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Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri

This chapter presents the theme, theoretical approaches and overview of the chapters in the book. The theme is the contribution of cities (their actors) to increased sustainability in social-technical systems, eventually by accelerating sustainability improvements. The selected systems are energy, transport and healthcare. Cities may act as the cradle of key inventions, as places of up-scaling and commercialization and as places of quick adoption, though few individual cities take up all these roles. Next, several urban innovation theories are introduced, including agglomeration and cluster theories, and the relational (collaboration) approach, with the aim to ‘position’ the chapters. Specific attention is given to the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Complementary approaches are institutional and governance perspectives, in particular with respect to cities acting as institutional innovators. A final approach is the evolutionary approach, as invention, up-scaling, commercialization and adoption of new technology are concerned with long time-lines and manifold uncertainties.

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John Stanley, Janet Stanley and Roslynne Hansen

What makes for a great city in the 21st century? If one aspires to a vision like that of Vancouver, as we do, what does it actually mean and how can a city best realise its vision? Questions such as these are the reason for this book, focusing on cities in highly developed western economies and working from a perspective that sees the idea of integrated planning as a core starting point. This chapter outlines some of the important trends we have observed in urban land use transport planning in recent years, such as: a growing sustainability focus; more attention being paid to structural economic changes and how they affect the spatial structure of cities; the growing importance of neighbourhood, adding a local lens to strategic planning; the interest in compact settlement patterns and in how knowledge of built form and travel interactions can be used to promote this settlement pattern; putting transport in its place, as a servant of land use, rather than letting it determine wider urban outcomes ; and, an increased interest in governance and funding. Our interest is in identifying how the growing knowledge base in such areas can be brought together more effectively, to deliver better urban outcomes. This underlines the vital role we see for a broader, more integrated approach to strategic urban land use transport planning. Subsequent chapters explore improved practice in some detail, with extensive use of case study material.