The Instigator
ZeldaMafia
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Burls
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Are Sustainable Cities Possible?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 526 times Debate No: 89964
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

ZeldaMafia

Pro

Hey, I will be debating for the motion, that yes Sustainable Cities are indeed possible. If you accept the debate then you have to disagree and argue that Sustainable Cities are not possible.

Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Arguments/ Rebuttals
Round 3 - Arguments/ Rebuttals
Round 4 - Conclusion (No Arguments or Rebuttals)

Best of Luck!

P.S. If you have queries then post in comments. Thank you!
Burls

Con

Thankyou for providing me with this provocative opportunity.
Debate Round No. 1
ZeldaMafia

Pro

Best of Luck!

Intro -
What exactly are Sustainable Cities? Let's break it down into "Sustainable" and "Cities". Sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes. Thus, a Sustainable City By Definition is a city that has modified itself to prevent affecting the environment around them and in which the individual learns to reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions, plant more trees and use renewable forms of energies for daily activities.
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The Earth was formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago and humans arrived roughly 140 thousand years ago. We started out small as individual tribes and groups. Today, however the population has skyrocketed to a whopping 7.4 billion individuals. The surprising thing to be noted is that most of these 7.4 billion individuals live in 4% of land area called cities or metropolitan urban areas.

Even so, you must have wondered why exactly do we need Sustainable Cities?
Why not continue the lavish lives we already lead in the cities we have today?

That is because the cities we have today have have multiple problems:
1 ) Take a look at waste management. It is no doubt that managing our waste is a serious problem. In the United Arab Emirates alone, a single person produces 750 kilograms of waste which is one of the highest in the world.In 2007, Americans threw out about 570 billion pounds of municipal solid waste. Compared to other nations, the United States has a record of generating waste at an alarming rate. Home to only 4% of the global population, they are responsible for more than 30% of the planet"s total waste generation. Each American discards an average of more than 1,650 pounds of garbage every year.
2) The air in the cities are also not appreciable because of the 700 million vehicles in the world and industries. Our personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming. Collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas. About 5 pounds comes from the extraction, production, and delivery of the fuel.
3) Also, at this stage at least cities do not produce their own food. Food is almost always imported from elsewhere. These problems are really not issues in sustainable cities.

Sustainable cities on the other hand, have no such problems. Waste in sustainable cities is segregated and then recycle or bio degraded. There are almost no cars running on petroleum in the first place in these cities. The last one about food can be resolved by saying that sustainable cities will grow their own food. They will have structures like vertical farms which grow grains. For more info - https://en.wikipedia.org...

Now that we have a clear understanding of what a sustainable city is and what it could do to help our Planet, we can take a look at real models of sustainable cities that are there today. As an example you can take the Vauban District of Freiburg in South Germany. The district was planned around green transportation, because besides consumption, transportation is the hardest ecological impact of development to reduce. While the district includes streets, cars hardly ever pass through. All buildings must meet minimum low energy consumption standards of 65 kWh/m^2 a.

In Spain, the eco-city of Vitoria-Gasteiz implemented a strategic sustainable development plan and claims to be a "leading player in relation to sustainability," according the city"s website. Vitoria-Gasteiz intermingled patches of forest, called green belts, into the city to provide natural habitats for animals, air pollution scrubbing from plants and recreational areas for the local residents. The upgraded public transportation system helped reduce the carbon footprint of the population, allowing more residents to live in the urban areas. The city"s policy on mixed land usage and high density development along the main transportation routes helped to reduce travel times for goods and services, further reducing fuel consumption.

These two are just a few of the hundreds of aspiring Sustainable Cities.

So, the question that Sustainable cities are possible or not? Yes, it surely is. I mean its already been proven. All it will take is a little support from the international governments and organisations and a little bit of help from the locals.

_______

Sources :

http://www.worldometers.info...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.bbc.co.uk...
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com...
http://www.toxicsaction.org...
http://www.ucsusa.org...
http://www.sustainabledevelopmentinfo.com...

Thanks and best of luck to you again!
Burls

Con

Sustainable habitats are, in effect, unsustainable without an emphasis on population growth control because eventually the demand for available space to grow crops would exceed the supply.
Debate Round No. 2
ZeldaMafia

Pro

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If you have read my arguments earlier, you know that I have pointed out that the problem of crop shortage can be countered by a practice known as Vertical Farming which is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers, vertically inclined surfaces and/or integrated in other structures. Inculcating this practice within the city perimeters will indeed make the city "sustainable".

Unlike traditional farming in non-tropical areas, indoor farming can produce crops year-round. All-season farming multiplies the productivity of the farmed surface by a factor of 4 to 6 depending on the crop. With some crops, such as strawberries, the factor may be as high as 30. The protection of crops from weather is increasingly important as global climate change occurs. "Three recent floods (in 1993, 2007 and 2008) cost the United States billions of dollars in lost crops, with even more devastating losses in topsoil. Changes in rain patterns and temperature could diminish India"s agricultural output by 30 percent by the end of the century.

Vertical farming, used in conjunction with other technologies and socioeconomic practices, could allow cities to expand while remaining largely self-sufficient food wise. This would allow for large urban centers that could grow without destroying considerably larger areas of forest to provide food for their people.

Point -

The three main aspects of any sustainable city would be sustainable transport, agriculture and infrastructure. (Sus. Development)

-Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
-Sustainable Transport is sometimes known as Green Transport and it is any form of transport that does not use or rely on dwindling natural resources.
-In simplest terms, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
-Sustainable infrastructure refers to the designing, building, and operating of these structural elements in ways that do not not diminish the social, economic and ecological processes required to maintain human equity, diversity, and the functionality of natural systems.

Many practices can be involved in making a city more sustainable, like installing Solar Panels on the roofs and windows of buildings or wind turbines.

However one thing is certain. Mega-cities that we have today like NYC, London, Mumbai or Tokyo cannot become 100% sustainable as they were started to be built long before the concept of 'sustainability' even existed. But what we can do is by making the small improvements everywhere. This may not lead the cities to be perfectly sustainable but at least they will be more sustainable than before. We do not need to bulldoze all the buildings and build from scratch. That's like subtracting 1 from 1 and then adding 2 to get a net result of 2. We should instead focus more on sustainable agriculture, development and transport - The three key aspects of an aspiring sustainable global city.

I rest my case that sustainable cities are possible and that they should be encouraged by governments.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

P.S.

Also, you have not countered any argument other than the one about farming. I don't know what you had in mind but please try to bring up a new point or counter the other arguments. Just saying.
Burls

Con

"An acre of Kansas wheat produces enough bread to feed nearly 9,000 people for one day."
http://www.wheatworld.org...

That's @ 30 people/year from 200'x200'.

A highrise 20 stories high and 200 feet wide provides aprox' 1 acre of surface per side to feed aprox' 1,000 residents.

These figures provide @ one tenth of the bread alone for the inhabitants.
Debate Round No. 3
ZeldaMafia

Pro

To sum it all up -

Why exactly do we need sustainable cities?
That is because the cities we have today have have multiple problems:
1 ) Take a look at waste management. It is no doubt that managing our waste is a serious problem. In the United Arab Emirates alone, a single person produces 750 kilograms of waste annually which is one of the highest in the world.In 2007, Americans threw out about 570 billion pounds of municipal solid waste. Compared to other nations, the United States has a record of generating waste at an alarming rate. Home to only 4% of the global population, they are responsible for more than 30% of the planet"s total waste generation. Each American discards an average of more than 1,650 pounds of garbage every year.
2) The air in the cities are also not appreciable because of the 700 million vehicles in the world and industries. Our personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming. Collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas. About 5 pounds comes from the extraction, production, and delivery of the fuel.
3) Also, at this stage at least cities do not produce their own food. Food is almost always imported from elsewhere. These problems are really not issues in sustainable cities.

These problems can easily be solved with the help of sustainable cities.
Another key problem in today's world maybe that of unemployment. The unemployment rate of the USA in May 2015 was 5.5%. Sustainable cities can offer solutions to these too. People without jobs can work in the various new opportunities provided by the sustainable development. Problems like these can easily be solved by this concept. Irradiation of unemployment would also lead to a substantial decline in poverty, hunger, malnutrition, etc of developing countries.
Because today, developing countries stand a better chance of being sustainable. They may not have major cities , so they can make smaller towns sustainable. However countries like US already have major cities like NYC, LA that aren't sustainable.

Thus, Sustainable cities are indeed possible with a bit of government support and local help. However one thing is certain. Mega-cities that we have today like NYC, London, Mumbai or Tokyo cannot become 100% sustainable as they were started to be built long before the concept of 'sustainability' even existed. But what we can do is by making the small improvements everywhere. This may not lead the cities to be perfectly sustainable but at least they will be more sustainable than before. We do not need to bulldoze all the buildings and build from scratch. Making small improvements everywhere .But "Little drops make an ocean" and like those little drops we must realize that we are not apart from nature; we are a part of nature and to betray nature is to betray us. Building sustainable cities is just one step towards a greener future for our planet.
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Burls

Con

This topic has great potential in rematches, I believe, when maximun occupant capacity is added.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Burls 10 months ago
Burls
There's some hope that 3D printing technology will surpass the need for crop space. Soylent Green anyone?
Posted by Impartial 10 months ago
Impartial
No, as the universe will inevitably reach maximum entropy.
Posted by Briannj17 10 months ago
Briannj17
Truism. Of course they're possible, but are they probable?
No votes have been placed for this debate.