Essay on Sustainable Cities and Climate Change

Published: 2021/11/22
Number of words: 1388


Cities constitute a mere 2% of the total space on earth but contribute to an enormous amount of environmental damage. This is because cities are highly populated, and maintaining sustainable lifestyles is a challenge for many regions (Thornbush, Golubchikov & Bouzarovski, 2013). The high population in cities plays a significant role in increased emissions that lead to pollution. Moreover, the dense nature of cities has led to increased social problems due to congestion. It is important to examine the role that cities play in increased air pollution and congestion issues. Equally, it is the interest of the study to examine solutions that can apply to handle air pollution and congestion as a way of ensuring sustainability (Höjer & Wangel, 2015). Climate change is as a result of increased activity that contributes to more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The paper seeks to explore two major problems identified in cities and provide comprehensive solutions that can help avert climate change.

Problems Related to the Topic

The first problem that can be associated with sustainability is air pollution, which has contributed to a significant level of climate change. The high population in cities contributes to increased emission of greenhouse gases that lead to global warming (Thornbush, Golubchikov & Bouzarovski, 2013). It is vital to note that individuals living in cities use personal cars and public services to move to and from town. The high number of vehicles that use fuel increases emissions, contributing to a significant level of air pollution. Cities are the key to helping stop climate change that is having a far much more negative impact. Equally, manufacturing companies in cities and towns contribute to high emissions that are experienced in the world today. The fact that cities are densely populated means that they require active manufacturing industries to meet the demand in the market (Rohde & Muller, 2015). Air pollution is a major problem in towns and requires strategic policies for proper mitigation. Farming practices in suburbs surrounding cities contribute to pollution that has derailed sustainable development. The pesticides and other agrochemicals used in such places is a contributor to air pollution. Cities should find a way of reducing the population in their bid to combat high greenhouse gas emissions (Benton-Short & Short, 2013). Farmers should reduce the amount of pesticides and other chemicals that they spray in large farms. This will help reduce the problem of air pollution that hs resulted in global warming in most parts of the world.

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The second problem that is notable is urban congestion, which has led to the growth of social problems. Social problems are the very cause of economic deterioration in major economies in the world (Benton-Short & Short, 2013). Social problems crop up in cities due to increased population with no sustainability capacity. The ever-growing population in cities requires strategic urban planning for it o achieve sustainability status. For instance, crime and the spread of diseases are examples of social issues that arise in a congested town. Congested cities put pressure on existing resources, which is a major contributor to climate change and at the same time, hinders economic progress (Benton-Short & Short, 2013). Other social problems that may arise in cities include unemployment, drug and substance abuse, and prostitution, among others. It is important to devise strategic approaches that can help reduce congestion in cities as a way of averting climate change and promoting sustainable development. For instance, congestion in cities with no expansion plans can be detrimental to economic progress within a country. It inserts excessive pressure on resources and attracts other problems such as crime and murder (Rohde & Muller, 2015). Congestion results in housing problems, unemployment and high over-dependency on the few working-class. Countries with high population should serve as learning examples for cities to devise mechanisms of decongesting their dense population.

Solutions to Problems

The first case study solution that can help understand how to mitigate the problem is reducing human activity in major cities. For instance, the coronavirus pandemic outbreak has indicated to the world that reducing air pollution is possible (Watts & Kommenda, 2020). This is because the outbreak has led to a lockdown in major cities around the world, including Wuhan, New Delhi and Seoul, among others. Research indicates that there is a reduction in air pollution by approximately 60% since there is reduced activity. Lockdowns in such cities should serve as an example that can help transform the world and administer sustainability (Isaifan, 2020). In essence, authorities in urban centres should consider it important to set up legislation that reduces pollution as a way of administering sustainability in the long-run. The fact that there is restricted movement of vehicles and people means that there is a reduced level of emissions. There is a need for various governments to impose restrictions on the use of personal cars in cities as a way of encouraging public transport Watts & Kommenda, 2020). The move can lead to reduced levels of greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere. The lockdown circumstance should be a case study that most economies and cities should learn from in a bid to strategize on mitigating air pollution.

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The problem of urban congestion can be handled by developing strategic housing and urban development programs that aim to decongest various cities (Bulkeley & Betsill, 2013). The case of London can help explain how the development of new towns and gardens helped decongest the city. New towns and garden estates provide a sustainable long-term solution to urban congestion. In the event, social problems that lead to increased pressure on existing resources are controlled (Bulkeley & Betsill, 2013). Decongesting cities and other urban centres ensure equal economic progress countrywide in many nations. Social problems that arise due to congestion in cities will reduce, and an economy is tipped to grow under such circumstances. Crime and unemployment can be contained with appropriate urban housing and decongestion programs. In essence, cities can change the narrative and be at the forefront of administering sustainability (Höjer & Wangel, 2015). The impact of urban congestion on existing resources is a matter that can be reduced through decentralization of industries to regions that have low population. Also, legislation should be in place to control the nature and level of housing in urban centres as a way of ensuring that quality and sustainability standards have been achieved.


Sustainable cities are a reality if society commits towards sustainability programs within cities. Cities contribute to a significant amount of problems that result in climate change in one way or the other. The paper explores problems associated with sustainability and climate change in cities and proposes possible solutions to help combat the issues. Air pollution and urban congestion are two major problems that are associated with dense populations in cities. Reducing congestion can be achieved by setting up new towns that can help change the scope of urban centres. Decentralization of manufacturing industries can help reduce emissions to the atmosphere as a way of preventing further climate change. Equally, limiting the use of personal cars in cities can be controlled to reduce high emissions form vehicles in densely populated cities. As such, cities can be used as a way of advancing sustainable economic development and avert possible climate changes.


Benton-Short, L., & Short, J. R. (2013). Cities and nature. Routledge.

Bulkeley, H., & Betsill, M. M. (2013). Revisiting the urban politics of climate change. Environmental politics22(1), 136-154.

Höjer, M., & Wangel, J. (2015). Smart sustainable cities: definition and challenges. In ICT innovations for sustainability (pp. 333-349). Springer, Cham.

Isaifan, R. J. (2020). The dramatic impact of Coronavirus outbreak on air quality: Has it saved as much as it has killed so far?. Global Journal of Environmental Science and Management6(3), 275-288.

Rohde, R. A., & Muller, R. A. (2015). Air pollution in China: mapping of concentrations and sources. PloS one10(8).

Thornbush, M., Golubchikov, O., & Bouzarovski, S. (2013). Sustainable cities targeted by combined mitigation–adaptation efforts for future-proofing. Sustainable Cities and Society9, 1-9.

Watts, J., & Kommenda, N. (2020). Coronavirus pandemic leading to huge drop in air pollution. The Guardian23.

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