By Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency.; International Society for Gravitational Physiology
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Additional info for 9th European Symposium on Life Sciences Research in Space : 26th Annual International Gravitational Physiology Meeting
Though some see cities as a major problem of humankind, others consider them the best cure for our planet’s growing pains (Kunzig 2011). The sustainability of their futures will depend on their urbanization patterns, spatial structures, transportation patterns, management of resources consumed, and waste generated. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recognized that GHG emissions have grown by 70% since preindustrial times (IPCC 2007). By 2015, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would have to be stabilized if global temperature increases were to be contained within a range of 2–4°C.
Countries, such as India where populaton densities in urban areas are relatively low, tend to generate more vehicular traffic and thence more transport-related polution than do countries with higher urban populaton densities. To demonstrate this, ADB’s Green Urbanization Study (ADB 2012) compared the floor-to-area ratio of a number of Asian cities. The ratio is calculated as the amount of habitable space within a particular city’s geographic boundaries measured in square kilometers divided by the average distance that residents settle from the city center measured in kilometers, higher values for this ratio indicating greater urban population densities.
The spatial model and existing densities generate traffic volumes and have a decisive impact on the performance of cities. Spatial form and transport make up a nexus, which, though well known, needs to be addressed as part of retrofitting of cities or in future planning (Kahn 2006). In Australia, the size of houses and sprawl of suburbs have encroached on the green edge of urban centers and agricultural lands alike, destroying or degrading existing fauna and flora. The typically large houses have increased carbon emissions due to their size and higher cooling requirements, their embodied energy, and increased reliance on the motor car.
9th European Symposium on Life Sciences Research in Space : 26th Annual International Gravitational Physiology Meeting by Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency.; International Society for Gravitational Physiology