Sustainable Cities

In the first of a three part blog, our Graduate Transport Consultant Tyler Shin takes us on a journey to some of the World's Sustainable Cities.

The issue of sustainability is a priority for governments and organisations alike. A large portion of this issue is how can cities achieve sustainable development in line with the Sustainable Development and Millennium Development goals. With the recent Cop27 agenda reinforcing the existing Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement conventions; but highlighting the need to implement and act on sustainable strategies, what can cities do to create a sustainable future?

Sustainable City

Globally, cities make up 56% of the world’s population (World Bank, 2023); this is a staggering figure! If we look closer to home, 82.9% of people in the UK live in an urban environment (, 2021). With rural-to-urban migration rates ever increasing, is the idea of sustainable cities even achievable?

Sustainable Goals Logo

First, it is important to know what makes a sustainable city. There are 4 main pillars that make a sustainable city:

  • Human
  • Social
  • Economic
  • Environmental

These pillars can then be sub categorised to encompass:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Transport
  • Housing / Buildings
  • People
  • Accessibility
  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Ecology


If we look at a city on the doorstep of Encon Associates, the city of Nottingham also aims to be sustainable; to help achieve this goal, Nottingham aims to be carbon neutral by 2028 (CN28 action plan).

Green Hustle

The action plan can be categorised by 4 main themes:

  • Carbon Reduction
  • Carbon removal
  • Resilience and adaptation
  • Ecology and biodiversity

To achieve achieves these themes, Nottingham is implementing several strategies and programmes that work towards changing the way Nottingham handles these issues. A major focus for Nottingham is transport, and how the transport sector can become ‘green’ by 2028. To achieve this goal, Nottingham City Council are looking to have a 100% ULEV fleet by 2028, this works in tandem with the Workplace Parking Levy, which encourages businesses to shift towards more sustainable modes of transport.

Nottingham is introducing solar carports and combining solar photovoltaic (PV) installations with local energy storage facilities, which are innovative ways to decarbonise its energy supply. The city is looking to introduce solar PV to commercial and domestic properties. By 2020 Nottingham has introduced 6,400 solar PV installations across the city.

Raising awareness of the importance of sustainable cities is also high on the agenda for the City Council with initiatives such as Green Hustle which saw a respectable crowd gather in the Old Market Square in the city centre earlier this year to promote the Cities initiatives.

With green rewards schemes; Greening the transport infrastructure; bike and electric scooter hire schemes; encouraging positive action; improving the energy efficiency of buildings; introducing solar photovoltaic panels across the city; reducing food miles; encouraging ecology and biodiversity; and improvements to the water and waste infrastructure, Nottingham could very well hit the target of being carbon neutral by 2028.

For more information regarding Nottingham’s action plan and the measures and themes surrounding it, please see this link:

Look out for the second article in this series which takes a look at the German city of Freiburg and how they are paving the way for how sustainable cities could be.

Written by Tyler Shin, Graduate Transport Consultant, Highways & Transportation Division

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