Sustainable cities and human settlements

EcoWASTE Exhibition is the leading international platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for advancing sustainable waste management and recycling. EcoWASTE Exhibition brings together leading local and international experts and providers with key buyers and decision-makers. This directly supports SDG 12, including target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
The International Water Summit (IWS) is a global platform for promoting water sustainability in arid regions by bringing together world leaders, field experts, academics and business innovators to accelerate the development of new sustainable strategies and technologies. Videos from the 2017 summit cover a wide range of technologies and innovations which support SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.
This Article extends the theory of so-called “neighbourhood effects” to explain the health of people living in slums; authors note that although densely populated neighbourhoods can promote the spread of disease, they can also amplify the benefits of interventions because beneficial effects are shared across many people. This neighbourhood effect is likely to offer increasing returns to investments to create a healthy environment and should be capitalised on to achieve SDG 3. The paper identifies how slums should be included in censuses to identify local priorities for action.
This article addresses the health needs of slum residents, who are at an increased risk of developing mental health problems, non-communicable diseases, malnutrition, infectious diseases, and injuries due to violence. Children are especially vulnerable, as malnutrition can lead to stunted growth and impaired cognitive development. Slum health is under-represented in the scientific literature, despite an estimated doubling of slum populations by 2030, from today’s figure of 1 billion. Addressing the health-care needs of people living in slums will be vital to achieving SDG 3 and is related to SDG 1.
Thirty years of public health research have demonstrated that improved indoor environmental quality is associated with better health outcomes. Recent research has demonstrated an impact of the indoor environment on cognitive function. In high-performing buildings additional benefits to health and productivity may be obtained through green certification. This relates to SDGs 3, 9 and 11.
The development of new high-efficiency magnets and/or electric traction motors using a limited amount of critical rare earths or none at all is crucial for the large-scale deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and related applications, such as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and e-bikes. This article shows that the permanent magnet synchronous-traction motor (PSM) remains the technology of choice, especially for hybrid vehicles (HEV and PHEV). Better material efficiency and a larger adoption of motors free of rare earths have the potential to reduce the pressure on rare earths supply for use in electric road transport applications. Reduced reliance on rare earths supports both SDG 9 and SDG 11.

Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 28, 2017, Pages 450-452

This paper discusses the CO2 footprint of California’s drought during 2012–2014. The authors show that California drought significantly increased CO2 emissions of the energy sector by around 22 million metric tons, indicating 33% increase in the annual CO2 emissions compared to pre-drought conditions. They argue that CO2 emission of climate extremes deserve more attention, because their cumulative impacts on CO2 emissions are staggering. Most countries, including the United States, do not have a comprehensive a nationwide energy-water plan to minimize their CO2 emissions, therefore the authors argue that developing a national water-energy plan under a changing climate should be prioritized in the coming years.

Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Volume 20, 2016, Pages 402-406

Aquaponics is an innovative smart and sustainable production system for integrating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable crops, that can play a crucial role in the future of environmental and socio-economic sustainability in smart cities. Aquaponics can play a key role enabling local production with short supply chains in the cities. This contributes to sustainable production addressed in SDG 12 as well as the connection to SDG 2.
Polluted air was responsible in 2015 for 6·4 million deaths worldwide. Can walking or cycling in polluted cities negate the health benefits of exercise by increasing exposure to airborne pollutants? This systematic review in The Lancet Public Health by Magda Cepeda and colleagues provides a clear answer to this question: it compares exposure to carbon monoxide, black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, and fine and coarse particles between commuters using active and motorised transport. The study provides important insights to support target SDG 3.9 to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air.

Futures, Available online 19 October 2016

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is vital for advancing the SDGs. This paper looks at transformative learning that prepares students for societal change. The discussion is grounded both in theories about hope from disparate scientific disciplines and in empirical research about young people’s hope concerning global climate change. These insights particularly inform SDG 4.7 to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, as well as SDGs 3, 11 and 13.