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The Future of Cities: Becoming More Sustainable

The Future of Cities: Becoming More Sustainable

More than 500 cities worldwide have established low-carbon and net-zero carbon goals, and many are advancing climate adaptation, health, and social equity, consistent with the United Nations sustainable development goals. In addition, the states of California and Hawaii have adopted goals to be powered entirely by renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar by 2050. 

These are rapid transitions taking place that are squeezing out the need for coal and other fossil fuels.

Many of the major cities in Ohio have committed to making the switch by 2040 to being renewables-based. Both Cincinnati and Cleveland have committed to an equitable and just transition to 100% clean energy, and Cincinnati was awarded a winner of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Because of increased public education and a more persuaded government, renewable energy creation within cities is becoming easier to implement. These local governments quickly learn the potential of building solar and wind farms. If a river runs through their towns, hydropower also becomes a strong and lucrative investment. With these investments comes the ability to source their energy, and keep billing costs steady and within city limits as opposed to large profits heading off to fossil fuel hubs elsewhere.

Another aspect of city planning that has been heavily pushed for is bike paths. As new cities are incorporated, or current infrastructure is changed, bike accessibility and safety are a major point of emphasis. Discussions on the Manhattan extension are a great example of how new land would highly prioritize electric public transit, and bike travel as the main means of transportation. Biketravel has many benefits to a city including a lighter flow of traffic and decreased asphalt renovations due to fewer cars, decreased pollution, and a healthier public benefited from increased exercise.

The future of cities holds more means of alternative transportation, green energy, and environmentally conscious decisions. It is up to local governments to implement sustainable infrastructure, as well as seek out investors who are capable of accelerating the transition to fully sustainable cities.


1) “Carbon analytics for net-zero emissions sustainable cities” Nature Sustainability,

2) “100 U.S. cities are committed to 100 percent clean, renewable energy” Sierra Club,

3) “Manhattan island extension could provide homes for 250,000 people” dezeen,

4) “Burlington: 100% renewable energy city” CDP,


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