The features of One Planet Towns
Beyond ‘slimmer’ zero carbon buildings, closed loop resource use, and renewable energy supplies, transport and food provision are the main challenges for the one planet life, not just in the countryside but in towns and cities.
Communities need to be planned in such a way that walking, cycling, public transport and renewably-powered electric vehicles are encouraged as the chief modes of transport.
Cities and towns will need to grow much more of their own food, probably using vertical and indoor farms, large buildings that may be passively heated and ventilated, recycling their own water, and allowing crops to be grown and harvested around the year.
Citizens may also grow some of their own food as well as having relationships with Community-Supported Agriculture in the hinterlands around their urban areas, as was the case in the past. Community-Supported Agriculture allows growers to sell subscriptions to their services so that they have the capital they need throughout the year to produce a guaranteed food supply for their customers.
As in Freiburg, Germany, these districts will see all their organic waste anaerobically digested and turned into fertiliser, renewable gas for fuel, and heat. The gas might power methane-driven fuel cells or be fed into the local gas grid.
The circular economy will be widely taken up, with close to zero waste and everything designed so its components can be reused at the end of its life.
The calculation of the ecological footprint of towns and cities will need to include all the goods and services that are imported into the area from all over the world, and all flights and travel journeys taken by citizens.
Infrastructure will need to be adapted to cope with more regular extreme weather events too. City ecosystems need to be made regenerative through incorporating, not banishing, nature.
All of this creates exciting opportunities for innovation, community-building, and healthier lifestyles.
See six steps to a one planet city for more details.