Cities operate as open systems relying on
flows into and out of an indefinable central area. In order for
the city to be sustainable there is a balancing act between these
flows which require measures (LA21 strategies, plans) which aim
to minimize any adverse effects to the social, economic and environment
fabric of the city, as well as safeguarding natural resources
and promoting healthier lifestyles for present and future generations.
The following barriers refer to some of the
situations experienced to UK cities although some can equally
be applied to other countries.
- Physical limitations of a city e.g. whether
next to an estuary, floodplain or natural boundary.
- Closeness of other cities - competition for
natural resources, investment, workforce etc.
- Distance to the capital city - In the UK
there is a North-South (UK) divide based primarily on regional
- Distance to European markets.
- Eradication of green-belts.
- Lack of incentives for building on brown-field
- Out-of-town shopping centres/malls (reducing
commercial centres viability).
- Urban regeneration programmes which attract
- Policies take a long time to introduce.
- Unwillingness by citizens to adopt car-share
- Few Park-and-Ride facilities.
- Public transport not supported and not convenient.
- Unfavourable ring roads which destroy semi-natural
- Noise (perceived as on the biggest environmental
problems in UK cities) -includes traffic, music, and dogs.
- Air - by traffic more of an issue than industry
or power generation.
- Water quality.
- Litter/dog dirt - lack of facilities for
- Long hospital waiting lists.
- Poor nationalized health service.
- Insufficient resources to deal with flu vaccinations
for young and old citizens, including the prohibitive cost of
- High incidences of asthma attributable to
pollution, dust, food and pet allergies.
- Poor nutrition/diets of children - (MacDonalds
- Ineffective and lack of tolerant policing.
- Petty crime rates still high.
- Drug problems still prevalent in inner city
- High rates of homelessness.
- Lack of suitable qualified teachers.
- Few teachers are aware of ethnic diversity
or special needs.
- Curriculum does not include sustainable development
topics in the syllabus.
- Limited time or facilities for recreation.
- Lack of affordable, single occupancy dwellings.
- Distance to place of work.
- Distance to schools.
- Inefficient energy designs for heating and
- Limited exchange and access to information
- home, school, public buildings.
- High costs for hardware and connection times.
- Limited understanding or awareness of sustainable
- Little opportunity or willingness to become
involved or participate in decision-making.
- Economic status - tower blocks/council estates
are considered poor areas.
- Loss of local services and facilities such
as community centres, youth groups, libraries, shops.
- Availability of suitable recycling depots.
- Isolation and poor connections between communities.