Small towns and rural communities throughout Africa are looking for ways to strengthen their economies , provide better quality of life, and build on local assets. Many rural communities and small towns are facing challenges , including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations , and loss of farms and working lands.Slow-growing and shrinking rural areas might find that their policies are not bringing the prosperity they seek , while fast-growing rural areas at the edge of metropolitan regions face metropolitan-style development pressures. Smart growth strategies can help rural communities achieve their goals for growth and development while maintaining their distinctive rural character. Planning where development should or should not go can help a rural community encourage growth in town , where businesses can thrive on a walkable main street and families can live close to their daily destinations. Policies that protect the rural landscape help preserve open space, protect air and water quality , provide places for recreation and create tourist attractions that bring investments into the local economy. Policies that support walking , biking , and public transit help reduce air pollution from vehicles while saving people money.
Water and Sustainability
Being water and energy efficient provides a wide range of benefits—for utilities, consumers, businesses, and the community as a whole. Using less water means moving and treating less water, which helps reduce the strain on water supplies and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Delivering water and wastewater services is also energy-intensive, as the water is treated, pumped to homes and businesses, then pumped to wastewater facilities to be treated again. Water and wastewater utilities are typically the largest consumers of energy in municipalities, often accounting for 30 to 40 percent of total energy consumed. Implementing energy efficiency measures at water sector systems can significantly reduce operating costs and mitigate the effects of climate change. Only so much freshwater is available for consumption. To keep up with population growth, greater competition of resources, and early signs of climate change, drinking water suppliers need to adopt best industry practices for water efficiency, and new strategies that adjust for changes in water quantity and quality. From source to tap to the quantity of wastewater we must treat, it is important that we reduce the amount of water we use and manage our use of water more effectively. Water suppliers can also take steps to ensure adequate source capacity and system readiness for variable water quality.
Transportation and Sustainability
The climate debate and action often focuses on energy and industrial activity as the key sectors contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. However, the transport sector, which is responsible for one quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, with its emissions increasing at a faster rate than any other sectors, must be included in any effective policy response to climate change and in order to keep the global temperature increase below the two-degree Celsius. Furthermore, sustainable transport must be viewed and integrated as an essential ingredient in sustainable development strategies. Transport infrastructure lasts for decades, which means that the decisions that the local and national governments make today will have long-lasting impacts on urban development and form, as well as climate.
Droughts occur throughout Africa and in any year at least one region is experiencing drought conditions. We usually don't think of droughts in the same way as other natural disasters, such as floods or hurricanes. For example, no one knows for sure how severe a drought will be - until the rains return. But droughts can be more costly than other natural disasters. Preparing for natural disasters can greatly reduce the risks to health and the environment. Floods can contaminate drinking water sources whilst forest fires harm air quality and earthquakes, by damaging factories or storage facilities, can release contaminants where people live or into the environment. Nations can plan ahead to reduce risks and possible costs of storm-related spills or cleanup. Understanding risks will help speed recovery efforts and help keep problems from becoming worse. Large amounts of debris can present serious disposal problems for state and local communities.