As of 2008, the world became, for the first time, more urban than not. More than half the world’s population lived in an urban setting.(1) If these trends continue, we can expect to see another 2.5 billion people in urban areas. Managing these cities has recently become a priority, and at the forefront of this issue is sustainability. It’s interesting to see what some cities have come up with in terms of urban development.
One example exists in Singapore. In June of 2015, three waterfront gardens were opened to the public which featured “supertrees.” These are solar powered, mechanical structures which collect rain water. According to CNN, the goal of these structures is to “generate electricity:11 of the supertrees are fitted with solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into energy, which provides lighting and aids water technology within the conservatories below.”(2)
This project is a good monument to the amount of success for such projects. It meets all five factors of sustainable development. It is a testament to the health and nature of the surrounding area because it relies on the earth’s climate to function. It uses solar energy, solving both energy and economic problems. It is environmentally friendly for this reason as well. How could a tree not be green? And finally, it meets the social equity aspect because it is open to the public.
This project serves as a reminder how powerful nature is and how important it is to integrate it into our cities. Hopefully this will set an example for sustainable development in the future.