With 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, particularly on the environmental front.
The relative advantages of cities in terms of agglomeration, proximity and compactness give way to disadvantages of environmental degradation (wastes, pollution and emission)and disproportionately large ecological footprints (resource and energy consumption).
Take any of today's environmental problems faced by humans, and its causes and pressures can easily be traced back, directly or indirectly, to urban areas. The forces and processes that constitute 'urban activity' have far-reaching and long-term effects not only on its immediate boundaries, but also on the entire region in which it is positioned.
These are some of the challenges that GDRX's Urban Environmental Management research programme explores within a number of subthemes (listed below).
urban environment, urban planning, green building, urban management, environmental technology, alternative energy, squatters and slums, transportation, tourism, waste, water.
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 covers a number of themes within UEM, 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