Urban culture is open, diverse, full of color, and facilitates the flow of new ideas. The world’s population is increasingly concentrated in cities, with many cities around the world continuing to grow. As the primary consumers of energy and resources, greening cities are crucial to greening the world.
In the late 20th century, movements for a sustainable future focused on dropping out of urban culture, and living off grid in nature. But in truth, urban systems can actually be more ecologically sustainable than rural or suburban living. Because the population is more dense, less energy and resources are necessary for transportation of both people and goods.
Most efforts in sustainability are interested in low-impact design. Through a regenerative perspective, however, permaculturists are interested in design that is not only low-impact, but maximally beneficial to both people and planet.
A well known permaculturist wrote a story about a future world where a peaceful ecocity must defend itself from an invading army. In this story, San Francisco is an ecotopia, designed and constructed to be ecologically sustainable in every way. The streets are lined with flowers and food, roofs are covered in greenery, solar panels and wind turbines adorn the urban landscape, and the architecture is conscious and beautiful. Everywhere there is food available, there is life. Instead of a gray mass on the planet, it is green.
Concepts for green cities all feature similar themes of integrating plant life, renewable energy, and eco-conscious design pretty much everywhere. The streets are friendly for walking and biking, the energy infrastructure supports renewable energy and clean transportation, and food is plentiful because it’s grown just about everywhere. Arts and music are the central piece of the urban community, fostering a fun and peaceful culture.
Because fresh food is everywhere, there is no lack of access to healthy, nutritious food. Because there is little to no pollution, and plenty of space for walking, hiking, biking, and physical activity, people are healthy.
Green cities embody the overarching vision of permaculture as an ecologically and culturally sustainable community.