Sustainable Urban Development in the United Kingdom
Mr. Henry (the old man): Hello Benazir! How are you?
Architect Benazir: Hello Mr. Henry! I am good. Nice to meet you.
Mr. Henry (the old man): I am so glad that you are an Architect! There are some important issues to discuss. I was looking forward for a discussion with you regarding the so called eco towns.
Architect Benazir:Oh great! I would love that!
Mr. Henry (the old man): What are eco towns?
Towns which are ecologically sensitive are called eco towns.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Does that mean we have to compromise on our lifestyle?
Architect Benazir:Well, I do not know if you would call it compromising your way of living but its entire intention is to make human life more comfortable and save it from destruction.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Alright!That sounds good. So, how different are eco towns from our conventional towns and cities?
Architect Benazir:Ecotowns will fully support pedestrianization and cycling activity and focus on enhancing public transport.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Pedestrianization and cycling?? Hold on to that. Aren’t we having enough of it at Brighton right now?The streets have been narrowed down by drawing 2D cycle pictures on the road making it uncomfortable for cars and buses.
Architect Benazir:I don’t understand what you mean? Could you give an example?
Mr. Henry (the old man): Just look at the Old Shoreham road… Oh my GOD! That is such a disaster! It was a smooth road where the cars could pass without having to wait or worry. The two lane road has been converted into a one lane road. How ridiculous is that! I suggest you to stand at the Old Shoreham road and count the number of cyclists that pass by the entire day. There are hardly any. And mind my words, cycling is very dangerous in the city. If don’t believe me, then just run a survey and check for yourselves. Even cyclists are unwilling to cycle on Old Shoreham road because they think it is dangerous to cycle since the roads have been narrowed down.
And the new awesome rule of reducing the speed of the cars to 20mph in the town. I hope you are aware of that! That is so Frustrating!
Architect Benazir:Isn’t that a good thing?
Mr. Henry (the old man): NO!! Absolutely NOT! Don’t you see the increase in traffic pollution levels in the city already? The state of Brighton would be no good after its implementation. The government wants people to quit using cars by making it impossible to use it.
Architect Benazir:Why don’t you like the idea of walking? Isn’t it good for health? According to me, the government is just trying to encourage walking and cycling so that we don’t have to face traffic and pollution problems which then bring along health problems. Along with all this, we would also be able to conserve energy resources. I think its great!
Mr. Henry (the old man): I love to walk and I do walk. How do you expect me to walk from Hove to the town centre? You must be kidding. Just look at my age. I am 65. I can hardly walk for a mile. One thing should be borne in mind that implementation of an idea and its acceptance by people has to be voluntary. If you force people to get into it then it definitely would not work. Always remember,”If you change a man’s way of life, you had better have something of value with which to replace it.”
Architect Benazir:Your point of view is interesting. Do you have any suggestions to offer?
Mr. Henry (the old man): Yeah, i do. I think if the council really wants to take care of the traffic in brighton, first of all, school buses must be introduced for all the schools. Use of school buses should be made a compulsion. This will definitely cut down huge traffic. Also, why are the bus fares so expensive? 2.30gbp for a single ticket?? It used to be 60pence in 1996. That is prohibitively expensive! Also, a piece of interesting news I came across; UK now produces more cars than Germany according to the statistics in 2011. WOW! Exciting, isn’t it? The UK government must be so happy that UK becoming the number 1 manufacturer would help elevate the economy and at the same time its a disaster with regards to sustainability. I wonder how they would handle that.
Also, why is the government not taking initiatives for new construction? That would be so useful.
Architect Benazir:That is my point of view as well. Real estate prices are so high. Constructing new homes will lower down the real estate prices. It will make life easier. RIBA has raised its voice regarding building of new homes as an extreme necessity.
Mr. Henry (the old man): I so agree to that! So, tell me, how is your ecotown design going to be different from that of others?
Architect Benazir:My ecotown design will be focussed on supporting pedestrianization and cycling activity.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Oh dear! You are again talking about the same thing…!
Architect Benazir:Let me explain! Would you like it if we had pedestrian streets in parallel to the vehicular streets?
Mr. Henry (the old man): That sounds amazing! Tell me more
Architect Benazir:Mini ecotowns will be in a cluster. Each minitown would have its own business centre and centres of these minitowns would be connected effectively by public transport.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Don’t you think that would be too much of walking?
Architect Benazir:Oh No! You wouldn’t have to walk for more than a mile. What do you think of that?
Mr. Henry (the old man): That sounds great! I hope its realistic though!
Architect Benazir:A lot could be achieved if we could accomplish the Urban Challenge. This would only be possible if the public cooperates with us.
Mr. Henry (the old man): We would love to cooperate as long as it it something sane. You designers are the trendsetters of society. It would be great if you wouldn’t ask for cooperation with doing insane stuff.
Architect Benazir:Insane stuff?? I don’t get you. Can you give me an example of what you mean?
Mr. Henry (the old man):Well, okay. Sustainability talks about minimalism. So, do you really expect us to abandon our homes and start living in a caravan? Is that what you call sustainability?
Architect Benazir: Oh! No! That is not what sustainability is about. That is just a way of passing a message to the masses that we need to be ecologically sensitive in order to save our planet.
Mr. Henry (the old man): But don’t you think that is passing a wrong message to the masses? There is something called spreading RIGHT TYPE OF AWARENESS…
Architect Benazir: I totally agree with you. Right type of awareness is very important or else it could have negative impacts.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Absolutely! Why do you think people hate the concept of sustainability?
Well, I guess they are not very sure as to what it actually means.
The reason for their hatred is the wrong type of awareness. People are beginning to believe that you have to be insane inorder to be a sustainable thinker or living a sustainable lifestyle.
You cannot expect people to revert back to Stone Age times standards. It has to be acceptable to them.If you want to set an example to others, you should definitely do it, without second thoughts but the only thing that is to be kept in mind is that everything you do has an IMPACT. It does not necessarily mean that what you do will have a positive impact. It could have a negative impact as well.
Architect Benazir: I totally agree with you. That is exactly what I look forward to changing.
Mr. Henry (the old man): If I may ask, What are you trying to achieve? What is your ultimate goal?
Architect Benazir:My goal is to create a positive impact on people’s mind by working within the acceptable system. i believe, putting forth the concept of Sustainable design in a way that is acceptable to them is of utmost importance.
And I am doing this by taking up “URBAN CHALLENGE”. It is interconnected with so many other issues such as population, energy resources crisis. The most important thing it would do is help people change their lifestyles in a way that would be acceptable to them as well as serve the sustainability purpose.
Mr. Henry (the old man): You are so correct! What about our new generation?
Architect Benazir:Our new generation will help us succeed. And for that to become a reality, gradual transformation is very important. It is important that we incorporate the ideas of sustainable way of life and bring it in immediate effect.
Mr. Henry (the old man): Where have you planned to give a proposal for your integrated mini eco town?
Architect Benazir:The area where I am planning to give a design proposal is the area around University of Brighton, Falmer. That spot has immense scope for development. What do you think about the choice of location?
Mr. Henry (the old man): Well, I guess that would be great! That area feels isolated. But don’t you think designing towns will exploit the natural greenery in that area?
Architect Benazir:The town design will be compact and there will be lots of green pockets. This will help maintain the balance between our growing population and the natural environment.
Mr. Henry (the old man): How else would this help people?
Architect Benazir: First of all, it is very important that we pay attention to the problem of lack of housing in the UK. The number is increasing at an alarming rate. Development of new business centres will help in creation of new jobs. Embracing pedestrianization and cycling will help people remain fit and healthy. It will keep them away from pollution and traffic problems. Although if people wish to use cars at certain occasions, the journeys will be very short. We would be able to enjoy the vibrant street life. Doesn’t that sound exciting?
Mr. Henry (the old man): I am able to visualize what you want to create! And I feel it is totally fantastic! We look forward to our bright sustainable future cities! Thank you for your enlightening discussion Benazir!
Architect Benazir:It was great discussing with you too. It gave me an idea of what people think about Sustainability! Thank you!