26 November 2019

Research pick: Reviewing a sustainable global future - "Urban planning and sustainable cities"

A review of the state-of-the-art in urban planning for sustainable cities has been undertaken by Rosario Adapon Turvey of Lakehead Universit in Orillia, Ontario, Canada. Details are reported in the International Journal of the Sustainable Society and suggest that challenges and current perspectives discerned from the research literature might point the way towards a sustainable future based on a thorough understanding of the trends and developments taking place around the world.

“Recent intellectual inquiry has centred on the conceptualisation and knowledge production in creating sustainable cities,” Turvey explains, while pointing out that although the current review may not be exhaustive it does reveal the current progress. The ultimate goal, she writes, is to provide local authorities, practitioners and/or city governments with some perspective and guidance in working towards urban sustainability in the future.

Research into sustainability has grown considerably in the last few decades. Indeed, great rigour has emerged since the 1980s and the discipline is maturing quickly. “Sustainability has been taken as a planning concept that had its beginnings in ecological thinking and economics and now widely applied to studies in urban development,” she adds. Of course, by turns, it has been considered an oxymoron, overworked jargon, and hyperbole. Nevertheless, there is a pressing need to focus on sustainability if we are to surmount many of the problems of fuel and water supply, food security, and to address the problems we face as climate change becomes an increasingly pressing reality.

“As environmental concerns become part of development discourses, there is a need for optimism in the eventual refinement of the process to create ‘sustainable cities’ in the future,” Turvey concludes.

Turvey, R.A. (2019) ‘Urban planning and sustainable cities’, Int. J. Sustainable Society, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.139–161.

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