Cities are responsible for 60% of global resource consumption, and with increasing urbanisations, there are growing concerns about forthcoming shortages (water, food, energy). Urban sprawl is costly, damages the environment and affects quality of life. Making cities sustainable will need rethinking of every element of urban living, including the neighbourhood-scale.
Self-sufficient and socially inclusive neighbourhoods are centralised, self-contained communities, organised in a way that minimises dependency on inputs from outside the system and maximises interaction between its inhabitants. They often produce their own energy and treat their own wastewater, improving security and efficiency of materials, while offering new livelihood opportunities and local value creation.
Local governments can adopt more sustainable and efficient practices in constructing these areas. Through direct and indirect economic incentives, they can push the true costs of infrastructure onto developers and create a favourable real estate climate that helps with empty land in inner-city neighbourhoods. Then, cities can implement circular land planning through urban renewal projects. Building more self-sufficient and circular neighbourhoods will require, however, multi-stakeholder collaborations between municipalities, land developers, construction and waste industries and building owners.