Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series
Edited by Angus Morrison-Saunders, Jenny Pope and Alan Bond
Chapter 9: Cities and sustainability assessment: resilience and sustainability thinking about the future of cities
Urban planning is still mostly driven by population and economic growth forecasts to justify the need for new or expanded infrastructures. Concerns with urban environmental and social issues are certainly increasing on the agenda, but economic growth is still largely seen as the enabler of well-being. Increasing sustainability concerns with this model of city development have led over the last few years to emerging city sustainability approaches, both in developed and in developing countries, albeit their priorities being different. In the regions of the world that still experience high demographic growth rates, we observe the continuing expansion of the size of cities, accommodating high fertility rates and incoming rural populations, with arguably insufficient physical infrastructures and limited social inclusiveness. Where fertility rates have slowed down, or even reversed, cities get more focused on rehabilitation to increase competitiveness, while still planning to accommodate a growing culturally diverse incoming migrant population, with large social and economic gaps, and social inclusiveness becoming even more acute (Florida, 2009; Stiglitz, 2013). In western world cities where basic water quality and supply, sanitation and waste disposal are problems under management control, the effects of climate change, as well as income distribution, poverty and social stresses, become the major problems.
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