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Vast urban growth makes sustainable planning critical: UC researcher

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Source: University of Canberra

Integrated planning is the key to manage nearly 10 billion people who will live in cities by 2050, if the planet's resources are to be conserved and cities and regions liveable, according to University of Canberra Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Barbara Norman.

In her new book Sustainable pathways for our cities and regions: Planning within planetary boundaries, Professor Norman details this looming crisis and shares seven sustainable pathways to face it.

The pathways include planetary boundaries, long-term vision and targets, adaptive integrated planning, national strategies, net zero carbon precincts, collaboration and evaluation, plus green growth.

Professor Norman said that, when considering that within a generation, the world will need to build the equivalent of a city with a population of a million people every five days until 2050, urban planners and policy makers will need to increase their commitment to deliver sustainable plans for cities within planetary boundaries.

“Planetary boundaries is a concept to define a safe operating space for humanity, based on several processes such as climate change, biodiversity, land system change, ozone loss, ocean health and so on.

“It is a foundation for us to start running an environmental health check for every city and region. It will create a way for cities to be part of a larger planetary effort towards sustainability.

“It’s expected that, within about 30 years, the world will have at least 10 cities with populations over 20 million people. These megacities will put strains on the environment and there will be growing inequalities within and between cities,” she said.

But Professor Norman said there’s reason to be optimistic if action is taken now. In her view, the world’s current cities play a critical role in countering issues like climate change.

Cities produce 76 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions and account for 75 per cent of energy use worldwide; and it is cities that will be at the heart of achieving the aim to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

“Taking the right action now could set us on the right track to have a real shot at delivering sustainable cities, where the needs of people and the planet will be coexist in harmony,” she said.

Professor Norman’s book will be launched tomorrow by the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, in Canberra.

WHAT: Book launch – Sustainable pathways for our cities and regions: Planning within planetary boundaries with author Professor Barbara Norman and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP.

WHEN: TOMORROWWednesday, 14 February, 12.30pm – 1.30pm.

WHERE: Committee Room 1R1, Parliament House, Canberra

* Please note registration and appropriate security clearances for Parliament House will be required for attending media.

  • Professor Norman is available for interview on 0424 155 133.

Contact the University of Canberra media team:

Marcus Butler: 0438 447 810

Claudia Doman: 0408 826 362