Desenvolupament sostenible

Sustainable development, is a process for meeting human development goals while maintaining the ability of natural systems to continue to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived most strongly from the 1987 Brundtland Report, it is rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concernsSustainable development is the organizing principle for sustaining finite resources necessary to provide for the needs of future generations of life on the planet. It is a process that envisions a desirable future state for human societies in which living conditions and resource-use continue to meet human needs without undermining the “integrity, stability and beauty” of natural biotic systems.

Urban Sustainable Development Approaches of Three Different Cities: Copenhagen, Newcastle, Vienna

European Sustainable Development Network, 2014

Cities are generally considered as engines of growth and development (Keivani, 2010) and already contribute up to 55% of gross national product in low-income countries, 73% in middle-income countries and 85% in high-income countries (UN-Habitat 2006). However, cities also consume 75% of the world’s resources and produce 80% of CO2 emissions (UN-Habitat 2005). In 2050, if in a world of 9,3 billion people, two thirds of them will be living in urban areas, we will need to make sure that those cities and urban areas are sustainable and independent from ‘business-as-usual’ paths of development and growth.

For what concerns Europe in particular, in 2011, 73% of its population was living in urban areas. By 2050, Europe’s level of urbanization is projected to be at 82% (UNDESA, 2012). Cities and urban areas are, therefore, crucial to make progress towards a more sustainable Europe, and, hence, reflecting on the processes of urbanisation represents a necessity in this context.

This case study directly relates to our work on the ESDN Quarterly Report No. 31 that explores the topic of urban sustainable development as a crucial aspect of the post-2015 agenda. We provide examples of how urban SD looks like on the ground by presenting the experiences of three European cities: Copenhagen, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Vienna. Our main intent is to show a number of good practices and tangible examples about the work undertaken in these cities that relate to sustainability in the urban sphere, reflecting not only on the environmental pillar, but also on economic and social aspects. This case study offers good practice examples of urban SD in Europe. The case study is neither a summary of best practice examples nor is it representative on what European cities do with regards to urban SD. Its main aim is to provide examples on how urban SD concepts are implemented in different cities with different contexts. This case study complements ESDN Case Study No. 15 that provides a general overview on urban SD initiatives on the global and European level.

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Why the world needs an urban sustainable development goal

Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) 2013

In June 2013, three major reports on the post-2015 development agenda were issued, by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and the Global Compact. All three reports agree that the post-2015 development agenda needs to focus on sustainable development andfinish the job of ending extreme poverty in all its forms. Each report underscores the importance of cities and urban development, but they differ markedly in how they propose to address urban issues in the design of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Only the SDSN proposes a stand-alone urban goal, while the other reports suggest that urban challenges be addressed as part of sectoral goals and targets. The UN Secretary General’s report to the General Assembly, issued in July 2013, also highlights the importance of sustainable cities and the positive role of SDSN members and partners in paving the way forward towards a post-2015 agenda.

This note outlines the case for a stand-alone urban SDG. It explains why alternative approaches that treat urbanization as a “cross-cutting” issue and spread urban issues across separate goals for infrastructure, social services, and environmental sustainability would fail to mobilize cities or address the essential role that urbanization must play in sustainable development.

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Promoting sustainable urban development in Europe. Achievements and opportunities

European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional Policy, 2009

Cities and metropolitan areas are the motors of economic growth and home to most jobs. They play a key role as centers of innovation and the knowledge economy. At the same time, urban areas are the frontline in the battle for social cohesion and environmental sustainability.

European regions largely profit from the cities’ enormous potentials for increased competitiveness and employment. With over 70% of Europeans living in urban areas, cities are at the heart of Cohesion Policy interventions seeking to exploit Europe’s full economic capacities. To facilitate or to indeed start this process, cities often need support in overcoming existing obstacles to growth. The development of disadvantaged urban areas is often an important step in unleashing economic powers by creating more exclusive and attractive business environments.

Cohesion Policy plays and will continue to play an important role in this complex system. Indeed, the role of city-focused operations and strategies expands in the new 2007-2013 programming period as the urban dimension is now fully integrated into the Cohesion Policy operational programmes. Building on the experience and strengths of the URBAN Community Initiative, Member States and regions have been given the possibility to design, program and implement tailor-made, integrated development operations in all European cities. Two generations of URBAN Community Initiative programmes have demonstrated the value of this integrated approach in around 200 cities across Europe. Elements such as cross-sectoral coordination of actions, strong horizontal partnerships, increased local responsibilities and the concentration of funding on selected target areas constitute key success factors of the URBAN Community Initiative, and a common European ‘Acquis Urbain’. The current programming period takes up this successful approach, and suggests spreading this methodological concept to cities and regions across Europe. Therefore, it is also at the core of the JESSICA initiative for loan-based operations in cities and the URBACT programme for sharing best practice on integrated urban development.

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Strategies for Sustainable Urban Development and Urban-Rural Linkages

European Journal of Spatial Development, 2014

Peri-urbanisation may become the dominant 21st century challenge for regional and city planning and design. The peri-urban is a zone of social and economic change and restructuring, a zone of intensive and sometimes even chaotic development. It is not just an in-between or edge space at the urban fringe; rather it is a new kind of hot-spot multi-functional landscape for urban renewal and development.

This paper presents an outline of the policy agenda and research approaches to periurbanisation, addressing a set of peri-urban development trajectories ranging from urban shrinkage to controlled polycentric growth with some emphasis on urban sprawl. The results refer to the PLUREL project, one of the largest recent research projects on periurban issues carried out in recent years, which included more than 35 organisations with over 100 actively involved researchers and stakeholders.

The paper begins by outlining the current dynamics, possible future scenarios and the potential problems arising from peri-urban transition. Following this, urban development strategies and policy responses are addressed, including integrated planning approaches, compact cities, green and blue infrastructure, and agriculture/food supply. A final section discusses these issues in the light of experiences from six European and one Chinese case study region.

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Sustainable Urbanisation. Achieving Agenda 21


Today, half the world’s population lives in towns and cities. Urbanisation is associated with economic growth and development, providing vital opportunities for economic and social advancement and poverty reduction if well managed. However, it can also pose major threats to the achievement of sustainable development, in particular because of the environmental and other adverse effects of intensive resource consumption and poor management.

Sustainable urbanisation is a dynamic, multi-dimensional process covering environmental as well as social, economic and political-institutional sustainability. It embraces relationships between all human settlements, from small urban centres to metropolises, and between towns and cities and their surrounding rural areas. In this document, the main challenges to achieving sustainable urbanisation are identified and recent experience of promising approaches to planning and managing urban areas reviewed. These demonstrate a range of ways in which urbanisation can contribute to sustainable development. Because the key responsibility for achieving sustainable urbanisation lies with local governments and their partners at the local level, the most critical action needed is to build local capacity to better manage urban growth and change. Many initiatives to strengthen local capacity are already under way, at both national and international levels, and the priority must be to make them more effective by increasing the synergy between them and improving coordination between the organisations involved.

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Towards sustainable urban development. A strategic approach

European Union’s Sustainable Urban Development Co-operation

The central objective of the European Community’s development co-operation policy is poverty reduction and ultimately its eradication, through sustainable development and the progressive integration of Third World countries into the global economy. There is a need to promote local ownership and social reform, the integration of the private sector and civil society into the urban development process. These are the main objectives of sustainable urban development

These Guidelines for the European Union’s Sustainable Urban Development Co-operation represent an important step in efforts to improve conditions in towns and cities. European Union partners in Third World countries confront these issues critically. The Guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Expert Group on Urban Development from Member States and the Urban Development Reference Group of the European Commission. They give emphasis to the need for responsive, participatory and transparent urban governance and effective and efficient urban management.

The basic objectives of the Guidelines are to provide a framework for effective support for urban development and to create sectoral projects in urban areas to improve their overall performance and impact. The Guidelines demonstrate that investment of co-operation funds in urban development can contribute effectively to both, urban and national development.

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