While often seen as areas of major pollution, cities can also be highly beneficial to the environment when people are concentrated in a smaller area. Ecological cities seek to ensure that the needs of humanity are met while simultaneously having the lowest impact possible on the environment.
Eco-cities must minimize the amount of pollution and waste that they generate while also finding the most environmentally friendly ways to dispose of the waste products. They must also generate energy in a way that uses fossil fuels to the smallest extent possible. Water and food production and consumption are also major concerns for ecological cities.
Energy is best generated using renewable sources. Two of the best renewable sources of energy are solar power and geothermal energy. Advances in photovoltaic cells have made it possible for more of the sun’s rays to be converted into usable energy. In some areas, entire buildings can become net-zero (meaning they do not consume any energy that they do not produce themselves) when they install solar panels on their roofs.
Eco-cities can keep homes warm by harnessing the power of geothermal energy sources when they are available. Heat found deeper in the earth than be pumped up to higher altitudes, where it can warm up a home during the winter.
Another major goal in ecological cities is to reduce the amount of transportation that people must use by placing buildings in closer proximity, making cities more walkable.
One major concern in eco-cities is the availability of food. Food is traditionally grown in agricultural areas outside the city and transported inside. This not only uses up land, but also increases carbon emissions. This can be avoided by having much of the food grown within the city.
Ecological cities also try to reduce the amount of land wasted by building as much as possible within the city instead of having the city expand outward. The best way to do this is to restore and reuse old buildings.