What is sustainability? Without using Google, that may be hard to answer, even for experts. Surely achieving something that one barely understands could prove to be evasive in success. Regardless of this, a multitude of world class cities set out to achieve the unknown. Nottingham, like many British towns, finds itself locked in the pursuit of this unrooted concept.

Each year The Sustainable City Index ranks Britain’s twenty largest city’s sustainability efforts. Nottingham is ranked on three areas:


Nottingham's Sustainability Rankings

 

 

In crucial areas, Nottingham scored poorly. How can Nottingham improve its ratings and achieve true sustainability? More importantly, what is really needed to achieve sustainability?

 

Environmental Performance

  • Air Quality: To reduce CO² emissions, Nottingham can become a bike-friendly city, while offering transportation alternatives such as car sharing and extending the tram line;
  • Ecological Footprint: Nottingham’s fast fashion district hinders its goals of achieving sustainability. Recycled clothing is the best alternative until the fashion industry fosters a more sustainable model;
  • Energy Efficiency: Deployment of smart metering via government regulation coupled withworkshops to foster growth and support development.

White Rose

Future-Proofing

  • Local Food/Allotments: The originator of the ecological footprint analysis and professor of community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia, William E. Rees injects the idea of self-reliance being key to sustainability. The key to Nottingham’s sustainability efforts will be through creating more independence with food markets.

 

Quality of Life

  • Education: Successful cities need a well-skilled population to support their economy. Nottingham’s struggles with economy and employment is imputed to their stark inability to employ graduates from the city’s two leading universities. Competing with larger cities, like London, is no easy task. Nottingham must commit to retaining its skilled graduates, which can breathe new life into the economy with innovation and startups while creating industry distinction.

The very essence of sustainability must be stitched into the very fabric of a city’s cultural values. It must be solidified with commitment and backed by skilled human capital and environmentally conscious citizens.