The unprecedented confluence of climate change, population boom and the rush to live in cities means that our critical human development will take place in cities. There is an urgent need to implement urban development and management strategies based on an understanding of the finite nature of many resources and of the capacities of ecosystems in the wider regional, national and international context to absorb or break down wastes. In the long term, no city can remain prosperous if the aggregate impact of the production of all cities and their inhabitants' consumption draws on global resources at unsustainable rates and deposits wastes in global sinks at levels that undermine health and degrade the functioning of ecosystems.
London's "footprint", the amount of land needed to supply the capital's basic need for food and paper and to absorb its waste carbon dioxide from energy generation is roughly equivalent to the whole of Britain's farmland.
Are cycling lanes or allotment gardens enough to make urban life sustainable when the ecological footprint of “the city” is entangled with the planetary processes of environmental degradation?