Being Nudged by “Sustainable”?

With the increasing environmental issues taking place everywhere in the world, more and more people start to know about and believe in the idea of sustainable development. Then the word “sustainable” suddenly becomes a kind of “fashion” in our society, especially in the field of real estate. The strong emphasize on sustainability through investor, government, academy and social media is actually nudging people without any consciousness, and we are all part of it.

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With smart heating and cooling system, green infrastructures and renewable energy, Western Harbor in Malmö, Sweden has established itself as the first carbon-neutral neighborhood in Europe. Formally known for industries in shipbuilding, Malmö now wins its reputation by pioneer eco-project turning abandoned industrial site into highly developed sustainable urban district. However, there is also criticism directed towards the affordability and social justice. Malmö has long been experienced a very unequal and segregated urban fabric, while the world-leading sustainable urban fabric did not change any of that, but create high-cost units that could never serve moderate and low-income residents.

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Certainly, sustainable development is what we pursue as the goal of future city, but how to deal with the “side effect” like gentrification and social injustice is also a hard question. Some people would argue ”there is always a priority in a certain development process”, then establishing a carbon-neutral model and increasing regional economy could be considered as “creating shared value”, but will this be contradictory to the word sustainable within a even longer time-line, culturally and socially?

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