Turf roofed house in woodland

Environmental design at the Centre for Alternative Technology. Photo: Lyndsay Maiden, Cardiff Friends of the Earth

Cities and their occupants consume huge amounts of:

  • food
  • energy
  • building materials
  • water

They produce large amounts of:

  • pollutants
  • heat
  • light
  • rubbish
  • sewage

Green planning

Green cities aim to re-use materials so that the waste from one process becomes the input for another process. For example:

  • Waste water treatment can extract methane for energy
  • Organic household waste can be made into compost for gardens to grow food
  • Chemical and other waste from one company becomes the raw material for another one

A green city should:

  • Produce enough energy for its own use from renewable sources.
  • Reduce the need to travel by housing being close to workplaces, shops and other services
  • Use green transport such as walking, bicycle and public transport. Vehicles should use batteries or fuel-cell technologies
  • Use organic methods to grow as much of it's own food as possible in gardens, allotments, and the farmland surrounding the city
  • Be designed to minimize pollutants such as airborne emissions, chemical discharges, light and sound
  • Have buildings designed to minimize energy use through good insulation, energy efficient appliances, and by using waste heat from factories to heat other buildings
  • Reduce climate change emissions through using renewable technology
  • Have planning decisions made in a fair, transparent and democratic way.