Tag Archives: urbanization

New Paper on a Conceptual Framework for Urbanization Climate Change Typology

Title: A conceptual framework for an urban areas typology to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Authors: William Solecki, Karen C. Seto, Deborah Balk, Anthony Bigio, Christopher G. Boone, Felix Creutzig, Michail Fragkias, Shuaib Lwasa, Peter Marcotullio, Patricia Romero-Lankao & Timm Zwickel.

Urban areas are key sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and also are vulnerable to climate change. The recent IPCC Fifth Assessment Report illustrates a clear need for more research on urban strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, missing from the current literature on climate change and urban areas is a conceptual framework that integrates mitigation and adaptation perspectives and strategies. Because cities vary with respect to development histories, economic structure, urban form, institutional and financial capacities among other factors, it is critical to develop a framework that permits cross-city comparisons beyond simple single measures like population size.

The primary purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework for a multi-dimensional urbanization climate change typology that considers the underlying and proximate causes of GHG emissions and climate change vulnerabilities. The paper reviews some of the basic steps required to build such a typology and associated challenges that must be overcome via a demonstration of a pilot typology with nine case study cities. The paper shows how the proposed framework can be used to evaluate and compare the conditions of GHG emissions and climate change vulnerability across cities at different phases in the urbanization process.

Urbanization; Typology; Climate change; GHG emissions; Vulnerability

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Viewpoints: Critical perspectives for examining urbanization and sustainability in China

Peilei Fan
Michigan State University, USA

shutterstock_147075746 (1)The rapid urbanization of China is an event unparalleled in human history.  Fueled by a near-continuous rural-to-urban migration, the country’s urban population has leaped from a mere 18% in 1978 to 54% in 2013.  The effects of this process are evident in a variety of ways; for example: satellite images of the Earth at night have revealed the intense increase in the illumination of China, indicating the fervent expansion of urban built-up areas.  Traveling through the country exposes one to the uninterrupted urban/suburban landscapes of the many urban agglomeration clusters, such as the Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou), the Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong), and the Bohai Sea Region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei). Remote sensing images reveal the alarming rate at which agricultural land is being subsumed by this wave of growth.

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New Book: Untamed Urbanisms

Untamed UrbanismsEdited by Adriana Allen, Andrea Lampis & Mark Swilling

One of the major challenges of urban development has been reconciling the way cities develop with the mounting evidence of resource depletion and the negative environmental impacts of predominantly urban-based modes of production and consumption. This book aims to re-politicize the relationship between urban development, sustainability and justice, and to explore the tensions emerging under real circumstances, as well as their potential for transformative change.

For some, cities are the root of all that is unsustainable, while for others cities provide unique opportunities for sustainability-oriented innovations that address equity and ecological challenges. This book is rooted in the latter category, but recognizes that if cities continue to evolve along current trajectories they will be where the large bulk of the most unsustainable and inequitable human activities are concentrated. By drawing on a range of case studies from both the global South and global North, this book is unique in its aim to develop an integrated social-ecological perspective on the challenge of sustainable urban development.

Through the interdisciplinary and original research of a new generation of urban researchers across the global South and North, this book addresses old debates in new ways and raises new questions about sustainable urban development. It will be of interest to researchers, city managers and a wide range of policy actors in government, civil society and the private sector.

An electronic version of this book is available via Open Access. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license.  Click here to order a hard copy.

Viewpoints: What Kind of Property? Landownership in the Urban Century

shutterstock_224077699Harvey Jacobs
University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Globally, we have multiple examples of how urban and environmental resources can be owned, controlled and managed differently than the classic 18th century model would suggest, and perhaps more in line with the proposals of Earth Day-era reformers. And this is true even in the developed world. In the U.K. in the mid-20th century the right to change the use of land – especially urban land – was taken away from all individual land owners and vested with the public to provide a broader perspective on what is in the best interests of the community as a whole (Haar 1951). Today, proposed land use changes are negotiated between an owner and a public authority, and if the authority denies a proposed change, such a decision is largely accepted. Similarly the Netherlands has a multi-decade tradition and experience with the idea that property rights are shared between the private and public spheres, and the public interest must be afforded a significant voice in land use decisions (Needham 2014). So alternate notions exist and can be feasibly implemented.

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IHDP Summary for Decision-Makers: Coastal Zones and Urbanization



The last IHDP publication has finally been published! The Summary for Decision-Makers: Coastal Zones and Urbanization, was written as a collaboration between UGEC and LOICZ (now Future Earth – Coasts). Authors include UGEC Executive Officer Corrie Griffith, UGEC SSC Member Darryn McEvoy, and UGEC Project Associates Andrea Lampis, Mark Pelling, and Debra Roberts. Click the cover image to download the PDF.