Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Biosphere Compatible Cities and Villages: How Can We Turn Them into Reality?

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Biosphere Compatible Cities and Villages: How Can We Turn Them into Reality?

Article excerpt


In this review article, an attempt is made to analyze the problem of gradual though accelerating degradation of the environment in the Russian Federation, its reasons and outcomes. The factors aggravating the problem are classified, and their impact is assessed. Intensive industrial development, enormous gas and oil consumption, a huge number of cars and other vehicles in urban and rural areas are among the most substantial factors. The co-authors insist that if the humankind follows this path, it will lead the Earth to the ecological catastrophe. The co-authors also try to find out why the humankind took this path, and conclude that the present-day consumptive treatment of the nature is the outcome of the technology-intensive trend of the western civilization. However this development pattern may be reversed by the green building efforts, including Masdar City designed by Norman Foster in Abu Dhabi, Tianjin municipality in China, and other projects implemented worldwide. Moreover, the co-authors address the research works written by V.I. Vernadsky, a prominent Russian scholar, and developed by V.A. Ilyichev, member of the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, who believes that the rational correlation between the biosphere and the technosphere is a must. The authors believe that the theory developed by V.A. Ilyichev may serve as a means for the reasonable and rational preservation and development of the natural environment.

Keywords: technosphere, anthropogenic load, V.I. Vernadsky, biosphere compatible cities, ecological villages

1. Introduction

Cities and towns are home to over fifty percent of humans. Russia's urban population reaches about 74% of its total population. In 2012, the ecological rating of major Russian cities was compiled; the rating covered 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The urban population of the cities, covered by the rating, was equal to 55 million people (over one third of Russia's population). (Russian Ministry of Natural Resources' website, 2013)

The rating assessed the cities on the basis of the following seven factors: air environment, water consumption and quality, waste treatment, land use, transportation, power consumption, and environmental impact management. Thus, major Russian cities on the "black list" compiled on the basis of the rating included Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Chita, Novokuznetsk, Magnitogorsk, Nizhny Tagil, Ivanovo, Bratsk, Volzhsky, Norilsk, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. "According to the recurrent observations made in 2011, the air pollution level remained high in the RF. 55.1 million people resided in the cities that demonstrated high and very high air pollution levels, and their number was equal to 53% of Russia's urban population. The top-priority list had 27 cities where 16.3 million people resided (in 2010, this list had 36 cities, and in 2009 - 34 cities)." (Eco-rating of the Russian cities, 2013)

Ecological problems have aggravated to a significant extent in several areas of the world due to the rapid industrial development, extension of cities, huge consumption of oil and gas, and an ever growing number of cars. By now, specialists have identified the following groups of ecological problems: (1) condition of forests; (2) degradation of land resources; (3) reduction in the number of flora and fauna species; (4) pollution of water, soil, and air; (5) social diseases as a consequence of ecological problems.

The above-listed grave problems have arisen as a consequence of the intensive development of the urban industry and intensive exploitation of natural resources available on Earth. On the one hand, there is no doubt that the advanced level of technologies generates a favorable setting for the cultural and economic development, improves the quality of living and provides for a high material standard of living. However, on the other hand, globalization processes accompanied by the evolution of the consumer society aggravate the problems of the technosphere, including the exhaustion of natural resources, aggravation of environmental problems, birth rate decline in technology-intensive areas and intensive population growth on Earth (from 5. …

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