6.5 Greener architecture, greener cities?

A crucial component in the future sustainable society is architecture.  Planning city infrastructure, landscape, transport systems and buildings will be increasingly important with an increasing population. In order to reduce transport needs, future cities and towns must probably be more compact, but other values must also be considered. They should  be charming, clean, safe and esthetically appealing.

Surrounding forests and fields should  be lush, healthy and teaming with different species. Towns lucky enough to have old quarters of housing and canals from previous centuries should compassionately care for these places to give a sense of rooting to architecture and culture.


The greening of our cities. New York high line – railroad converted to a park. (Photo: S, Å, Bjørke)

Trees, flowers, parks, open waterfronts, lakes, rivers and canals are important for healthy surroundings.

Compact cities and towns cannot give priority to private cars nor parking places, but rather give way for plenty of automatic trams and pathways for bicycles and pedestrians. Much more traffic must go underground, be non-polluting and efficient.

All houses should at least be passive-houses in the sense that they are heated by geothermal energy and produce their own electricity by high-efficient solar panels, windmills, superbatteries and other technologies.

Many roofs and terraces could have trees and gardens. Rainwater should be collected on the roofs and in big underground cisterns – to collect water for dry spells and relieve sewage infrastructure in periods of flooding.

Apartment buildings can be tall  but they could also be long, relatively low buildings with spacious apartments with built-in terraces. Such buildings could be between three and seven floors high depending on the location and could be several hundred meters in length. From a distance they would almost look like green hills. Most apartments should have views over natural landscapes, adjacent “hills” or lakes.

The infrastructure for handling waste, water, sewage, electricity, the geothermal heating and computer-guided transport systems should preferably be situated centrally in the buildings and underground. All constructions should be  placed in safe distances from river beds and beaches, since flooding due to  global warming and climate change has to be considered

All buildings and infrastructure must be robust and built for extreme weather events like long droughts, strong winds, very heavy precipitation, now and then also in the form of wet and heavy snow. Windows and other vulnerable areas should probably have some protection like shutters automatically appearing when necessary. Global warming means extreme weather and increasing precipitation.

A greener architecture catering for the risks from global warming and the requirements for preserving ecosystems demands competence, creativity and financial resources.

Read more




Green roofs

Pilots and experiments

Architecture for sustainability


Home Chapter  5  5 Green economy
Chapter 6 6 Greener future?
6.1 Green technology
6.1.1 Solar
6.1.2 Wind
6.1.3 Renewable energy
6.1.4 Energy storage
6.1.5 Geo-engineering
6.2 Ecological footprint
6.3 Greener law?
6.4 Greener business?
6.5 Greener architecture?
6.6 Greener tourism