What Type of Urban Lifestyle Promotes Sustainability?
Publication Year: 2014
This publication marks the conclusion of Stage One of the Urban Sustainability project, which focused on preparation of the knowledge base for the project as a whole. During this stage, a team of experts from various fields was assembled, with the aim of defining the concept of “urban sustainability” through a diverse and multi-disciplinary perspective. During the process of expert selection it became clear that the concept of “urban sustainability” as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts: the fields of expertise address subjects that are not regarded as classic environmental or urban issues.
The list of subject areas included: transportation, behavioral insights, design, communities, energy, economics, social media, the work environment and civil society. The process included a number of meetings among researchers for the sake of mutual enrichment and in order to interface between various subject areas, as well as producing an individual expert opinion/specialized reports.
This publication summarizes the findings of the project’s first stage, illustrates how the diverse array of subjects affects the implementation of urban sustainability, and paves the way to the next stage.
The first section of this publication addresses the question of “What is a sustainable city?” by integrating the basic concepts introduced in the various expert opinions. This integration generated the definition of a sustainable city.
The second section introduces the emerging field of behavioral economics and behavioral insights in order to explain the great importance that the project ascribes to behavioral change as a basis for the establishment of sustainable urban life in Israel.
The third section provides an overview of various models of urbanism that have recently been developed, which address urban sustainability in different ways. Only some of the characteristics of these models correspond with the premises of this project.
The fourth section presents the project’s vision of a sustainable city as it emerged from the expert opinions and expert workshops, and then it introduces a number of guiding principles that constitute the foundation for the endeavor to achieve a sustainable urban lifestyle, from the perspective of this project.
In the final section of this publication we attempt to answer the question: How do we pave the way to creating sustainable cities in Israel? In the context of addressing this question we mapped the various players that influence the urban lifestyle as well as the barriers and opportunities they face in mobilizing the change that will lead to urban sustainability. Finally, we offer inspirational examples from Israel and around the world for smallscale
as well as large-scale action at the urban level to promote a sustainable way of life.
This publication aims to integrate the insights that emerged from the expert opinions as a whole. The integrative process by nature, could not address all aspects of each expert opinion. An annex to this publication contains abstracts of all the expert opinions, which provide a deeper understanding of the various aspects of urban sustainability.
Achieving a Sustainable Urban Lifestyle
The concept of “Sustainability” has a multitude of definitions, and urban models are constantly being developed. This project aims to identify the significance of urban sustainability in Israel and to generate tools that will promote the change needed in order to achieve a sustainable urban lifestyle.
The Urban Sustainability project seeks to comprehend and analyze the urban lifestyle, with the understanding that a small change in the way city dwellers conduct their lives could yield a major and substantive change in our relationship with our environment, and that a proper approach to urbanism can change the current trend. In its quest for a new way of thinking, the project does not focus on technological innovations or economic models – tools that are customarily used in efforts to address the environmental crisis – but, rather, on behavioral change as the key to creating a more sustainable way of life.
A central issue that the project seeks to address is the matter of consumption. Clearly consumption is a significant part of the modern lifestyle generally and the urban lifestyle specifically. Consumption substantially influences the use of natural resources, and current patterns of consumption must change in order to reduce the burden we are placing on eco-systems. The project aims to propose alternatives for the consumption of various products and services, which still maintain a high quality of life.
This project takes the approach that urban sustainability includes all the elements of urban life, as evidenced by the diverse array of subjects discussed in the publication. The project examines how it is possible to satisfy all the needs of urban residents in a manner that entails reduced material consumption. Inherent in this approach is the understanding that achieving sustainability is intrinsically linked with a new perspective on urban quality of life and its improvement.