The GDRC Urban Sphere
We all like to live in cities ...

| Environment | Urban | Community | Economy | Information |
U rban areas are an enigma, an oxymoron of advantages and disadvantages, of good and bad, of happy and sad things ... On one hand, it is seen as a settlement of choice for an increasing number of the world's populance, but this is difficult to reconcile with the huge amounts of resources consumed and wastes generated. Larger issues of political inaction, lopsided policy formulation and decision-making have had negative impacts on the urban environment and the quality of life enjoyed by its residents.

Quite obviously, a pragmatic approach in maximizing the benefits offered by cities, and minimizing its negative impacts, is key to enhancing the sustainability of cities. The flagship theme page under the urban sphere deals with urban environmental management. The UEM pages look at urban areas as the intersection of natural, built, and socio-economic environments. GDRC's urban sphere also explores the themes of urban governance and urban heritage and conservation.

Themes under the Urban Sphere

Urban Environmental Management

More information on the WWW Virtual Libraries This GDRC programme is a designated 'WWW Virtual Library' on Urban Environmental Management
So what can we do with urban environments, since they are starting points for most global environment problems?
Description Keywords
With more than an increasing percentage of humanity (more than 50% in 2010) choosing to live in cities and adopting "urban" lifestyles, the challenges that cities face will be daunting. The relative advantages of cities in terms of agglomeration and compactness give way to disadvantages of environmental degradation and disproportionately large ecological footprints. urban environment, ecology, urban planning, urban design, green business, green building, urban management, environmental technology, alternative energy, waste, water, tourism
On the theme of urban environmental management, GDRC is currently looking at cities as "sustainable ecosystems". In order to reduce their ecological footprint, there are a number of step that urban residents need to take - to aim for a closed-loop recycling society. It has also covered a number themes including:

Capacity Building (Urban),   City Networks,   Disaster Management,   Ecological Footprints,   EMS for Cities,   Energy Management,   Environmental Education,   Environmental Management and Disaster Risk Reduction,   Green Construction,   Impact Assessment (Urban),   Information Pack on 3R Policies,   Integrated Urban Water Resources Management,   Japan Urban Observatory,   Life Cycle Analysis,   Multilateral Environmental Agreements and Cities,   Rainwater Harvesting,   Slums and Squatters,   SMEs and the Environment,   Sustainable Sanitation,   Sustainable Tourism,   Transportation (Urban),   Trialogue: The Big Three MEAs,   Urban Information,   Urban Planning,   Waste and Gender,   Waste Management,   Water Resources,   Watersheds (Urban),  

Urban Governance
So what is needed for good governance at the local level? Considering that most problems, conflicts and risks have a strong local dimension?
Description Keywords
The GDRC programme on Urban Governance looks at the issues of accessibility, accountability, transparency and efficiency within the governance orbits of a city/urban area. It looks at issues such as poverty, leadership etc. and its links to urban governance. governance, accessibility, accountability, transparency, efficiency, city, cities, urban, leadership, mediation, risk, conflict
Currently, GDRC is exploring the enabling of good governance by the concept of smart cities and technologies, as well as the core issues of accessibility, accountability, transparency and efficiency.

It has also covered a number themes including:

Gender Issues and Urban Governance, Leadership and Governance, Precautionary Principle, and smart cities.

Urban Heritage and Conservation
So what do we gain from preserving and managing heritage assets? What are the externalities of heritage conservation?
Description Keywords
Effective conservation of heritage resources not only help in revitalizing local economies, but also brings about a sense of identity and belonging to residents. This GDRC programme explores the various dimensions of heritage conservation from an urban perspective heritage, conservation, preservation, protection, restoration, culture, history, buildings
Currently, GDRC is focussing on the role that heritage conservation and management plays in overall urban development, with specific reference to urban tourism and economic development.