007 - Sustainability: A Possibility?

Factual Question

What are the three 'pillars' of sustainability?

Conceptual Questions

Who has the power to make cities more sustainable?

Key Terminology

  • Sustainablility

We will be defining the term above in the first activity, but if you are still unsure click on the 'Useful Link' below for a definition.

Useful Link

Activity One - Define

Before we jump in and start to look at why cities are not currently seen as sustainable and what we can do about it we need to understand what sustainability actually is, which cities are the leaders and why. Answer the following questions using the resources in the 'Useful Resources' box below:

Watching the YouTube clip

  1. Define the term sustainability.

  2. Draw out the 'sustainability stool'.

Using the Pdf - Sustainable Cities Index

  1. Which top ten cities are classified as the most sustainable? Page 11

  2. What data is used to quantify the three pillars of sustainability? Page 9

  3. Why does Tokyo score well across all three pillars of the index? Page 10

  4. Where does Geneva rank on this scale? Why do you think that may be? (Explain your answer)

  5. Which city is the beacon of light in South America for the Planet Pillar? Page 14

  6. Which continent gives competition to Europe on the People pillar? Why are they able to compete? Page 19.

  7. Which country tops the Profit Pillar? Why? Page 24

Useful Resources

Sustainability Explained


Activity Two - Sustainability in Action - Detailed Example

For this activity you are going to choose one example that is challenging the notion that cities are unsustainable. Remember that sustainability is not just about preserving the planet but also providing opportunities for people to afford to live sustainable lifestyles. Choose one of the YouTube clips in the 'Useful Resources' box and make notes on a real example of place that is increasing its sustainability. Try and use the approach of:




5 Whys (but why but why but why but why)

Image - Taken from Brand Minds

Detailed Example - Definition

So what is a detailed example? This bridges somewhere in between the case study and example. A paragraph that includes a specific location and data to show understanding.

Useful Resources

BBC Podcast - The Street Where Houses Come Half-Built (23 minutes)

Al Jazeera - Sustainable Transport

Sanergy - Sustainable Solutions for Growing Cities

CNBC - Recycling in San Francisco and BBC - The green City (27 minutes)

Activity Three - Systems

A city behaves as a system and at the moment it is unsustainable as it is often linear - Inputs - stores - outputs. We now need to consider how the outputs can be part of the solution so that the process becomes more circular. If we don't consider what we are producing by living in a city that we can't consider how we can reimagine the process.

  1. With the aid of a diagram, describe the linear and circular system.

  2. Give three examples (city, country and an outline of the approach) of how cities are trying to be more sustainable.

Useful Resources

UN - A Guide to Circular Cities

Circular System