A sustainable city is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution - CO2, methane, and water pollution. This definition of a sustainable city derives from Wikipedia and is a good starting point for reviewing the ways in which Golden Lane Estate is or is not sustainable.
There have been a number of very constructive changes to the estate to make it more sustainable, notably the work of the Gardening Group and the creation of the allotments in the old nursery school playground. The planned improvements to Great Arthur House will also go a long way to making the building easier to heat and reducing heating bills for residents. However, is this enough? There are many examples in London where modest changes are having an impact on energy conservation, use of water, recycling of waste materials and urban horticulture. In this blog, I want to offer a few illustrations when I find them of ideas that might be relevant to Golden Lane; any comments would be appreciated.
This is what happens when you cut off a down pipe. Instead of sending water to the sewerage system where it has to be piped across the city and cleaned, this pipe goes straight into a rain garden where it is used to water an allotment.
Here is a new roof garden at Cannon Street Station. It is a recent construction, it is an amenity for people in the building but it also increases biodiversity in the City of London, creates a place for pollination to take place and helps reduce the urban heat island effect.
Islington is promoting sustainable drainage. This will bring a range of benefits. SUDS manage runoff from development in an integrated way to reduce the quantity of water entering drains and therefore to reduce surface water flood risk – an important consideration in a dense urban area like Islington, particularly given the increase in heavy rainfall likely as a result of climate change. SUDS also improve the quality of runoff from development, bringing clean water back into use in our urban environment to create attractive places for people and wildlife. Here is a link to the Islington SUDS site.
The Greater London Authority has provided guidance on living roofs and green walls. Here is a useful guide.
And here is a great wall created by Transport for London near the Westway and on the wall of Edgware Road Station. It is designed specifically to tackle air pollution.
The City of London Corporation has a department devoted to sustainability and has published a number of reviews. A Bigger Picture is a useful summary of the City's current position.
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