All of us in our lives have looked at and admired sculptures and works of art in awe. We have been astounded by Da Vinci, and stunned by Michelangelo, but what we do not realise is that the cities we live in are sculptures and works of art, sculpted from concrete. Many people look at cities like Los Angeles and London and think what it is like to design something of that importance.
Recently in our class, we were given the opportunity to design and sculpt our own city. The question posed to us was whether our cities could be sustainable, like Mazdar and Curitiba. We studied how the brains behind these cities had answered the question: How do you make a city sustainable? We studied the natural shade in Mazdar, caused by narrow streets. We looked at the efficient rubbish disposal system in Curitiba and in our groups we started to incorporate these elements into our cities. We studied the three tiers of sustainability: Social, Economic and Environmental and in our groups we researched how incorporating certain elements in our cities, would meet the needs of our citizens, because the definition of sustainability is meeting the needs of people for the present and future generations.
The class certainly responded to the task, producing wind turbines, innovative new transport systems and off sea wind farms. We had underground electric transport systems, pyramids covered with solar panels, recycling stations made out of recycled materials and many more sustainable ideas. After many lessons, the contents of our recycling bins and many rolls of sellotape later our cities were complete, and for a moment, we stood back and imagined ourselves as architects, admiring the new cities that stood before us.
I can definitely say on behalf of the class that our knowledge of sustainability has increased through this productive task, and we all have experienced the question that architects now face: What makes a city sustainable?