Sustainability in Westeros: King’s Landing’s Quest to Become a Green City

Dubrovnik, Croatia, where HBO’s Game of Thrones films scenes of King’s Landing. Photo by Víctor González/Flickr.

This post includes spoilers from season 4 of Game of Thrones.

KING’S LANDING, West. – King Tommen of House Baratheon has signed a decree that will work to make King’s Landing the most sustainable city in the Seven Kingdoms. The decree shocked many, as the capital city has long faced problems with waste management and pollution.

The king has asked his small council to create a Sustainable City Working Group to spearhead the efforts. First on their list: better the living conditions of the communities located outside the city walls. City officials will work to improve sanitation in these settlements and ensure residents have access to clean water. 20,000 gold dragons have also been allocated to repair existing living quarters and build new dwellings in Flea Bottom, one of the poorer areas of the city. The city is recommending that residents purchase additional rushes to better insulate the floors of their home.

King’s Landing is suffering from water and air pollution, clouding the sky and poisoning Blackwater Bay. Image Credit: IBAlex

Air pollution is another ongoing health issue in King’s Landing, with smoke from the many cook fires clouding the sky around city. Many have expressed concern that now that winter is coming, the pollution will only get worse.

“With winter upon us, I can only imagine how hard it will be to breathe once every home is lighting their fires,” one resident of Pigrun Alley told TheCityFix. The city hasn’t outlined a specific plan for reducing wood burning, but has said that it is “exploring ways to improve insulation in city buildings” and is “actively researching wood that produces less smoke when it burns.”

The decree also focuses on reducing food waste, and the Working Group will explore ways to reuse waste from royal events. With another food shortage in sight, preventing starvation will help the city avoid more riots.

The City Watch will work to improve mobility in the busiest areas of the city. During tourneys and other events, the city is often overrun with visitors, creating congestion in the streets and squares of King’s Landing from pedestrians, horses and carts. To reduce equestrian traffic, each horse stabled in the city will be assigned a number, with odd-numbered horses assigned to “Odd” days, and even-numbered horses dedicated to “Even” days. The small council has decided to rely more on ravens—rather than riders—to send out messages.

Copyright © Jeffrey L. Ward / Bantam and or Random House, Inc.

After the Battle of the Blackwater several years ago, the city has struggled to contain the wildfire that still coats the shore by the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. Hundreds of sea birds and fish washed ashore in the months following the battle, and communities bathing in the river have reported skin irritations and rashes.

King Tommen acknowledges the public’s concerns about the feasibility of the plan, but is confident that King’s Landing will be a model of sustainability for years to come.

“From this day on, the Hand, small council and I will work tirelessly to restore Blackwater Bay to its former glory and clean up King’s Landing. In the years ahead, swimmers will return to our banks, fishermen will catch bounties of fish and visitors from all lands will flock here to lay their eyes upon the pristine views from our capital city.”

Happy April Fool’s Day! This year, we’re taking a look at the fictional city of King’s Landing from the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the HBO series “A Game of Thrones” to see what a sustainable city would look like in the kingdom. To learn more about the city where the show is filmed, take a look at this behind-the-scenes video.  

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