Search Results for: Rio+20

Rio + 20 – governments fail to lead on sustainable development

Sustainable development? East Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Rio +20 summit was widely ignored by the world’s political leaders – the clearest possible statement that they have no intention of providing leadership on sustainable development. Similarly, the media devoted scant attention to the event – in marked contrast to the coverage given to the landmark 1992 gathering, or the 1972 summit in Stockholm. So what actually happened at Rio and where does it leave planners and others whose work it is to deliver more sustainable forms of development? Read more on Rio + 20 – governments fail to lead on sustainable development…

Rio +20 – Time to create a storyline

New Orleans after the 2006 flooding: a reminder of the economic costs of not working with the environment.

Next year will see the twentieth anniversary of the landmark UN “Earth Summit” that was held in Rio de Janeiro. Will the 2012 “Rio +20” summit in Brazil next June become a new landmark or an epitaph for environmentalist dreams? What strategy should planners and the other built environment professions adopt if they are to have their voice heard? Rio 1992 – The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 achieved some consensus around the idea of sustainable development. It endorsed the ideas of the Brundtland Report that had been published five years earlier. Of course, there were plenty of critics who felt that the agreements reached at Rio did not go far enough, and that the phrase “sustainable development” was an empty one that would permit continuing exploitation of the earth’s finite resources under a light green veneer.

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Why the world needs an urban post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal

Cape Town 1995Will the UN adopt a post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal addressing urbanisation and human settlements? The draft for the new goals will be agreed early in June, before going to the UN General Assembly for what is expected to be formal endorsement. Thus this month is crucial, and planners, other construction professions, urban researchers and civic bodies need to be making their voices heard quickly. Read more on Why the world needs an urban post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal…

Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012

I would like to award the prize for the best contribution to environmental sustainability for 2012 to Hurricane Sandy. Sandy single-handedly managed to convert more American citizens to the threats posed by climate change than any number of scientists, scientific publications or politicians. By dumping extreme weather on the US eastern seaboard, massively disrupting transport and business, and above all by providing great TV pictures, it made a strong case in many different ways. Read more on Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012…

New housing floorspace will be the area of the Netherlands by 2025

Rapid urban growth and new business opportunities: Kuala Lumpur

The next generation is going to witness a staggering amount of new urban development as the world’s economic centre of gravity shifts towards Asia. Cities in both developed and rapidly urbanising countries need professional planning if they are to prosper. Companies serving consumer markets should grasp the significance of the growing urban middle class and its diversity. Urban analysis is increasingly necessary for business success. These are the main messages from a dramatic new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). Read more on New housing floorspace will be the area of the Netherlands by 2025…

New possibilities for using scenario planning tools

Data modeling, Image courtesy ULI

Scenario planning tools are increasingly being used in North America as means of community engagement. The state of the art is reviewed in a new publication that attracted attention at the recent American Planning Association conference in Los Angeles. The development of web-based GIS and mobile phone technologies opens the prospect of a rapid emergence of new techniques that could fundamentally change the way we do planning. Read more on New possibilities for using scenario planning tools…

2011: a review

Looking at planning and economic development from a global perspective, 2011 was a year that posed more questions than it answered. At the level of headlines, there was little to raise the spirits or to make you confident that the world is on a more sustainable track. Governments still struggle to grasp why urbanisation is a strategic issue. The de-regulatory temper in England has echoes elsewhere. Depressed economies and austerity measures have set back regeneration and stalled housing markets. However, the quiet work of professionals and NGOs still has some bright lights and maybe points a way ahead.

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The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities

Resource-efficient cities need to look after their city centres through design that keeps them attractive: Seventh Street, St.Paul, Minnesota

One of the positive outcomes to emerge from the Rio+20 summit last year was the UN Environment Programme’s Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GI- REC) In trying to plot a way towards sustainable urban development it aims to reduce pollution and infrastructure costs while improving efficiency in cities across the world. The GIREC will work with local and national governments, the private sector and civil society groups to promote energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other activities. Read more on The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities…

Planning a growing metropolis: Lahore

DSCF1906 (800x600)Last week I was in Pakistan, speaking at an international conference on Town Planning and Urban Management. It was an opportunity to revisit Lahore for the first time in 20 years and to experience the grandeur and vibrancy of this great city, which encapsulates the opportunities and challenges of rapid urbanisation in this part of Asia. Read more on Planning a growing metropolis: Lahore…

Might territorial cohesion be the answer to the UK’s constitutional crisis following the Scottish referendum?

IMAG0112The last week here in UK has been dominated by the referendum on Scottish independence. Although the “No” side won by a clear margin (55/45%) the issues behind the referendum have not disappeared, and now there is a political discussion at Westminster about devolution across the UK. Meanwhile, last Wednesday I was speaking in Colwyn Bay at an ESPON on the Road  event that focused on small towns in Wales. In my presentation I drew on EU data that shows why the UK now faces a crisis of territorial cohesion. Read more on Might territorial cohesion be the answer to the UK’s constitutional crisis following the Scottish referendum?…