Urbanie & Urbanus

Issue 2020 Jan

Sustainable Cities

Editor’s Note

The impact of climate changes brought about through rapid urban development and infrastructural growth should be a matter of grave concern for all those working across this urban spectrum. Countries within Asia on average dedicate 41% of total energy consumption towards building construction.

How can the built environment respond to the need for a more sustainable approach? Whilst involving a complex range of issues, one key aspect is understanding the relationship between each element of the built environment and sustainable development policy. The built environment is largely determined by the communities that dwell there and the buildings reflect the needs of the individuals and different key actors, physical and social structure, and the physical location of the structures (Bentley, 1999; Carmona, 2003; Lee, 2002).

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), published by the United Nations last year in 2019, include 17 focus points that emphasize how sustainability should mean more than the direct focus on the protection of the environment. Following their publication many countries are aligning their national policies and institutions behind the SDGs in order to improve people’s lives in the face of armed conflicts, humanitarian and environmental crises, as well as economic, financial and climate challenges.

These goals advocate a long-term vision for catalyzing positive change for sustainable cities and communities, in a way that can address the current lack of change in public and private investment in sustainable development. It is crucial to think critically and precisely how to achieve responsible and sustainable communities, environment and cities.

Given the need for a collective determination for achieving sustainability in urban visions, this issues of the U+U journal provides a series of short articles from scholars and practitioners for discussing new models and new possibilities for both designers and decision makers, and also guide sustainable design alternatives in relation to architecture, urban design, planning theory and practices.

The notion of sustainability can be defined not as some fixed perfect state, but rather an evolving one that responds to both ecological change and change in the form production process. This means that sustainable development is a process of change in which exploitation of resources, the orientation of technological developments and institutional change are all in harmony. This process is about creating a learning environment in which all participants strive to improve the situation that exist for the needs of today and tomorrow, acknowledging aspirations as well as needs and therefore engaging the drive for change and improvement within society. This vision is also an expression of the integrated values and perspectives the inhabitants of each city have for what should be sustained.

In conclusion, the creation of a sustainable city requires a consideration for a more sustainable version of urban life that shares a common purpose among different users, designers, decision makers and the natural environment. Each of the papers within the journal take a different perspective on these multiple facets and hopefully will give you a picture of where the sustainable city is currently standing.