations are all ways to make a city more liveable and at the same time highly sustainable.
This article hopefully provided some insight and inspiration as to how liveable cities contribute to sustainability and are leading the way to reach crucial SDG’s to secure our cities in the future and make its urban habitants happy, healthy and safe.