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In this chapter several important aspects of urban resiliency and sustainability are presented, beginning with the concept of a sustainable city, and proceeding through various elements of urban systems: buildings, energy and climate action planning, transportation, and stormwater management. The chapter concludes with a case study of a net zero energy home, one in which perhaps you can envision yourself inhabiting one day.


At present 80% of the US population lives in urban regions, a percentage that has grown steadily over the past two hundred years. Urban infrastructures have historically supported several needs of the population served: the supply of goods, materials and services upon which we rely; collection, treatment and disposal of waste products; adequate transportation alternatives; access to power and communication grids; a quality public education system; maintenance of a system of governance that is responsive, efficient and fair; generation of sufficient financial and social capital to maintain and renew the region; and insurance of the basic elements of safety and public health. Collectively, these needs have been perceived as the basic attributes needed to make an urban region livable.

Urban infrastructures are designed and built in response to social needs and economies of scale that urbanization has brought about. Although our urban infrastructures are in many ways remarkable achievements of engineering design that were conceived and built during times of rapid urbanization, as they have aged and, inevitably, deteriorated; significant strains on their function and ability to provide services have become evident. In its program to identify the “grand challenges” facing society in the near future, the National Academy of Engineering has proposed several focus areas, among them the restoration and improvement of urban infrastructures. Such a challenge involves the need for renewal, but also presents opportunities for re-envisioning the basis of infrastructure design and function as we move forward. Urban infrastructures of the past were not generally conceived in concert with evolutionary social and ecological processes. This has resulted in several characteristic attributes: conceptual models of infrastructure that perceive local ecological systems either indifferently or as obstacles to be overcome rather than assets for harmonious designs; a general reliance on centralized facilities; structures that often lack operational flexibility such that alternative uses may be precluded during times of crisis; heavy use of impervious and heat absorbing materials; systems that have become increasingly costly to maintain and that are often excessively consumptive of natural resources on a life cycle basis; and a built environment the materials and components of which are often difficult to reuse or recycle.

The urban environment is an example of a complex human-natural system. The resiliency of such systems lies in their capacity to maintain essential organization and function in response to disturbances (of both long and short duration). A complimentary view, inspired by traditional ecological and economic thought focuses on the degree of damage a system can withstand without exhibiting a “regime” shift, defined as a transition that changes the structure and functioning of the system from one state to another as a result of one or more independent factors. Upon exceeding a given threshold, the system shifts to a new alternative state which may not be readily reversed through manipulation of causative factors. In the context of human-natural systems, regime shifts can have significant consequences, and not all shifts are preferred by the human component of the system. To the extent that change of some order is a given property of essentially all dynamic systems, “preferred” resiliency might be viewed as the extent to which human societies can adapt to such shifts with acceptable levels of impacts. Resilient infrastructures, then, are those which most readily facilitate such adaptation. Much of the foregoing discussion also applies to sustainability, with the added constraints of the sustainability paradigm: the equitable and responsible distribution of resources among humans, present and future, in ways that do not harm, and ideally reinforce, the social and biological systems upon which human society is based. Although there are important differences between those two concepts, there remains a close interrelationship that stems from the same need: to understand and design urban infrastructural systems that enhance human interactions with the environment.

It is beyond the scope of this book to present an exhaustive treatment of the urban environment, indeed there are many books and treatises on this topic. But in this chapter several important aspects of urban resiliency and sustainability are presented, beginning with the concept of a sustainable city, and proceeding through various elements of urban systems: buildings, energy and climate action planning, transportation, and stormwater management. The chapter concludes with a case study of a net zero energy home, one in which perhaps you can envision yourself inhabiting one day.

Further reading

Nancy B. Grimm, Stanley H. Faeth, Nancy E. Golubiewski, Charles L. Redman, Jianguo Wu, Xuemei Bai, and John M. Briggs (2008). “Global Change and the Ecology of Cities”, Science 8 February 2008: Vol. 319 no. 5864 pp. 756-760 DOI: 10.1126/science.1150195.

Questions & Answers

show that the set of all natural number form semi group under the composition of addition
Nikhil Reply
explain and give four Example hyperbolic function
Lukman Reply
⅗ ⅔½
The denominator of a certain fraction is 9 more than the numerator. If 6 is added to both terms of the fraction, the value of the fraction becomes 2/3. Find the original fraction. 2. The sum of the least and greatest of 3 consecutive integers is 60. What are the valu
1. x + 6 2 -------------- = _ x + 9 + 6 3 x + 6 3 ----------- x -- (cross multiply) x + 15 2 3(x + 6) = 2(x + 15) 3x + 18 = 2x + 30 (-2x from both) x + 18 = 30 (-18 from both) x = 12 Test: 12 + 6 18 2 -------------- = --- = --- 12 + 9 + 6 27 3
2. (x) + (x + 2) = 60 2x + 2 = 60 2x = 58 x = 29 29, 30, & 31
on number 2 question How did you got 2x +2
combine like terms. x + x + 2 is same as 2x + 2
Mark and Don are planning to sell each of their marble collections at a garage sale. If Don has 1 more than 3 times the number of marbles Mark has, how many does each boy have to sell if the total number of marbles is 113?
mariel Reply
Mark = x,. Don = 3x + 1 x + 3x + 1 = 113 4x = 112, x = 28 Mark = 28, Don = 85, 28 + 85 = 113
how do I set up the problem?
Harshika Reply
what is a solution set?
find the subring of gaussian integers?
hello, I am happy to help!
Shirley Reply
please can go further on polynomials quadratic
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I need quadratic equation link to Alpa Beta
Abdullahi Reply
find the value of 2x=32
Felix Reply
divide by 2 on each side of the equal sign to solve for x
Want to review on complex number 1.What are complex number 2.How to solve complex number problems.
yes i wantt to review
use the y -intercept and slope to sketch the graph of the equation y=6x
Only Reply
how do we prove the quadratic formular
Seidu Reply
please help me prove quadratic formula
hello, if you have a question about Algebra 2. I may be able to help. I am an Algebra 2 Teacher
Shirley Reply
thank you help me with how to prove the quadratic equation
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what is math number
Tric Reply
x-2y+3z=-3 2x-y+z=7 -x+3y-z=6
Sidiki Reply
can you teacch how to solve that🙏
Solve for the first variable in one of the equations, then substitute the result into the other equation. Point For: (6111,4111,−411)(6111,4111,-411) Equation Form: x=6111,y=4111,z=−411x=6111,y=4111,z=-411
x=61/11 y=41/11 z=−4/11 x=61/11 y=41/11 z=-4/11
Need help solving this problem (2/7)^-2
Simone Reply
what is the coefficient of -4×
Mehri Reply
A soccer field is a rectangle 130 meters wide and 110 meters long. The coach asks players to run from one corner to the other corner diagonally across. What is that distance, to the nearest tenths place.
Kimberly Reply
Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
August Reply
What is the expressiin for seven less than four times the number of nickels
Leonardo Reply
How do i figure this problem out.
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
I think if critical temperature denote high temperature then a liquid stats boils that time the water stats to evaporate so some moles of h2o to up and due to high temp the bonding break they have low density so it can be a reason
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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