Sustainable cities and human settlements

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 aims to "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable." This goal acknowledges the growing importance of urban areas, as it's projected that by 2050, nearly 70% of the world's population will live in cities. Consequently, cities bear significant implications for sustainability, economic growth, and societal wellbeing.

Inclusivity is a key feature of sustainable cities. This refers to equitable access to opportunities, public services, and amenities, regardless of a person's background or circumstances. It implies the availability of affordable and adequate housing, thus addressing issues of homelessness and substandard living conditions.

Safety in cities means ensuring urban environments that protect their inhabitants from both physical harm and psychological distress. This involves addressing crime rates, traffic accidents, and potential hazards from poor infrastructure, while also considering the impacts of noise, pollution, and overcrowdedness on mental health.

Resilience is another important aspect, particularly in the face of climate change. Resilient cities can withstand and quickly recover from shocks such as natural disasters or economic crises. This involves aspects such as resilient infrastructure, disaster risk reduction strategies, and adaptive capacities at the community level.

Sustainability, finally, requires cities to function in a way that doesn't compromise future generations' ability to meet their own needs. This includes sustainable urban planning to reduce environmental impact, promote energy efficiency, and conserve resources. It also considers the importance of green spaces for biodiversity and the wellbeing of urban residents.

SDG 11 is interconnected with many other SDGs. For example, sustainable urban transport systems contribute to SDG 13 (Climate Action) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, ensuring access to green and public spaces supports SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being).

Achieving sustainable cities and human settlements requires cooperation and participation from various stakeholders, including government authorities, urban planners, businesses, and citizens. Through their collective efforts, cities can be transformed into hubs of sustainability, resilience, and inclusivity, contributing significantly towards the realization of the SDGs.

The chemical industry needs to significantly decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality goal. Utilization of CO2 as a chemical feedstock for bulk products is a promising way to mitigate industrial emissions; however, CO2-based manufacturing is currently not competitive with the established petrochemical methods and its deployment requires creation of a new value chain.

Elsevier,

Disaster Resilience and Sustainability, Adaptation for Sustainable Development, 2021, Pages 1-20

This book chapter advances SDGs 9 and 11 by explaining how increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters in Asia have become a huge challenge to achieve sustainable development. The main purpose of this chapter is to capture the multidisciplinary and multisectoral aspects of disaster resilience, adaptation strategy, and sustainability, and connect existing data, research, conceptual work, and practical cases on disaster risk management and its linkage with sustainable development under a common umbrella.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Loss and Damage studies have tended to focus on rapid-onset events with lesser attention to slow-onset events such as drought. Even when discussed, narratives around droughts emphasize implications on rural populations and there remain empirical and conceptual gaps on drought impacts in urban areas. We focus on losses and damages associated with urban drought and water insecurity through a review of interventions and policies in seven Asian countries. We find evidence of urban droughts leading to tangible losses (e.g. groundwater over-extraction, economic impacts) and intangible losses (e.g.
The multifaceted relationships that exist between communities and the environment in Fiji are increasingly threatened by the cross-temporal impacts of climate change. Recent literature on the relocation of vulnerable communities as a means to avoid slow-onset climate change impacts in Fiji highlights the complexity of these relationships and the range of considerations that must be factored in when assessing relocation options and strategies.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
This article synthesizes recent empirical literature on human mobility linked to slow-onset impacts of climate change. Through a review of the CLIMIG database from 2015 to 2020, it assesses the state of knowledge on human mobility related to slow onset events by distilling peer-reviewed articles across world regions, with particular attention given to developing country contexts.
This book chapter advances SDGs 11, 13 and 15 by discussing how arctic natives learned to cope with their environments but are now faced with the threat of the climate crisis.

This paper aims to contribute to the limited understanding and recognition of soil ecosystem services (SoES) in spatial planning. In light of its critical role in climate crises and due to its global degradation, soil has drawn considerable attention in the recent global agenda. As one of its vital services, soil serves as a terrestrial carbon pool, which significantly contributes to offset greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere (EEA, 2012).

Protected areas have become a vital component of the global biodiversity conservation strategy due to the increasing extinction and vulnerability of different species in the 21st century. In Ghana, besides the shared governance of protected area management, there also exists the governance by indigenous community models in which traditional structures (clans and stools) use taboos, deities, totems, and myths as tools in managing protected areas. To study the effectiveness of the various governance systems in protected area management, we compared species diversity, vegetation structure, and biomass stock of an area under shared governance (wildlife sanctuary) to communal governance (sacred grove).

Sea level rise and land subsidence — induced flooding are projected to have severe impacts on highly populated Asian deltaic cities. These cities are already suffering from frequent floods, though few comparative analyses have been conducted on the similarities and differences of their adaptation approaches. Thus, this study aims to investigate the current adaptation pathways of Asian deltaic cities to flooding induced by slow onset events such as urbanization-induced land subsidence and sea level rise, by looking at Tokyo, Jakarta, Manila, and Ho Chi Minh City as case studies.

The inclusion of people with intellectual disability in cultural and civic activities is an important point for discussion, particularly in the context of supporting the social sustainability of our local communities and cities. In line with a human rights approach to disability and inclusion, local governments and community organisations are poised to play a pivotal role in the inclusion of people with intellectual disability.

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