Rain Jordan elaborates on how Urban Experimentation may help Develop Better Sustainable Policies as per a study that addresses the notion of urban sustainability observatories. This is all very well for the developed countries of the world but what about those that are developing. For instance, cities of the MENA region that have emerged against a backdrop of harsh environmental conditions, scarce natural resources, and limited arable land would nowadays be in great need of what is proposed here.
The above image for illustrative purpose is of The BMJ.

Study Shows How Urban Experimentation May Help Develop Better Sustainable Policies

In the twenty-first century, humanity is undergoing revolutionary transformations, including rapid urbanization, the advent of disruptive mobility technology services, and new data sources created and consumed by urban and mobility processes.

However, given the complex structure of urban systems and the multidimensional, disputed character of sustainability goals, these new mobility services’ environmental, social, and economic sustainability consequences remain unknown. 

Urban Sustainability Observatories

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Kelly Clifton, Kristin Tufte, and John MacArthur, all of Portland State University’s TREC, are co-authors of a Harvard Data Science Review paper published in May 2021. The feature, titled “Urban Sustainability Observatories: Leveraging Urban Experimentation for Sustainability Science and Policy,” outlines the criteria and research problems involved in developing successful policies to achieve cities’ sustainability goals.

The study addresses the notion of urban sustainability observatories, which use continual data gathering and analytic capabilities to leverage urban experimentation.

The researchers also go through the difficulties of constructing and maintaining these observatories and how the university, community, and industry collaborations may create effective observatories that act as essential drivers of research, technology transfer, and commercialization.

Decades Long Efforts

Since 1991, when an expert committee was established for that purpose, achieving urban sustainability has been one of the primary aims of European Union policy. Consequently, several research requests were held in this area during the fifth, sixth, and even seventh Framework Programmes.

According to the findings, indicators of urban sustainability were shown to be the most effective means of measuring urban sustainability and defining a set of sustainability targets.

Recent Sustainable Actions

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In the last ten years, cities have grown at an unprecedented rate. As a result, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, with the United States accounting for 80 percent.

By grouping creative, inventive, and educated individuals and companies, cities have grabbed more than 80% of global economic activity and provided millions of social mobility and economic success. However, clustering populations may exacerbate both excellent and bad factors, with many contemporary cities facing rising inequality, debility, and environmental deterioration.

In recent decades, urban sustainability concepts have driven development in urban and metropolitan regions to attain higher social, economic, and environmental sustainability standards.

Reducing Emissions

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The primary objectives are to reduce urban carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on resource and energy use in developing, operating, and maintaining the built environment.

Practitioners and academics in the field of urban sustainability are constantly developing and implementing new approaches. Examining the range of innovative techniques that have been adopted in certain metropolitan regions might give insight into whether and how these methods might be adapted and applied in other cities.

Modern Approaches

Using such new approaches and practices also necessitates recognizing that cities exist within the planet’s finite resources; hence, attaining urban sustainability necessitates recognizing linkages among places and the consequences of actions.

The goals implicitly guided actual actions in energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy generation, which are all three components of 100 percent renewable energy generation.

Related Article: How to Live Sustainably Today? Just 5 Ways!