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Open AccessOpinion

The Unsustainable City

Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre, 1 CREATE Way, #06-01 CREATE Tower, Singapore 138602, Singapore
Information Architecture, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland 
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 365-374;
Received: 28 October 2013 / Revised: 2 January 2014 / Accepted: 2 January 2014 / Published: 13 January 2014
PDF [1016 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


“Make cities more sustainable” is an omnipresent slogan in architecture and urban planning. This article is a discussion on theoretical and practical boundaries of using the expression “sustainability” with respect to the scientific community, therefore avoiding sustainability becoming a euphemism for “doing good”. By definition, it can be concluded, cities developed as counterparts to the hinterland and, therefore, they axiomatically should be and are as a matter of fact unsustainable. Furthermore, sustainability is a binary, not a gradual concept. Something is either sustainable or not. Aiming to increase the sustainability is consequently a sham battle. It would be necessary to change our perception to acknowledge that cities should be unsustainable in order to become efficient, seen from a global perspective including the hinterland. View Full-Text
Keywords: cities; land-use; perception; sustainable development; unsustainability; urban planning cities; land-use; perception; sustainable development; unsustainability; urban planning

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Berger, M. The Unsustainable City. Sustainability 2014, 6, 365-374.

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