What does a sustainable future look like?
Two things come to mind when I ask myself this question and they are: Walkable Communities & Alternative Energy Sources
- Walk Score – a term used to estimate the walkability of a place. What makes a place walkable? WalkScore.com was able to answer this question below.
What makes a neighborhood walkable?
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
- People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
- Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
- Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
- Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit
Walkable communities are sustainable communities. I know in my current college town, they have increased the span of sidewalks. I am easily able to get around via bike to classes and coffee shops. Sidewalks are also beneficial for the international students in a college town, who most likely don’t own cars or have other modes of transportation. In my hometown we have this thing called a Greenbelt, which ranges thirty miles across the town. It is a popular place for runners and bikers, and spans from one side of the town to the next. I remember in the summer going on long bike rides from my suburb all the way across town to the movies, to target or to the frozen yogurt place. Walkable communities are not only beneficial to the environment, but to the individual – as they encourage exercise among the citizens within the community.
- Wind Energy
“A Department of Energy assessment of the potential for offshore wind energy found that there were over 320,000 square miles of water off our coasts that could be used to generate 4,150 gigawatts of electricity if it was completely utilized.” POPSCIENCE
While many think of wind turbines, like the ones pictured in the image above near the title, the future of wind energy might be changing & losing the blades, according to this WIRED article. No blades means that it’s silent, cost efficient, and safer for the birds. Harnessing the power of wind energy more effectively could change our energy industry.
- Solar Panels (Tesla Solar Roof)
Solar panels are obviously a way to take advantage of the sun’s powerful rays. However, Tesla’s new solar roof shingles might be changing the game for home builders and home owners. These new shingles are expected to reach homes by the end of 2017. The solar roof, spectacularly, looks like normal shingles, but has the amazing ability to harness the sun’s potential to power your home. While probably not very affordable for most families, the hope for a sustainable future is that products and technologies like these can be offered to all individuals alike.
CHECK IT OUT!
Sadhika Kumar published a great piece on berkeley.edu that was titled 10 Green Technologies That Give Us A Hope For A Sustainable Future
Cheers to forward thinking & the future!