Sustainable Urbanism: Creating Resilient Communities in the Age of Peak Oil and Climate Destabilization

  • Gary J. Coates


Peak oil and climate destabilization are combining in this century to create a perfect storm which threatens the human prospect now and for all future time. This chapter surveys four scenarios for the future as we face this crisis of crises: (1) civilizational collapse, (2) sustainable enclaves for the wealthy, (3) urban deconstruction and re-ruralization, and (4) a meta-industrial society comprised of resilient cities and sustainable bioregions. While all four scenarios are likely to be simultaneously present in the decades ahead, it is argued that only the meta-industrial vision is capable of inspiring the thought and action necessary for us to change our direction and respond creatively and effectively to the great challenges of our time. Based on the principles of tolerance and cooperative community and supported by the intelligent use of environmentally and humanly appropriate technology, the meta-industrial society is comprised of resilient and sustainable human settlements. The characteristics of resilient and sustainable cities are defined and illustrated by a case study of the sustainable urban district of Kronsberg (Hannover), Germany.

It is concluded that the only way to create an equitable, socially just, and environmentally sustainable human ecology is to integrate social policy and environmental policy into a seamless whole that results in the creation of new communities such as Kronsberg and the transformation of existing metropolitan areas into a polycentric pattern of mixed-use, humanly scaled, resilient cities and regenerative agricultural landscapes.


Social Housing Urban Agriculture Urban District Dwelling Unit Educational Exhibit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture, College of Architecture Planning and DesignKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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