The need for low carbon cities can be reduced to a simplified equation; cities produce too much Green House Gases (GHG) thus contributing to climate change and negatively impacting their sustainability. The major source of urban GHG’s are fossil fuels used for energy generation in the sectors of transport, electricity and district heating (Whiteman et al 2011:252). It is therefore essential to not only transition to more sustainable, less carbon intensive sources of energy but also to reduce overall energy consumption. Poor town planning initiatives that do not encourage transit oriented development, mix use, densification, green infrastructure as well as an ill adapted regulatory environment surrounding waste disposal, construction materials and property development further contribute to urban GHG emissions (CCC, 2012:8).
In this essay, I will endeavour to examine the role that resilience plays within the sustainability agenda. Are the two mutually exclusive or are both needed to achieve a sustainable equilibrium in our cities?
The essay will first define sustainability and resilience in their various dimensions as well as look at the impact that natural hazards have on our world. I will use the case study of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to highlight the case of a city that has turned its back on resilience to embrace sustainability and how this may impact its population. I will explore some solutions that Ulaanbaatar may adopt to improve its own resilience. Finally I will reflect on the changing needs of our urban environment and the role that resilience should take within its future development.