Earth Observation in Urban Monitoring - Chapter 16: Nature-based solutions and ecological urban planning and design for the sustainable urban environments

Elsevier, Earth Observation in Urban Monitoring Techniques and Challenges, 2024, Pages 339-358
Shilky, Ekka P., Upreti M., Kumar A., Saikia P.

Anthropogenic alterations in land use and land cover are causing irreversible losses of ecosystem services on Earth’s surface. The planet is urbanizing at a rapid pace, and 68% of the world’s population would live in cities by 2050 causing major challenges, such as urban heat islands, floods occurrences, environmental pollution, waste generation, and lack of wildlife habitats. Cities rely on natural landscapes and seascapes, including protected areas to provide basic ecosystem goods and services including food, clean air and water, and protection from floods, coastal storms, and other natural disasters. Nature-based solutions (NbSs) serve as an umbrella concept for various nature-based sustainability initiatives including a broader range of interventions and interpretations of green infrastructures and ecosystem-based adaptations. This chapter advocates the role of ecological urban design in providing sustainable solutions to major environmental challenges that society is facing and foreseeing in the upcoming decades as a result of rapid urban sprawl. Decisions about urban transformation should be guided by urban goals that are preferably in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to encourage transformative and integrated initiatives. Sustainable urban planning and design (SUPD) aim to balance the environment with the sociocultural, economic, technical, legislative, and overall well-being of the society to fulfill all aspects of humans and environmental sustainability by the application of resilient technology, ecological engineering, and scientific approach. The goal of SUPD is to maintain a balance between the environment and the sociocultural, economic, technical, legislative, and general well-being of human society. This chapter emphasized the strategic approaches of SUPD and various NbSs to maintain urban ecological sustainability.