Over past years there have been countless discussions over plans, programmes and laws aimed at sustainable urban development and growth. However, it is essential that those intentions translate into effective sustainable policies that take into account all the conjectural variables: physical, environmental, socioeconomic and the landscape.
The evolution of urban planning in developed countries is intrinsically connected to the Industrial Revolution Era and the new uses and needs it created in urban areas. The concentration of industrial activities and complexes with intense consumption and labour needs around urban centres forced the creation of new roads, accesses and lodgings. However, the sudden urban and population growths were not accompanied by the corresponding habitational and sanitary development policies to which many suburban areas bear witness nowadays.
This growth, which had different peaks in different countries throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century, created a type of spatial and social segregation unique to urban areas in which the professional occupation translates into social status and reflects on the quality of the lodging (i.e. engineering quarters versus proletarian quarters). Another consequence of this type of urban growth are population migrations from the countryside to urban areas.
This phenomena, known as rural flight, had severe long term consequences in the desertification of countryside areas which are still visible nowadays as people keep fledging towards the greater urban centres. This severely disrupts the socioeconomic balance of countryside communities jeopardizing local economic balance and its sustainable development, in particular demographic growth. Ultimately it degenerates into aged populations and deserted villages.
Nowadays we still bear witness to maladjusted planning policies with little regard for the environment and whose binding legal power often causes operability problems. Namely in urban areas where dense urban meshes with intense daily pendulous motions promote gas emissions and waste production in uneven ways throughout the territory.
It is essential to use sustainable premises when planning so that the whole territory is managed in an efficient and sustainable fashion. A rational consumption of resources allows authorities to provide better quality of life to their peoples.