Green Cities

By Marilyn Christiano

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

American officials are seeking ways for cities to grow without expanding into surrounding open space. They are trying to rebuild the centers of older industrial cities. And they want to help people use less resources such as fuel and water than are being used now.

A new book tells about how some cities in Europe have found answers to these problems. The book is called, "Green Urbanism, Learning from European Cities." Timothy Beatley wrote the book. He is professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The book tells about the experiences of twenty-five cities in eleven European countries. They are part of what is called the sustainable cities movement. Some of the cities in the study are large, such as Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. Some are small, such as Freiburg, Germany and Leiden, the Netherlands.

Cities have been described as organisms that use up resources and produce wastes that pollute the environment. Sustainable cities try to restrict their use of resources such as energy and water and to pollute less so people in the future will be able to survive.

Cities that were part of Mr. Beatley's study have some things in common. Growth takes place within the city limits. This means the centers of these cities are fully developed, not left partly empty as in most American cities. Buildings are re-used or taller ones are built as the city grows. This protects the open space or farmland outside the city.

Sustainable cities try to make it possible for people to easily move around without using cars. Reducing the use of cars reduces the pollution produced by cars. Many cities support the use of bicycles to replace cars. Some cities build separate safe paths for bike riders within the city limits. Other cities like Copenhagen provide public bicycles. A bicycle can be used to ride from one place to another and left for someone else to ride.

And sustainable cities are green. City officials keep open areas in the city for parks and children's playgrounds. Trees are planted along city streets. Some cities teach people how to plant on rooftops and in window boxes.

Professor Beatley says American cities can learn from sustainable European cities about providing for people and protecting the environment.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Marilyn Christiano. This is Bill White.

Voice of America Special English