WSDS 2021 - Thematic Track, Day 3

 Planning Cities for a Sustainable Future

COVID-19 has paused the whole world and inter alia forced all of us to stop and to re-think how our cities should function. It has reminded us that global challenges need local long-term solutions that are equipped to support liveable and healthy cities. Urban areas are core drivers of social and economic growth, that contribute about 60% to the global GDP. However, cities also account for over 60 % of the resource use. Moreover, cities face a number of urbanization challenges including air pollution, high levels of noise, improper waste management, and poor water quality that pose serious threats to the quality of life. Climate change impacts, such as extreme weather events also cause disruption in urban services and damage to infrastructure facilities. Thus, cities must seize the opportunity to resolve these divergent challenges for a sustainable future. Cities across the globe have addressed these challenges through various planning strategic approaches over the years, and in order to pave way for a sustainable future, learning from these past experiences and transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces is critical. The need of the hour is thus to have a holistic approach towards the planning and management of cities that can integrate best practices and address the needs of the cities sustainably.

Towards this path, European and Indian cities can collaborate and develop sustainable urban solutions together. For instance, the “EU-India Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025” between the European Union (EU) and Government of India encompass ambitious objectives to support smart and sustainable cities and promote investments in sustainable urbanization, climate action and disaster risk reduction. It also addresses challenges for ensuring effective solid waste management, developing effective water supply and sewage systems, and innovation in housing. This also aligns with the Smart Cities Mission and the ClimateSmart Cities Assessment Framework by the Indian government which focuses on aspects, such as waste and water management, green buildings, mobility, air quality and urban planning to enhance the liveability and sustainability of cities.

For achieving the global targets of Sustainable Development goals, a holistic planning approach is required. This session thus aims to provide a platform for policymakers and practitioners to discuss their past experience with addressing different urbanization challenges through strategies, policies, governance mechanisms, planning and implementation. This session will also focus on global partnerships and initiatives at the metropolitan scale that can be leveraged for sustainable urbanization, and help in improving quality of life, protecting the environment and biodiversity, and enhancing resilience towards pandemics and other global challenges.