Essay Title

Urban and Environmental Integration: Sustainable Cities and Communities

In today’s rapidly urbanizing world, the integration of cities and the environment is critical for the socio-economic development of cities and communities. Environmentally friendly building design and integrating nature into building interiors can make a difference in addressing the challenges of climate change and natural disasters, as well as contribute to a sustainable future by leveraging sustainable practices in energy efficiency, water conservation, and material sourcing. With the joint efforts of architects and designers, it is possible to create buildings that minimize the impact on the environment and energy efficiency to achieve sustainability development goals and promote social progress to improve living standards.

 

Achieving sustainable cities and communities requires many changes and upgrades in design to become better urbanization. Implementing environmentally friendly building design is one of the options to achieve the integration of urbanization and the environment. To begin with, this type of design requires energy-saving design methods, whose main aspects are to reduce energy bills and operating expenses. The International Energy Agency has emphasized the crucial role of energy-efficient buildings in achieving global climate goals, providing cost-effective and easy-to-use solutions (IEA, 2020). Energy efficiency is evident in energy-efficient homes and buildings because energy efficiency uses less energy, reducing the use of energy for heating, cooling, and operating appliances, and electronics, thereby creating energy-efficient manufacturing facilities. At the same time, it is an integral part of environmentally friendly building design, making it the most cost-effective component to help combat climate change, reduce energy costs, and achieve sustainable development goals through decarbonization to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions. Additionally, research shows that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) can lead to achievable sustainable building design. LEED promotes energy efficiency, greater material choices, and superior indoor environmental quality. LEED-certified buildings use 25% less energy and emit 34% less carbon dioxide emissions than traditional buildings (Bernick, 2022). Therefore, environmentally friendly building design using energy efficiency or LEED can make sustainable cities and communities cope with climate change and the decline in harmful emissions caused by carbon dioxide, optimizing community environments and healthy quality of life.

 

Being a student in Architectural Design, I believe that the designs that integrate the environment and architecture to address climate change have a role to play in helping to promote a sustainable future, ensuring the creation of healthier communities, and improving the overall quality of life. The concept of integrating the city and environment focuses on gardens, forests, and nature. The interaction between the two can create sustainable and livable cities, as cities often face air pollution and natural disasters, both caused by the lack of verdant landscapes in cities. To achieve an integrated and effective urban planning design, alternatives could be to blend the buildings planting with nature such as trees, flowers, or parks. As a country with limited land, Singapore has many examples of architectural integration of trees and waterfalls to ensure the city’s sustainability, such as Jewel Changi Airport, Park Royal Hotel on Pickering, and the Oasis Hotel. Jewel Changi Airport is a famous and representative project, that moved the waterfall indoors to continuously recycle water and prevent water waste. This design scheme can cool the mall, significantly reduce reliance on air conditioning, and purify the air. Similarly, other design examples also consider nature’s healing effects on the environment. Bringing tropical species indoors can improve air quality, and cool temperatures, and bring a lot of color and energy to citizens. Cities surrounded by green environments can bring better living environments for animals and species and provide more fresh air and ecology. 

 

Integrating cities and the environment can promote social security and economic development. Environmentally friendly building design focusing on energy efficiency and bringing nature into interior buildings is central to achieving sustainability goals. By implementing sustainable design principles through LEED certification and integrating nature into buildings, architects and designers work together to create structures that reduce energy consumption. Environmentally friendly building design not only saves energy but also improves the well-being of citizens and the long-term sustainability of the environment. In addition, nature brings cooling to indoor buildings, purifies the air, and provides a healthier ecology for species. Overcoming all these challenges and research will always be there as part of promoting social progress in achieving the goals of sustainable cities and communities of the future.

 

References

Bernick, K. (2022, September 30). Winston Commons certified LEED Gold by US Green Building Council – Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. https://www.wodagroup.com/winston-commons-certified-leed-gold-by-us-green-building-council

IEA. (2020). Energy Efficiency 2020 – Analysis. IEA. https://www.iea.org/reports/energy-efficiency-2020

Photo Reference

Photo by Phyo Hein Kyaw: https://www.pexels.com/photo/water-falling-from-glass-ceiling-2523644/

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