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Locating sustainability: competing visions of urban technology

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Abstract

The recently published Final Report of the Urban Task Force, Towards an Urban Rennaissance promotes a vision of the sustainable city framed in the largely physical and formal terms of compaction and intensification of urban structures. The report also suggests that to ensure sustainable urban development, the individual buildings that inhabit this urban structure should be designed to be long life, loose fit and energy efficient. This paper, written by an architect and a sociologist explores this overlapping relationship between urban form and technology by linking concerns for the sustainable city at a macro level to diverse debates about appropriate technologies at an individual building level. In doing so the paper problematises a singular vision of the sustainable city and suggests a number of competing pathways towards sustainable design, thereby highlighting a possible diversity of sustainable urban futures.