Sustainable Urbanism – By Curtis Brown

Jane Jacob’s call for Sustainable Urban has always been interesting to me. In his writing, Anirban Adhya claims that sustainable urbanism is a “walkable and transit-served urbanism integrated with high-performance infrastructure” (219). While visiting European cities like Vienna, Florence, and Rome, there is a dramatic change in how urban functions and is used in comparison to American cities. Adhya points out that there needs to be a balance between urban desirability vs. suburban liveability and sustaining vs. practicing sustainability (219). Finding this balance is difficult, but my travels in European cities have shown that they have focused more on improving sustainable urban practices than in America.
Each of the cities listed has various populations and drastically different public transit, Vienna having the strongest, and Florence having the weakest. Either way, these spaces are easy to travel, with clear makers and easily walkable streets which are due to the age of the space. In American cities like San Antonio and Las Angles, the car is the driving force of these spaces. Cars are present in all of the European cities I have visited, but they never seem needed with the extensive transport networks already in place that students and locals utilize.
Practicing sustainability seems to shine in Perugia in their trash and heating system. Having basic things like compost and recycling is still something that almost all American are unable to understand. Along with the limited heating that Perugia allows, they force sustainable living into everyday action by understanding everyday human experience. By creating an infrastructure that enforces sustainability, it creates a culture where citizens find it to be a social norm. Although, this system seems not to be nationwide, as Roma did not seem to practice it at the Airbnb I was at (rules might be different) while Florence did have to sort their trash. This type of social change is yet to be seen in America. Many colleges have adopted better forms of trash removal, but still recycling, or better yet reducing is not an issue in both cities and across the United States.

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