'One Planet' Cities: Sustaining Humanity within Planetary Limits, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

'One Planet' Cities

Sustaining Humanity within Planetary Limits, 1st Edition

By David Thorpe


320 pages

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Paperback: 9781138615106
pub: 2019-05-13
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Hardback: 9781138615090
pub: 2019-05-13
Available for pre-order

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This book addresses the crucial question of how the essential needs of the growing human population can be met without breaking the Earth's already-stretched life-support system.

With four out of five people predicted to be urban dwellers by 2080, ‘One Planet’ Cities proposes a pathway to genuine sustainability for cities and neighbourhoods, using an approach based on contraction and convergence. Utilising interviews with key players, including the Global Footprint Network, World Future Council, WWF, mayors and officials, and case studies from across the globe, including Europe, North and South America, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, China, and India, David Thorpe examines all aspects of modern society from food provision to neighbourhood design, via industry, the circular economy, energy and transport through the critical lens of the ecological footprint and relevant supporting international standards and indicators. Recommendations on managing supply chains and impacts, how the transition to a world within limits might be financed, and a deep examination of the Welsh Government's pioneering efforts follow. It concludes with an imagined vision of what a genuinely sustainable future might be like, and an appeal for 'one planeteers' everywhere to step up to the challenge.

This book will be of great interest to practitioners and policymakers involved in governance, administration, urban environments and sustainability, alongside students of the built environment, urban planning, environmental policy and energy.


"The earth’s resources are finite, but we consume and denigrate them as if they are unlimited. This is a recipe for a catastrophic future. In 'One Planet' Cities, David Thorpe not only sounds the alarm but provides us with richly detailed, real-world examples of how to live within our means." -- F. Kaid Benfield, Senior Counsel for Environmental Strategies, PlaceMakers LLC, USA

"Wales may have its own legislation to create a harmonious future for people and planet, but we still need help to navigate the global evidence and help us on that path. With this book, David Thorpe has demonstrated that he can be that guide, helping us reach our own pathways at country, city or individual level on the basis of global science and evidence. Wherever you live, this book must be read and most importantly, acted upon." -- Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement & Sustainability, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK

"Ultimately, humanity needs to fit within what our planet can renew. Cities play a critical role. David Thorpe gifts us with countless examples of what cities already do and what is possible to support this needed transition." -- Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and President of Global Footprint Network, California

"David Thorpe is a fabulous writer who brings home on a very human level what the challenges of a warming climate really mean. His technical and evidence-based understanding, combined with his gift for simple language, makes this work a compelling read… It [contains] a cornucopia of solutions and proven alternatives that can inspire action. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the mechanisms in play with our changing planet and how we can hope to influence its current trajectory." -- Tina Perinotto, Managing Editor and founder, The Fifth Estate, Australia

"Impressive work. An indispensable guide to what people are already doing around the world to ensure a sustainable future for us all." -- Ian Crawley, CLT Technical Advisor and a Trustee of the National CLT Network, UK

"An excellent integration of social, economic and environmental regeneration." -- Storm Cunningham, Publisher of REVITALIZATION, USA

"I am sure the book is going to be a success." -- Pedro B. Ortiz, ex-Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Senior Consultant on Metropolitan Management and Planning for IGOs, USA

"This collection is a mosaic of challenges and strategies, examples and ideas that point the way to further research." -- Margaret Robertson, Lane Community College, USA

"David Thorpe’s fascinating book is packed with ideas and inspiration; a gifted storyteller drawing together the strands of a new and hopeful collective story." -- George Marshall, founder of Climate Outreach, UK

"A must-read for 2019. David continues his campaign to a saner way of life with this latest book." -- Mal Williams, Executive Director at Zero Waste International Trust, UK

Table of Contents


About the Author

Foreword by Herbert Girardet


Introduction: It's Time to End Humanity's War On Nature

1. Do the Stories We Tell Influence the Future We Will Live In?

2. The Ultimate Problem: Humanity's Limits to Growth

3. Ecological Footprinting and Other Standards

4. Choosing Standards

5. Feeding Cities

6. Regenerative Cities

7. Going Zero Carbon

8. Reinventing Industry

9. Managing Water in The Age of Change

10. Neighbourhoods of The Future

11. The Buildings We Will Live In

12. Moving People and Goods

13. How Smart Is Smart?

14. Where Does the Money Come From?

15. Case Studies

16. Wales and One Planet Development

17. Six Steps to The One Planet City

18. A Vision of The Future


About the Author

David Thorpe is a lecturer on one planet living at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, a consultant on renewable energy and sustainable building, and Founder/Patron of One Planet Council. He is author of numerous articles and books, including Passive Solar Architecture Pocket Reference (Routledge, 2017), Solar Energy Pocket Reference (Routledge, 2017) and The One Planet Life(Routledge, 2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Global Warming & Climate Change