Sustainable Urban Habitats: The Contributory Components of Viable Eco-Diverse Landscapes

derbyshire, Alan (2010) Sustainable Urban Habitats: The Contributory Components of Viable Eco-Diverse Landscapes. International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 6 (2). pp. 265-276. ISSN ISSN: 1832-2077

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This study examines the conceptual, ecological and structural elements that contribute to the development of sustainable urban habitats. It is argued that the establishment of genuinely sustainable urban environments has been hampered by the lack of a clear and agreed definition of sustainable practices amongst building professions. Whilst this militates against the synthesis of sustainable architectural and landscaping design methodologies, it also highlights the piecemeal adoption of sustainable design pedagogy within university design departments. With a few exceptions the embedding of sustainable design principles within design departments has been pedestrian. As a consequence this has contributed to the maintenance of fuzzy ideology and practices regarding sustainability within built environment professions. One of the more obvious manifestations of this phenomenon is the absence of creativity when amalgamating relevant native species, ecological diversity and landscaping materials within UK city centers. This can be traced directly to inconsistent pedagogical approaches when addressing ecological applications within the built environment. 
The paper reviews the threads that connect genuine aspirations for sustainable habitats within built environment professions and university design departments to their inevitable erratic outcomes. The fundamental association of the concepts of place and ownership and the creative application of pertinent eco-diversification are intrinsic to genuine sustainable cityscapes. This matter will not be resolved by tweaking the relevant frameworks and organizations. The ‘play it safe’ orthodoxies of existing professional anatomies and educational structures are not an option, what is needed is the fundamental re-design of the existing modes of practice. The paper will discuss how this is possible, cite institutional and commercial innovation, good practice and outline the potential for genuine sustainable urban habitats.

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