Sustainable Cities
ARS 01 - 30 - 2010

The other day we were in Athens at the new Acropolis museum. While the building displays wonderful sustainable aspects through day lighting, it was actually something outside that caught my eye and made me think a little more in depth. Outside of the building there were a few areas of grass (pictured to the lower right). I didn't realize how much I have actually missed seeing grass until it dawned upon me how long it had been since I'd seen it. Most of the cities we have been in are quite compact with hardly any room for the sidewalks to fit between the roads and buildings, let alone a space of nice landscape. I realize that the compact buildings allow for efficient ground usage and can also create wind tunnels to direct the natural flow of air to the apartments above. It makes me wonder, however, if this is the appropriate way to go. For a lot of people, they like to be capable of taking claim to a space and for the majority of those people a small plot of land helps them stake that claim. If people aren't able to take claim and pride to their property, they don't respect and keep the place in as good of condition as it should be. This could ultimately lead to the building becoming decrepit and no longer a functional edifice. This can cause problems with the sustainable issues that the building is providing, and also becomes unsustainable itself by only lasting half as long as it should. If it becomes necessary to renovate or rebuild a building often due to mistreatment, then it doesn't seem to be very sustainable in the material sense. Along with this theory, by not leaving area for grass or green space and building several three stories or taller buildings on both sides, the use of day lighting is hardly available to the lower apartments. All of these issues I've realized are problematic. While it would be thought that placing several living units in one compact area would be a sustainable concept, it actually contains several flaws if you place them too closely together. By doing something as simple as leaving space for grass around the buildings, you can allow for the buildings to be a little farther apart to direct sunlight and create a more beautiful atmosphere. This in turn can help the morale of the residents, creating a chain reaction for them to take more pride and care more for the buildings they call home. This one small detail, while it may take a little more room which for some cities can't be spared, and in other places may seem wasteful, can allow for several other sustainable elements to be implemented as well, creating a more well-rounded and enjoyable space in the city.

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