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Housing, Sustainable Communities and the Environment

Assignment 1 - Issues and Policy Frameworks for Environmental Sustainability

Part 1

Meeting Demand for Housing and Communities in an Era of Climate Change

Climate change is a problem of serious concern in the present time. Some conservationists argue that climate change compounded with increasing demand of housing is creating a serious problem for the ecology of different areas. Dennis Jongsomjit et al. (2013) have argued that increasing housing developments combined with climate change will result in loss of habitat for many bird species in California. These adverse conditions will result in the decrease of the bird species and may further cause their extinction. Keeping in mind the consequences of climate change, new housing initiatives that do not add to the problem of wildlife conservation should be devised. Climate change is already causing harm to many species, and housing developments, which do not respect conservation will further cause deterioration. In order to counter this problem, conservation practitioners have to cooperate with land-use planners and devise housing strategies that do not cause further harm to the ecology.

Hales S et al. (2007) have discussed the relationship between climate change, human health and the planning of housing communities. They concluded that increasing population, housing communities and per capita consumption are increasing the pressure on the natural environment. They stressed on the creation of energy-efficient cities and housing communities in order to maintain an ecologically sustainable environment. As the effects of climate change are not easy to control and they are likely to increase, we have to make our cities eco-friendly, in order to lower the stress on the environment.

The British planning system has responded well to the problem of climate change and has conducted several conferences and practical activities to promote sustainability. The adoption of “Local Agenda 21” (LGMB, 1993) has stimulated green measures to be taken on the local government level. Wilson and Raemakers (1992) reported that most of the councils in England, Scotland and Wales (74%) have a green plan. The 1990 Environment White Paper (Secretary of State for the Environment 1990) has urged planning authorities to consider environmental concerns in their developmental plans. The revised White Paper also maintains to make future developments sustainable and devise policies that are consistent with the view of conserving the environment. A paragraph of the document states: “The planning system and the preparation of development plans in particular can contribute to the objectives of ensuring that development and growth are sustainable.” (Department of the Environment 1992b, para 3). Many environmentalists and researchers have emphasised that there should be certain limits to environmental capacities, which should not be breached (M Jacobs 1993, 22).

The market led economy and consumer demands have also forced sustainability to take the back seat. Increasing political support for environmental care and the pursuing legislation may jump start the formation of sustainable communities.

Although there are several housing projects that provide eco-friendly homes to consumers, the cost is so high that it is not affordable for low income ...