Modern times are seeing incessant technological advancement and development which is the prime cause of expanding cities. Cities have always been known to provide better employment, health, education, housing, and infrastructure facilities, thus attracting the population from rural areas. While the needs of the population must be met, keeping a check on the environment and economy which are linked to cities, is crucially essential. As the number of people residing in cities goes on to increase, the dependence on natural resources also increases. In the process of meeting consumer demand, the health of the natural environment is often compromised, and the downside of the matter is realized only when the negative impacts begin surfacing as environmental challenges that are difficult to tackle. Several nations have begun their journey towards sustainable development intending to avoid unnecessary reliance on natural resources and to prevent depletion of resources especially non-renewable ones.

A sustainable city, for instance, is such that all its residents have access to the basic resources with a production meeting their demands sufficiently while also not deteriorating the natural resource base and a maximum number of production centers ensure the use of renewable resources. Cities are often faced with the problem of waste disposal and management; where most of the time, the improperly handled waste becomes a source of land, air, and water pollution. Cities like San Francisco, Copenhagen, Vancouver, and some others are regarded as the greenest and those that have genuinely worked towards environmental protection. These cities have improved their buildings by switching to clean and efficient energy systems, zero emissions from the transport sector, reduced water consumption, special focus on waste management, and encouraging recycling. While these few cities have done so much to achieve these results, they are yet to be carbon and waste neutral. Therefore, many cities across the globe that have not even begun or have taken only smaller steps towards sustainability, will have to put in a lot of effort to contribute to the process.

The focus of sustainable development is not only the environment, but the concept of sustainability is all about striking a balance between three components namely, the society, the economy, and the environment. A deeper investigation of the connection between these three components reveals that neither works without the other two. To promote sustainable resource consumption, people must be aware of the benefits of using renewable resources and the consequences of unchecked non-renewable resources’ use. Only with awareness and education among the masses can cities be set on the path to sustainability. A well-aware society lives in harmony and aids in the process, thus giving the economy a boost and protection to the environment.

Creating a sustainable city is ultimately a blessing for the residents, the country overall, and the planet. Initially, the task may appear challenging, but on the brighter side, the benefits for the society, economy, and environment are numerous and far-reaching. Good governance can play a significant role in mobilizing the people; the key is to plan while keeping the future in mind rather than the present.

About the Author: Zainab Imran has done BS in Environmental Sciences and currently studying RS and GIS at COMSATS, Pakistan.