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46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
Today catch phrases like too much energy consumption, energy shortage and declining energy supplies can be heard throughout the "western" world. Given that oil and natural gas are non-renewable resources, it is inevitable that at some point there will be a peak first in worldwide oil and later in natural gas production. In times of limited energy resources, decision makers and planners should draw their attention to long lasting structures – such as settlements – and make them sustainable. Historic cities, which we perceive as "nice", "quaint" and "worth living", emerged from the satisfaction of different human needs in the scale of self-regulating internal body energy consumption. Some examples of grown cities are Toledo, ES; Siena, IT; Hallein, AT and Nurnberg (centre), DE. With the advent of external energy usage at the end of the 19th century, the scale of settlements exploded, leading to the now evident urban sprawl. The separation of functions envisioned in the "Charter of Athens" led to low density housing subdivisions, shopping- and recreational centres, office parks, civic institutions and endemic car usage in between. As a result, area-wide provision of public transport often becomes infeasible, forcing city planners to build large highway networks and parking infrastructure. The evident problem is the excessive level of motorized transport and its adverse effects, which to this extent can no longer reasonably be sustained. Current attempts to solve this issue are under way, but they do not use the right level of impact. One way to resolve the problem in the long run is to change the way settlements are organised. Arnum is located in the southern periphery of Hannover, Germany. In the course of a proposed extension of the city railway from Hannover to Arnum, an architectural contest was undertaken for Arnum West. Our paper will be a follow up and a complement to our contribution to that competition. We will identify sustainable settlement structures and their main indicators. After analysing a variety of different instruments, we will highlight effective tools to make settlements sustainable – such as integration of functions, preference of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport or parking space management – and show ways how they can be implemented in the context of the Arnum West case study. Furthermore, we will demonstrate the impacts of different settlement structures on the environment using three scenarios: business as usual, business as usual with the impact of the sustainable Arnum West case study as part of the existing settlement – a state of transition so to speak – and a fictitious sustainable settlement as a whole. We want to show ways how to change the settlement structure, because it forms the basis for human behaviour. On a long-term basis, it is imperative to change the behaviour towards a sustainable way of living.
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