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New Urbanism is a planning and development mindset that has helped modernize cities while integrating social concerns, such as environmental protection. It’s a concept that has ushered in walkable cities, eco-friendly public transportation and convenience that favors urban pedestrians. Part of the plan is to make housing and shopping closer together. Here are ways in which this responsible planning concept has been affected by climate change to be more proactive on sustainability.


Taking On Climate Change Challenges


The goal of new urbanists is toward sustainable solutions that promote cleaner, healthier, safer and mixed communities. One of the major challenges for new urbanists is that the United States averages about 129 natural disasters per year, which is over double than about a century ago.


Another challenge involves dealing with helping low-income citizens who have been forced to be displaced by gentrification as an attempt to revitalize cities. New urbanists must combine efforts on issues such as climate change and racism. After all, racism has led to less walkable segregated communities, so the problems are indeed intertwined. Treating these problems separately slows down resolving them, whereas combining them can be more effective.


A further challenge new urbanists will face in the coming decade is increased population in big cities. Since cities produce 70 percent of carbon emissions, it will be a huge undertaking to get people to reduce their carbon footprint. Despite the toxicity of urban sprawl, it tends to help fuel a local economy.


Reducing Emissions


The average American homeowner consumes and emits twice as much of the earth’s natural resources as a European. On the other hand, Stockholm, Sweden residents consume and emit one sixth the amount by Americans. On the surface it may be difficult to figure out why Stockholm does so well in terms of sustainability by comparison. It’s because Stockholm already fits the profile of new urban cities, as it’s very walkable, complemented by a well envisioned transit system.


One of the problems with cities that developed over the last century is that they spread out, creating the need for longer work commutes. New urbanism must rethink basic principles of city planning in terms of capsules rather than spaces. Another challenge facing new urbanists will be to discourage “drive-through culture” and encourage people to support more walkable communities. 


Climate change is a solid argument for creating more sustainable communities (new urbanism). The reduction in emissions and natural disasters will help make them healthier and safer, without worrying about car repairs and parking as well as falling debris and polluted rivers from natural disasters. With a greater focus on new urbanism, our cities will become more environmentally friendly.