In the article “Developing Sustainable Infrastructure in New Cities“, Cho (2014) states that the Envision Sustainable Rating System is able to reflect the performance of an infrastructure in terms of “sustainability, durability, flexibility and utility of the proposed work” in current project. The author suggests that the Envision Sustainable Rating System can be used to improve the quality of life in the cities while managing energy resource and handling natural environment and climate change. The article mentions that the author has recently work in Saudi Arabia as a member of Impact King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) Fellowship in providing integrated perception for the projects. Cho further elaborates that in recent projects using the system allows them to overcome difficulties like “rising energy prices, water shortages, traffic congestions, urban sprawl, flood damages, and destruction of roads and bridges” in the Mexico and Peru. At the end of the article, the author states that she wishes that the system will be widely known and correctly use for KAEC and around the world. While I agree using the Envision Sustainable Rating system has make improvement to the new cities, I feel that the system does not always prove to be effective in addressing problems and there are three factors that the article has failed to consider.
Firstly, Cho’s article mention that managing energy resource and handling natural environment and climate change are important factors in determining how infrastructure can improve quality of life in the cities. However, the author fails to analyse and explain to what extent we can call an improvement. Without the definition for the improvement in the quality of life, the readers are unable to grasp the situation properly, causing the article to be misleading. In an article “Urban trees boost quality of life for city dwellers around the world”, Welle (2014) claims that tree has environmental benefits such as “filtering water run-off and cleaning the air as well as increasing health and quality of life”. It is further explained that urban trees have an attribute that people want to live in and create the kinds of cities that residents feel they are home to. The author can use the urban trees article as an example to back up how infrastructure can improve the quality of life and how it can be used to solve the environmental and social problem in the cities.
Secondly, the article states that in recent KAEC projects, using sustainability system as a guideline has been proven effective to overcome difficulties in Mexico and Peru in resolving one of the main problems of urbanisation; “the role of infrastructure sustainability in the context of rapid urban growth”. However this suggests that the system may not necessarily be effective enough to fix every aspect of urbanisation problem. In fact apart from sustainability system, there is an environmental system call BCA Green Mark supported by National Environment Agency (NEA) in Singapore is capable of evaluating the environmental impact and performance on a building in urban growth. BCA Green Mark, therefore can be use in the article in resolving some of the remaining problems of urbanisation.
Lastly, throughout the article the author only give recognition to sustainability system for evaluating the performance of infrastructure which has proven to be effective in resolving fast urban growth. On the other hand there is no mention of shortcoming from the system which make the readers fall under the impression that there is no flaw. Also, no comparison is being done on the system which mislead readers in believing that there is only one system available in the world. Another globally acknowledge system that the author can mention is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which looks into “Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance, and LEED for Neighbourhood Development”. Accepting other system and giving recognition to more than one system is very important because it can provide the readers the pros and cons of the system when using it as a guide in developing infrastructure in new cities.
In conclusion, while Cho’s article discusses the benefits of using sustainability system in application to the KAEC projects. The author could have been more convincing without being bias if she had include more variety of system into her article. She should search out of her knowledge and incorporate other system to maximise the effectiveness and coverage of the system in guidance of developing sustainable infrastructure in the new cities.
Heidi Cho, Impact KAEC Fellow. (2014, December 17). Developing Sustainable Infrastructure in New Cities. [Web log post] Retrieved from http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/evaluating-sustainable-infrastructure-development-new-cities/
Ben Welle. (2014, May 7). Urban trees boost quality of life for city dwellers around the world (1st paragraph). Retrieved from http://thecityfix.com/blog/urban-trees-boost-quality-life-city-dwellers-around-world-livability-tree-canopy-ben-welle/
Building & Construction Authority. (2015, September 23). BCA Green Mark Assessment Criteria and Online Application. Retrieved from http://www.bca.gov.sg/greenmark/green_mark_criteria.html
U.S. Green Building Council. (2015, March 15). About LEED. Retrieved from http://www.usgbc.org/articles/about-leed
Edited on 26/09/2015