The number of people living in urban areas worldwide is constantly rising. This puts significant pressure on resources in general—leading to an urgent need for the radical improvement of local infrastructure, especially housing, food, water and waste. Managing urban areas is therefore one of the most important development challenges of the twenty-first century. The built environment is a key element in urban living. Significant investments in infrastructure and further development must be made to accommodate the increasing number of people moving to cities, thereby increasing the pressure on available resources and waste generated. Cities also face a huge energetic refurbishment task. These transformations of cities at the same time offer new opportunities: energetic refurbishment could bring multiple benefits to the citizens, and smart material loops can make the circular economy a reality. The design of and the material used for buildings also have a bearing on other important aspects of sustainability and urban life. They affect factors such as health, thermal comfort, acoustic performance and fire resilience. By taking a holistic approach, buildings have the potential to be a part of the solution of today’s and tomorrow’s challenges through the creation of sustainable cities. Cities have the power to act and make changes happen within their boundaries.
Part of the book: Sustainable Cities