February 08 2013

Adopting A New Sustainability Model: Nottingham Goes Green

What is sustainability? Without using Google, that may be hard to answer, even for experts. Surely achieving something that one barely understands could prove to be evasive in success. Regardless of this, a multitude of world class cities set out to achieve the unknown. Nottingham, like many British towns, finds itself locked in the pursuit of this unrooted concept.

Each year The Sustainable City Index ranks Britain’s twenty largest city’s sustainability efforts. Nottingham is ranked on three areas:

Nottingham's Sustainability Rankings

In crucial areas, Nottingham scored poorly. How can Nottingham improve its ratings and achieve true sustainability? More importantly, what is really needed to achieve sustainability?

Environmental Performance

  • Air Quality: To reduce CO² emissions, Nottingham can become a bike-friendly city, while offering transportation alternatives such as car sharing and extending the tram line;
  • Ecological Footprint: Nottingham’s fast fashion district hinders its goals of achieving sustainability. Recycled clothing is the best alternative until the fashion industry fosters a more sustainable model;
  • Energy Efficiency: Deployment of smart metering via government regulation coupled with workshops to foster growth and support development.

White Rose


  • Local Food/Allotments: The originator of the ecological footprint analysis and professor of community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia, William E. Rees injects the idea of self-reliance being key to sustainability. The key to Nottingham’s sustainability efforts will be through creating more independence with food markets.

Food Stand Nottingham United Kingdom

Quality of Life

  • Education: Successful cities need a well-skilled population to support their economy. Nottingham’s struggles with economy and employment is imputed to their stark inability to employ graduates from the city’s two leading universities. Competing with larger cities, like London, is no easy task. Nottingham must commit to retaining its skilled graduates, which can breathe new life into the economy with innovation and startups while creating industry distinction.

The very essence of sustainability must be stitched into the very fabric of a city’s cultural values. It must be at solidified with commitment and backed by skilled human capital and environmentally conscious citizens.

Given the chance, what areas would you like to tackle for Nottingham’s future?

Credits: Photographs by Michael Jenkins. Image and data linked to sources.

Michael Jenkins

An Oakland, California native, Michael Jenkins is a recent post graduate from the University of Nottingham Business School with a Masters in Business Administration. Jenkins’ interest in urban regeneration and town planning sprouted during a visit to China. It was there that Michael met with firms that combined business consulting with innovative urban designs stimulating economic growth. He believes economic development can be generated through the connections between city council, local business, and education as he saw modeled in China. Currently residing in Nottingham, England, Michael spots similarities between Nottingham and Oakland, as well as opportunities for development and growth. He aims to bring transformational solutions for city improvement. Michael's areas of focus lay within town planning, urban regeneration, and human capital. During his off time, Michael enjoys backpacking, outdoor adventures, vinyasa yoga, and completing items off his bucket list. For more, follow him on twitter @ClaudeMJenkins

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 9:37 am and is filed under Energy, Environment, Environmental Non-Profit, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “Adopting A New Sustainability Model: Nottingham Goes Green”

  1. Nick Danty Says:

    I know Nottingham is 4th in environmental performance, however air quality seems a bit low. Is there a “no burn” day there, where controlled agriculture burns and residential fireplace usage are not allowed on certain days? In my ignorance I don’t even know if there is a robust ag sector or if fireplaces are widely used. Just a thought.

  2. Michael Jenkins Says:

    Hello Nick! First thank you for taking the time read the article as well as responding.

    Nottingham at the moment does not have a no burn day. I do not believe this is a huge contributing factor to the poor air quality. The combination of heavy car use, old factories, and and inefficient buildings are the major contributors.

    This is the reason why the article suggested that care sharing would be a viable option to help promote better air quality. This is something that is big in San Francisco, Portland, and here in Great Britain with Glasgow I believe.

    The options are limitless, but there needs to be full commitment from the local council.

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