Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)


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Bibliographic Information

Even Einstein cultivated an allotment in WW1, although he was reprimanded for it being untidy. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in , Cuba lost its supplies of fertilizers and agrichemicals precipitating a crisis in food production. To survive, Cubans turned to intensive urban agriculture to augment their food supplies, an activity which continues to this day.

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Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space

Ironically, when people are restricted to a diet of smaller amounts of freshly grown local food less in quantity than previously, their general level of health improves, an effect clearly evident in both s Britain and s Cuba. In a recent paper Thebo et al. The detailed analysis is summarised in Fig.

Percent of urban area classified as a irrigated cropland, b rainfed cropland by country. Legend Proportion of irrigated cropland tend to be higher in regions having larger urban extend area used for irrigated cropland. However proportion of rainfed cropland is more dependent on regional climate patterns. Martellozzo et al. But the urban area available and suitable for urban agriculture varies considerably depending upon the nature of the agriculture performed. They reluctantly conclude that the space required is regrettably the highest where need is greatest, i.

They note that smaller urban areas offer the most potential as regards physical space [ 87 ]. In the developed world urban food growing is becoming popular perhaps for three reasons: firstly by the middle classes the appreciation that urban food cultivation can re-establish the link between food production and consumption, especially for children, encouraging them to adopt a more healthy diet; to supply free, fresh food for those in poverty and perhaps already relying upon food banks; and ironically for high end restaurants.

One example of such community organisations world-wide is York Edible [ 88 ] in the city of York, UK. To reduce their environmental impact future urban dwellers will increasingly grow food within, or at least in the immediate hinterlands, of their cities to avoid the CO 2 emissions associated with food transportation especially over transcontinental distances [ 89 ].

It is estimated that each 1 Calorie of consumed food uses currently 10 Calories of oil [ 90 — 92 ]. Although one dedicated vertical farm could feed up to 50, people [ 96 ], it is still likely that it will be beneficial for all buildings in future to have space reserved for food production.

With the recent developments in photovoltaic PV technology it will be also possible to design vertical farms self-sufficient and completely sustainable. The primary energy consumption of vertical farms is for lighting creating mimic sunlight and water pumping for irrigation. Table 2. Optimisation model for the vertical farm. Adapted from [ 97 ]. In March , the world largest vertical farm was opened in Michigan USA with 17 million plants in plant racks using LED light to mimic sunlight [ 98 , 99 ].

The American National League of Cities is promoting urban agriculture [ ] as a part of its remit to make cities more sustainable. The most ambitious schemes for vertical farms will take a long time to realise, if ever. But some more modest examples already exist, for example in Singapore [ , ], Sky Greens has constructed a four storey building using traditional growing systems comprising soil based potted plants on a series of conveyor belts which migrate the plants near the windows maybe once or twice an hour so that every plant gets same amount of sunlight during the day.

The technology increases food production by a factor of ten compared to that of traditional farming on an equal land area [ ]. The system basically consists of looping towers that could float in local harbours, providing new space for year-round crops. The concept is inspired in part by floating fish farms that have been in use locally since the s [ ].

The flip side of producing and consuming food is that it creates human waste that must be treated to avoid pollution. This especially applies to uncooked foods such as salads. Progressive build-up of toxic, heavy metals in the soil and thus plants is also a long term problem. But merely treating sewage and discharging the resulting effluent to rivers or the sea loses valuable nutrients, notably phosphorus, and also nitrogen and potassium, which have to be replaced from unsustainable sources.

The first European plant has recently been installed in Slough UK to treat water from a local industrial estate. Although Crystal Green is presently sold for conventional agriculture, technology of this type will be essential for sustainable urban agriculture. Energy input, required to operate the process, can potentially be obtained from renewable sources, especially solar [ ]. Adapted from [ ]. Legend Advanced water treatment systems for clean water production and advanced systems for gasification of solid waste for energy generation could allow considerable amount of water and energy savings.

These could be reused for domestic needs and urban farming for food production. To overcome rising traffic problems, cities should be compactly structured with improved accessibility, and have a well-designed transport network. In future cities effective transportation will play a key role.

For the health and well-being of citizens walking and cycling between their homes, workplaces, shops and other locations is already being encouraged. Undoubtedly these self-propelled systems will be integrated into future cities, avoiding the modern day perils of mixing pedestrians, cyclists and powered vehicles. For distances and occasions where self-propelled travel is impractical then future cities will need to strike a balance between mass public transport buses and trams , individually-hired vehicles taxis and rental cars and individually owned vehicles.

Various technologies already in development will impinge upon the choices made, such as self-driving vehicles [ , ], electric vehicles [ , ] and Aero-Mobil [ ]. Aero-Mobil is a flying car that integrates existing infrastructure used for automobiles and planes. As a car it can fit into any standard parking space, uses regular gasoline, and can be used in road traffic just like any other car.


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As a plane it can use any airport in the world, but can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved surface just a few hundred meters long. It is now finalised and has been in regular flight-testing program in real flight conditions since October The Aero-Mobil is built from advanced composite material includes its body shell, wings, and wheels. According to company authorities the final product will include all the standard avionics and, an autopilot plus an advanced parachute deployment system [ ]. The driverless, for-hire vehicle summoned by an app may find increasing acceptance.

At present road vehicles are dual purpose, being used for both modes but in the future a distinction may be drawn between intra -city transport and inter -city transport [ , ]. Traffic and transportation are growing problems for all cities. In Europe, people are wasting 10 to 60 [ ] hours in traffic jams each year, while their vehicles are contributing significantly to global warming by emitting carbon dioxide emissions and to air pollution by emitting nitrogen oxides and carbon particles.

Therefore traffic management and monitoring systems are currently already being applied in many large cities and people are strongly encouraged to use public transport instead of personal vehicles. Even though some steps have been taken more radical, innovative will be needed. It is clear that computers can be safer drivers than human beings.

Principally, self-driving cars will be connected with a wireless network similar to the internet or telephone network and all cars will be travelling on major roads under control of satellite and roadside control systems [ ]. A traffic jam will be predicted before it even happens by using roadside sensors, GPS and other advanced software. An alternate innovative design for future transport is the Aero-train which is partly train and partly aircraft. The vehicle is designed with wings and flies on an air cushion along a concrete track using wing and ground effects.

This minimises the drag effect allowing the aero-train to consume less energy whilst reaching higher speeds than the conventional trains [ ]. Another imaginative idea, first proposed by Robert M. Salter in the s, is the evacuated tube transport ETT where a vehicle occurs in a vacuum to eliminate air resistance and friction, [ ]. Although the proponents say that ETT could be 50 times more efficient than electric cars or trains it is only a concept that is the subject of ongoing research [ ].

But the achievement of ETT would revolutionise future long distance transportation. The UN estimates that there will be more than 40 mega-cities worldwide by , each with a population of at least 10 million, compared to 28 today. This massive global growth of urban areas will requires developments in administrative systems to ensure that technological advances described in previous sections truly deliver improved living conditions for all urban dwellers.

Although the well-established scientific basis for global warming is well established, its full impact appears to be several decades in the future, action is required now to ameliorate its effects by identifying, prioritizing, and structuring new design and managerial tools to improve urban environmental and fiscal sustainability [ ]. The UHIE does not just cause discomfort for urban inhabitants, it is also a killer.

Various studies of temperature related excess mortality using historical data have shown that during heat waves above a threshold temperature deaths increase significantly with each further degree rise.


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  6. Not surprisingly, the young, old and those with serious medical conditions, a most vulnerable [ ]. Not surprisingly, the young, the old and those with existing medical conditions are most at risk. Mitigation technologies such as increasing green urban space and biodiversity, use of reflective materials, decrease of anthropogenic heat levels and use of low temperature natural sinks such as ground or water bodies aiming to counter the impact of the phenomenon are rapidly being developed and applied in real projects [ ]. Rehan provided a detailed framework, including several measures that will diminish the accumulation of heat in urban areas and mitigate their UHIE by a set of planning actions as a strategy to cool the cities.

    The framework is given in Fig. Richer urbanites can in principal, offset the effects of the UHIE merely by turning up their air conditioning or installing more powerful units. Nevertheless, to protect the vulnerable it may be necessary to build air conditioned refuges where they can be sent when local temperatures are high. Administrators are already aware of the need to incorporating UHIE mitigation as cities are further developed and is required in temperate regions as well as the topics.

    For example Public Health England has recently published an excellent guide the adverse effects of high temperatures and methods to combat them, both short and long term [ ]. Those who argue strongly that man-made global is a myth and therefore nothing needs to be done to mitigate it, must face the consequence if the world follows their lead and they are wrong people, especially the poor and vulnerable will die. The adverse effect of increasing temperatures is based on sound research and historical data. It is not a theory derived from a computer model.

    In large cities excess mortality from attributable to high temperatures is exacerbated by air pollution, notably NO x from internal combustion engines that ozone produced by the sunlight-induced reaction of oxygen with unburnt hydrocarbons. Indeed, separating excess urban mortality arising from pollution and high temperatures is problematical. Now, green infrastructure is more often related to environmental or sustainability goals that cities are trying to achieve through a mix of natural approaches. The climate adaptation benefits of green infrastructure are generally related to its ability to moderate the expected increases in extreme precipitation or temperature.

    Benefits include better management of storm-water runoff, lowering incidents of combined storm and sewer overflows CSOs , water capture and conservation, flood prevention, accommodation of natural hazards e. The U. In a study performed by Gill et al. Evapotranspiration reduces the temperature in the area around vegetation by converting solar radiation to latent heat.

    Lower temperatures caused by both evapotranspiration and direct shading lead to a reduction in the amount of heat absorbed and therefore emitted by low albedo man-made urban surfaces [ , ]. Much of what has been discussed above has ignored the differing sizes of conurbations. Cities face different impacts, depending upon their sizes and levels of development. Small cities of upper income nations are facing with population decline as a result of the migration to larger cities for better job opportunities and higher life standards.

    Diminishing manpower makes it difficult for small cities to compete globally in terms of economy and productivity. On the other hand large cities in developed world are facing with the impacts of aging infrastructure and population. Increasing population creates inequality and social cohesion inside the cities while job opportunities become more competitive [ ]. In contrast to developed nations, small cities in developing countries are faced with the impacts of weak economies and weak urban governance.

    Due to their inadequate infrastructure and buildings, such cities lack the resilience to survive natural disasters such as earthquake or flood is very low. This Survival is threatened and in many cases many people are forced to vacate their homes See Fig. Environmental pollution is probably the most significant problem facing these cities, a result of the rapid industrialisation.

    But the latter potentially creates the wealth that can enable developing world cities to overcome their growing pains provided it is harnessed for benefit of all and is not siphoned off by corruption. Table represents the specific impacts of global urbanization depending on the size and development level of a city. In many cities of China See Fig. The severe impacts of rapid urbanisation can be ameliorated by applying creative design to infrastructure. Ecosystems like multifunctional units will provide several uses rather than a single functionality thereby saving energy, time and cost.

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    For instance garden plots can serve as water management system while providing food for citizens. Similarly multifunctional buildings could save time for people while allowing efficient use of land [ ]. Significant advances in computer simulation provided tools that enable us to evaluate current conditions and requirements thus modelling future scenarios. This phenomenon will have increasing importance in future cities to monitor existing conditions for efficient use of capital and natural resources or controlling traffic flow through wireless sensor networks [ — ].

    In addition it will allow modifying energy usage or household waste of urban dwellings with real time feedback [ — ]. South Korea has already put this technology into practice in city of Songdo, where traffic, waste and energy usage are monitored [ ]. Similarly in Rio de Janeiro there is a high-tech centre where public safety responses to natural disasters or building collapses are quickly identified [ , ].

    The recent earthquake in Nepal demonstrated that, this kind of technological centre could save many lives with timely intervention during disasters. Technically, highly automated management systems are very attractive, but they have potential downsides. Technology must be tempered by democratic safeguards if individual liberties are not to be infringed. The vulnerability of a highly networked city to a physical or a cyber- attack on data centres must be minimised.

    These developments could potentially be just important to the operation of modern cities as the new engineering technologies. Emerging cities should be where human beings find satisfaction of basic needs and essential public goods. Where various products can be found in sufficiency and their utility enjoyed. Future cities should also be the habitats where ambitions, aspirations and other immaterial aspects of life are realized, providing contentment and happiness and increasing the prospects of individual and collective well-being.

    However in many developing cities, prosperity is absent or restricted to some groups or only enjoyed in some parts of the city [ 6 ]. Low purchase power contrarily increasing expenses could socioeconomically pressurize individuals and minimize their social subsistence. This situation will turn citizens from productive and creative individuals to the ones just trying to survive. Cities also should be compact structured with improved accessibility, they should include natural habitats allowing biodiversity and socialisation of individuals and should have a well-designed transport network which will eliminate the need for private vehicles to overcome the rising traffic problem in growing cities.

    The future urban configurations should concentrate on efficient use of resources and opportunities that could help to achieve prosperity and citizen well-being in five dimensions as defined below and illustrated in Fig. Deploy the infrastructure, physical assets and amenities — adequate water, sanitation, power supply, road network, information and communications technology etc. Provide the social services — education, health, recreation, safety and security etc.

    Minimize poverty, inequalities and segments of the population live in abject poverty and deprivation. Protect the environment and preserve the natural assets for the sake of sustainable urbanization. The past few decades have witnessed a notable surge in economic growth, but one which has been accompanied by an equally daunting degree of inequity under various forms, with wider income gaps and deepening poverty in many cities across the world.

    Economic inequality is seriously detrimental to the equitable distribution among individuals of opportunities to pursue a life of their choosing and be spared from extreme deprivation in outcomes. According to recent reports, income gaps between rich and poor are expanding in both developed and developing countries [ 6 , ]. Cities generate wealth, but the problem is the unequal distribution of it. Despite considerable increases in productivity e.

    GDP per capita along with reductions in extreme poverty, inequality as a whole is growing in most parts of the world — a process that undermines urban life quality [ ]. In many cities, the population and local experts concur that inequalities are becoming steeper which could be a threat for emerging cities in terms of their sustainability and well-being of citizens. This can integrate environmental technologies, comprehensive urban development, fiscal sustainability and good governance, to provide emerging cities with a set of tools in order to improve the quality of life globally.

    However, cities are struggling with climate change, changes in population and demographics, congestion, healthcare, and pressure on key resources. Nevertheless, simply applying innovative technologies alone will not guarantee the combination of sustainability and acceptable living standards for future cities…good governance and management will also play a pivotal role. This can only be provided by utilizing technological advancements optimally whilst also developing short and long term management, organization and development strategies to realize the desired objectives. The authors wish to gratefully acknowledge the various reference resources benefitted for preparing this paper.

    The valuable suggestions of the anonymous reviewers in improving the quality of the manuscript are also greatly appreciated. Accessed 18 August Matuschke I Rapid urbanization and food security: Using food density maps to identify future food security hotspots. Accessed 12 August Provides a modern selection from the original volumes. Doubleday, ISBN — Accessed 02 Fubruary Pointer G Focus on People and Migration. Accessed 02 February Accessed 03 February Accessed 04 February Summary for Policy makers and Technical Summary. ISBN Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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    Planetary boundaries research

    Accessed 01 February Accessed 28 July Accessed 21 July Accessed 23 July Future Communities Hammarby, Sjostad, Stockholm, Sweden, to ; building a green city extension. Accessed 14 August Accessed 29 July Business Insider. Accessed 15 July Accessed 06 July Cities 71— Thorold C New cities rise from Saudi Desert.

    BBC News. Accessed 02 July Accessed 28 June The Guardian. Accessed 21 June The Huffington Post. Accessed 05 June Accessed 19 June Harris S Going underground: Cities of the future. The Engineer. Accessed 13 June Space Technol.

    Space Debris - Astroscale, Space Debris - The Threat Hanging Over Our Heads

    Article in press. Good A The city of the future could lie below your feet. USC News. Accessed 01 July Nuwer R Will we ever…live in underwater cities.

    BBC Future. Accessed 08 July Accessed 12 July Gamble J Has the time come for floating cities. Accessed 26 June Robinson J The city in the sky: Ambitious blueprint for London tower block that could house thousands of people — as well as schools, offices, shops and even parks. Daily Mail. Accessed 23 June Accessed 26 May Accessed 02 June Withnall A Japanese construction firm says this 'Ocean Spiral' is the underwater city of the future. The Independent. Accessed 22 June Accessed 29 June Arch Daily. OECD publishing. Urban Development Series Knowledge Papers. Accessed 18 June United Nations Environment Programme Critical metals for future sustainable technologies and their recycling potential.

    Sustainable innovation and technology transfer industrial sector studies. Accessed 06 June New York. ISBN: , Belgium. Power, A Housing and sustainability: demolition or refurbishment? Cathcart-Keays A Wooden skyscrapers could be the future of flat- pack cities around the world. Accessed 25 July Lehmann S Low-carbon construction: the rise, fall and rise again of engineered timber systems. Accessed 16 June Martellozzo, F et al. Accessed 12 June Angotti, T Urban agriculture: long-term strategy or impossible dream?

    Scientific American. Church N Why our food is so dependent on oil. Accessed 15 February Technology quarterly, Q4, Does it really stack up. The Economist. Accessed 15 June Global Biogeochem Cycles GB Heath T, Shao Y Vertical farms offer a bright future for hungry cities. The Conversation. Accessed 11 June Al-Chalabi, M Vertical farming: Skyscraper sustainability? Marks P Vertical farms sprouting all over the world.

    Key Points

    New Scientist. Accessed 01 June Accessed 07 June Thielman S Nevada clears self- driving wheeler for testing on public roads. Accessed 17 June Griffiths S Self-driving cars to hit British roads next month: Four cities will host trial projects featuring driverless shuttles to smart roads. Merrill J Are e-cars the future of motoring? Find out on a long, but not long enough, drive up the electric highway.

    Accessed 14 July Wired Technology; Accessed 13 July Technology quarterly; Q2 Reinventing the Train; ideas coming down the track. The Economist; Japan unveils levitating high-speed electric aero train Inhabitat. Accessed 19 July Collins N Drivers spend 30 hrs each year in gridlock. The Telegraph. Nasowitz D Driverless car drives miles on busy chinese expressway, no gps necessary.

    Popular Science. Accessed 24 July Manzalini A Enabling the self-driving car. We exchange messages, talk to family and friends, check the weather, manage finances and undertake numerous other tasks. In short, without satellite data, the lives of people around the world would be dramatically different.

    Over the past few years, Space Situational Awareness SSA and Space Traffic Management STM have become important topics of discussion around the world as government and industry begin to recognize and address this escalating problem. In order to reduce debris, society must focus on both mitigation and removal.

    House Science Committee Hearing: Threats from Space

    Astroscale is proposing two broad solutions:. For both services, Astroscale is focused on providing an end-to-end capability, addressing mission licensing, spectrum acquisition, insurance and operations for debris removal. The costs of building and launching satellites is dropping and bringing with it a democratization of space. More satellites will be launched, and this will inevitably lead to more debris.

    In order to mitigate potential future debris, we propose that all satellites in mid- to high LEO be pre-engineered with a light-weight docking plate that will facilitate eventual removal from orbit, should the satellite go defunct. The primary focus of this service is on the thousands of satellites being launched in emerging large constellations by commercial telecoms operators, but in reality, it can be applied to any satellite. A small percentage of satellites will inevitably fail and, should this happen, internal means for deorbit will be inoperable. This will ensure that the satellites have a means to de-orbit, improving long-term orbital sustainability and the safety of future satellite operations.

    There are already thousands of pieces of existing large debris, consisting of defunct satellites and spent upper stage rocket bodies, that are currently in orbit. Astroscale is partnering with national space agencies and international organizations to research and develop missions that incorporate innovative solutions for capture and removal of existing environmentally critical debris.

    Astroscale is deeply involved in the global conversation on regulations, policy, and standards. Both national governments and international organizations have recognized the risks posed by space debris and are considering solutions. Additionally, multiple international organizations and trade associations are discussing how to implement best practices.

    The development of best practices and standards for space traffic management is also increasingly reliant on non-governmental or industry efforts. Commercial and private entities must understand this changing environment and seek international consensus on best practices and norms of behavior. In addition to participating in discussions among national entities, Astroscale is closely involved in various formal and ad hoc industry groups as well as international organisations.

    ESA has been an influential participant in the subject of debris policy and research. In another recent call for ideas on space transportation, ESA selected Astroscale for a proposal on retrieval of multiple debris targets by one servicing satellite. Along with Europe, Japan has been one of the more active participants in trying to create a solution for concerns around space debris. The attempt was ultimately unsuccessful but JAXA is continuing to consider funding for future debris removal missions.

    Japanese government policymakers are also discussing potential regulatory changes in mission licensing and on-orbit operations. In June of the United States approved Space Policy Directive-3, which called for new policies on space traffic management, including for pursuit of debris removal missions. Additionally, in November the Federal Communications Commission FCC released a draft notice proposing updates to year old regulations on orbital debris mitigation.

    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)
    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)
    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)
    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)
    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)
    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)
    Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy) Threats, Risks and Sustainability - Answers by Space: 2 (Studies in Space Policy)

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