Sustainability Defined

How can urban sustainability be defined?

Definition of green city sustainability

Green City Times’ DEFINITION of the green city sustainability model addresses sustainable technological solutions to anthropogenic climate change. There are seven major themes that provide a comprehensive description of sustainability initiatives for climate change mitigation that make a green world city thrive.

The seven building blocks of urban environmental sustainability are: green building, resource & waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energy (& energy storage)sustainable mass transportation, ecology/ wildlife protection & conservation, and green urban planning.

Simplifying the definition of urban sustainability

The components of our definition of urban environmental sustainability can easily be combined, as well- renewable energy and resource management can be placed in a single category, energy & resource management. All energy comes from resources, and all resources require energy to turn into building materials and/ or material goods. Resource management includes energy, capital for industry & manufacturing, buildings, transportation, water, food, and waste management (as well as infrastructure for all these things); with the goal of becoming zero-waste, and zero-emissions, in an ideal sustainable world.

Mass transit, urban planning, and green building can also be put together in a category called sustainable planning and design. These components can also simply be added to renewable energy and resource management, forming components that would then make up the energy & resource management category. The outstanding category besides energy & resource management then becomes environmental conservation & protection of wildlife and their natural habitats.

Creating a sustainable city

Sustainability is commonly seen as the obligation to “meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. However, Green City Times’ definition goes beyond the basic idea that sustainability means improving the planet’s ecological health and leaving a better world for our children.

Green City Times describes the necessary building blocks to create a sustainable city. The definition of urban environmental sustainability here provides a brief picture of the truth, but it is well worth going deeper, into the building blocks, the science, of sustainability; which is what Green City Times attempts to do on this website. Please read here>>> for clean energy technological climate change mitigation solutions, and here>>> for public policies needed to achieve those solutions.


Here are five of the world’s most sustainable cities, according to a recent analysis of world green cities by Carbon Reality Project.

Please also see Green City Times’ guide on:

Improving energy efficiency

Besides renewable energy, energy efficiency is the most crucial component for investment and development in order to make the environmentally sustainable city thrive.

Please also see Green City Times’ article on What Makes a City Sustainable

carbon farming carbon footprint carbon neutral carbon neutrality carbon pricing carbon tax clean energy Clean Power Plan climate change climate solutions cogeneration Conference of the Parties cover crops e-bikes electric vehicles energy energy efficiency energy star Freiburg global warming green building greenhouse gas emissions hydrogen hydrogen fuel cells Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LEED nationally determined contributions net zero greenhouse gas emissions nuclear energy Paris Climate Accord recycling renewable energy reverse osmosis smart grid smart meter solar sources of renewable energy sustainability sustainable agriculture sustainable mass transit United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change urban planning waste-to-energy waste management zero-waste

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