Title: “Developing Sustainable Infrastructure in New Cities”
In the article, “Developing Sustainable Infrastructure in New Cities”, Cho (2014) demonstrates the belief that having a sustainable and efficient infrastructure will allow countries to have a competitive edge and to improve the life of the community. The “Envision Sustainability Rating System” evaluates the performance of infrastructure based on its sustainability and is used by the author to assess King Abdullah Economic City’s sustainable structure to provide a holistic vision for its development. According to the author, projects from Mexico and Peru have succeeded in using the rating system as a guideline in integrating sustainability into their infrastructures. The successful infrastructures rated by the guidelines, increase human traffic flow and promote businesses around the two particular projects in Mexico and Peru. This resulted in heightened efficiency. Having a good sustainable infrastructure will bring about positive effects economically, environmentally and socially for the cities. The author hopes to influence new cities to build an efficient and sustainable infrastructure to connect and unite societies.
I agree to a large extent that developing countries should work towards building sustainability into infrastructure, as there are many tangible benefits. Such benefits include improving the living standards of the community which in turn, boost its economy. While I agree with Cho that it is important to build sustainability into infrastructure, she does not provide sufficient details and examples on the different aspects of envision rating system take into consideration to evaluate the infrastructure as well as how it improves the community.
In the article, Cho (2014) mentions that a sea port being constructed under the KAEC project will contribute to “boosting the light industry” and creating homes for “two million people.” Thanks to the project, there will be an increasing supply of jobs and business opportunities that attract investors.
Cho (2014) also indicated that building sustainable infrastructures such as “roads and pipelines” can connect and unite two communities together. With the integration of two communities, they will be able to bring about convenience and development, which ultimately improve the lives of the locals. The urban area may have access to basic necessity such as food and water from the rural area’s agricultural and stream. In exchange, communities in the rural areas will be able to have access to filtered water due to advanced technology in urban cities. Residents in the rural area will also be able to travel to the cities in urban area to look for jobs. Fay (2005) indicated that “limited infrastructure access also affects the poor’s productivity” and “access to reliable transportation determines access to job and markets to sell goods”. With good sustainable infrastructures, both rural and urban communities will be able to benefit from one another.
In the article, the author only mentions briefly that ‘Envision Sustainability Rating System’ was used to evaluate the performance of the infrastructure. Cho did not explain comprehensively, how envision rating system is better or comparable to other available systems that are being used to evaluate the sustainability of infrastructure. She also did not provide adequate examples on how envision rating system helps to improve the community. Other rating systems such as ‘BCA Green Mark Assessment Criteria’ and ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)’ can also be used to assess the infrastructure sustainability. Both of these rating systems address more specific areas, like environmental evaluation, which ultimately contributes to attain the sustainability of the infrastructure. According to Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2014), ‘LEED’ focuses more on ‘Green Projects’ while the ‘Envision System’ evaluates a ‘broader scope of sustainability’. Thus, I feel that the author could have compared other rating systems such as ‘BCA’ or ‘LEED’ together with ‘Envision System’ so readers will have a better understanding that the envision is a choice in evaluating the sustainability of the infrastructure.
Secondly, the author mainly emphasizes on the success of Peru and Mexico project that the infrastructure is sustainable after it has been built based on the ‘Envision Rating System’. Cho did not provide any illustrations on how envision evaluates the sustainability of infrastructure for the project in Peru and Mexico. Digitek (2015) states that ‘Envision Rating System’ also considers 5 different aspects namely “Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk” during the planning phase of building the infrastructure. By doing so, it can minimize the negative impact on the community. Georgoulias (2015) research showed that under ‘Envision Rating System’, they will educate locals about the benefits of having the sustainable infrastructure, allowing them be involved in decision-making. The research also mentioned that ‘Avoiding Adverse Geology’ is part of the key criteria in choosing a particular site to ‘avoid habitat fragmentation.’
In conclusion, Cho affirms that ‘Envision Rating System’ plays an important role in evaluating sustainability in infrastructure as shown in the Peru and Mexico projects that she was involved in. However, as a reader, I would like to understand in details or examples how envision rating system considers all various aspects in evaluating the infrastructure’s sustainability. This will help readers to better gauge the effectiveness of envision.
Cho, Heidi. (2014) Developing Sustainable Infrastructure in New Cities – New Cities Foundation. Retrieved 14 September 2015, from http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/evaluating-sustainable-infrastructure-development-new-cities/
Digitek, P. (2015). Institute For Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): Rating System. Sustainableinfrastructure.org. Retrieved 29 November 2015, from https://www.sustainableinfrastructure.org/rating/
Fay, M., Toman, M., Benitez, D., & Csordas, S. (2015). Infrastructure and sustainable development (1st ed., p. 10). Busan, Korea: World Bank. Retrieved from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DEC/Resources/84797-1275071905763/Infra_and_Sust_Dev-Fay_and_Tomanr.pdf
Georgoulias, A. (2015). The Envision rating system for sustainable infrastructure: Development, applications, and the potential for Lebanon (13th ed., pp. 3 – 8). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cedro. Retrieved from http://research.gsd.harvard.edu/zofnass/files/2015/02/141107035045984TheEnvisionratingSystemforsustainableinfrastructure.pdf
Harvard University Graduate School of Design, (2014). Envisioning the future: Rating system helps infrastructure projects meet long-term sustainability goals Â« Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure – Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Retrieved 26 September 2015, from http://research.gsd.harvard.edu/zofnass/envisioning-the-future-rating-system-helps-infrastructure-projects-meet-long-term-sustainability-goals/