Future Sustainable Cities: How Can Universities Lead the Way for Sustainability?

Oct 29, 2010, 17:17 ET from Swedish Institute

STOCKHOLM, October 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Cities will never be the same. With more than 5 billion people projected to live in cities in 2030, there is a need for innovative ways to meet the challenges related to climate change and maintain a liveable environment. The year 2010 is by the UN designated to be "The International Year of Biodiversity", which represents an opportunity to highlight the role of biodiversity and ecosystems in reducing the effects of climate change.

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On October 18, Swedish and Chinese scientists and urban planners met at a seminar in Shanghai as part of the Expo 2010. The seminar, arranged by the Swedish Institute (SI) in cooperation with Fudan and Tongji University, the Consulate General of Sweden and Stockholm Resilience Centre explored how universities can address solutions to urban growth and climate change challenges.

More precisely, how can universities take the lead in the development as sites for experimentation, demonstration and learning? As for example in the Albano Campus Challenge - a project aiming to be the world's first university campus based on resilience principles. During the seminar, Swedish and Chinese Keynote speakers gave different perspectives on the part universities can play in sustainable urban planning. Questions that were analyzed and discussed were:

    - In what way can universities take the lead in developing sustainable
      cities?

    - What are the new challenges for scientists, policy-makers and urban
      planners?

    - How can knowledge about ecosystems change the way we plan and change
      our cities?

    - What learning processes are needed?

    - How can sustainable development be integrated in all university
      education and practice?

During the panel discussion scientists drew interesting parallels between the cultural and ecological values of campuses and the scientists all agreed that it is a question of leadership in order to change the way we plan and organize the campuses for the future. In the concluding remarks, Christine Alfsen from UNESCO reminded the audience about the different aspects of the significant role of university campuses; as learning environments but also as social, cultural and political meeting points.

    Speakers:

    - Prof. Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm Resilience Centre

    - Prof. Zhao Qiguang, Director of Chinese Culture Centre Tongji
      University,

    - Prof. Lena Neij, Head of the International Institute for Industrial
      Environmental

    - Economics, Lund University:

    - Prof. Björn Malbert, Mistra Urban Futures, Gothenburg

    - Prof. Zeng Qun, Vice President of Architectural Design & Research
      Institute, Tongji

    University

    - Asst Prof. and architect Lars Marcus, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

    - Architect Jonas Torsvall, KIT Arkitektur

    Links:
    http://www.si.se
    http://www.stockholmresilience.org

SOURCE Swedish Institute