The environmental protection brings together social, economic, moral and political considerations. Urban management must take these considerations into account and incorporate the following principles:
Environmental limits. Uncertainty about the environmental threshold of the earth's carrying capacity requires the adoption of the precautionary principle and calls for demanding management.
Environmental efficiency. Reducing the use of natural resources, increasing durability and closing resource loops will contribute to long-range environmentally compatible urban management.
Welfare efficiency and equity. Multiple use and social and economic diversity, as well as a fair distribution of natural resources are key elements to be considered in urban planning.
To reconcile continuing development with environmental limits mankind must choose certain types of development rather than others. Efficiency has meanings beyond maximizing the economic output of each human being. Human benefit is not necessarily identical to utility as measured by neo-classical economics. Quantity of goods should be replaced with quality of life. Environmental protection is closely connected to social equity.
Natural building materials
Natural building has emerged as a response to an increasing concern for our built environment. Natural materials can provide an alternative to toxic substances which have led to widespread environmental illness. While interest has surged in the industrialized West, the ancient roots of natural building are being lost in many traditional areas. Ironically, builders in the industrialized countries are now turning to these very cultures for solutions to their building problems. It is to be hoped that increased interest and research into vernacular building systems will increase respect for these timeless ideas in their native lands, and through diligent efforts by a number of people, many of these techniques are indeed being revived, studied and implemented throughout the world.
As natural building and design is still in its infancy, the state of the art is in constant flux as practitioners and techniques, hitherto isolated, are identified and brought into partnership with others. Most popular natural building techniques and materials include: adobe, bamboo, compressed earth, earthen floors, light straw-clay, natural fibres, living roofs, natural plasters and finishes, paper blocks, rammed earth, straw bale construction, thatch. wattle and dauband wood.
Many of the European city problems could be resolved by paying greater attention to the environment. Architecture and urban planning based on environmental preservation are the only option for maintaining quality of life and preventing lasting environmental damage. Pollution reduction, waste minimization and energy conservation can be furthered through environmentally friendly urban design and construction. Awareness of these issues and information on possible opportunities existing worldwide are vital to the development of new possibilities and new scopes in restructuring urban and agricultural areas, as well as human settlements in general.
Bio-architecture links the appreciation of the environment and biodiversity with urban design and planning. Bio-architecture also promotes the use of materials and techniques, which are environmentally sound, culturally sensitive and reliant on local resources and skills. A "Biopolis" functions as a model for the harmonious co-evolution of humanity with the bio-environment. It is based on the application of clean energy sources (solar, wind, hydrogen, etc.), cleaner production and environmentally friendly materials, and protection of bios aims at creating a self-sufficient, aesthetically pleasing urban environment with an active participation of every member of society in arise the conservation of nature.