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The Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Sustainable Cities Awards encourage, motivate and celebrate the local sustainability achievements of urban communities across Australia. State and Territory finalists are announced mid year with the Australian winner announced in November. Nominations for the Sustainable Cities Awards 2013 are starting to open around Australia – to find out more visit Keep Australia Beautiful, then see “Our Network” for links to Keep Australia Beautiful in your State or Territory.
Asia’s cities have been the drivers of the economy and have lifted millions out of poverty. However, the environmental consequences of this rapid development are apparent, and the citizens of Asia’s urban areas are increasingly insistent that something should be done. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), of which Australia is a member, has developed its new Urban Operational Plan to support its developing member countries in more sustainable urban development. The ADB Green Cities book is intended to provide examples of how this challenge may be met.
The OECD working paper Financing Green Urban Infrastructure presents an overview of practices and challenges related to financing green sustainable cities. Cities are essential actors in stimulating green infrastructure, and urban finance is one of the promising ways in which this can be achieved. Cities are key investors in infrastructure with green potential, such as buildings, transport, water and waste. Their main revenue sources, such as property taxes, transport fees and other charges, are based on these same sectors, so cities have great potential to ‘green’ their financial instruments. At the same time, increased public constraints call for a mobilisation of new sources of finance and partnerships with the private sector.
Urban Ecology Australia exists to demonstrate and promote a more sustainable approach to the way we live. More people now live in cities than in rural areas, so if we are are to address major issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity and social equity, we need to focus on the urban form and look for ways in which we can improve it. Urban Ecology’s flagship ‘Ecocity’ development, Christie Walk in Adelaide, provides visitors with a tangible example of what is possible when good urban design is applied to the challenge of housing people in medium density near the city centre. Membership of Urban Ecology is open to anyone.
Cities in Europe face the challenge of combining competitiveness and sustainable urban development simultaneously. Very evidently, this challenge is likely to have an impact on issues of urban quality such as housing, economy, culture, social and environmental conditions. The main focus of urban research tends to be on the large ‘global’ metropolises. However, the vast majority of the urban population lives in medium-sized cities, and it is these cities that are the focus of European Smart Cities. 70 cities have been ranked using the six characteristics of smart governance, smart economy, smart living, smart mobility, smart people and smart environment.
C40 Cities is a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cities are the global centers of communication, commerce and culture. What our cities do individually and in unison can set the agenda for a sustainable future. C40 is committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. C40 global field staff work with city governments, supported by technical experts across a range of program areas. C40 includes the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – currently live in cities and by 2055 an estimated 75% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Cities present the world’s population with the best chance of reducing our ecological footprint. Climate Action, the UNEP supported communications platform for global business sustainability, is launching the Sustainable Cities annual publication in June 2012 at Rio+20 – the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. In the run up to and during the Rio+20 conference the Sustainable Cities Blog includes the latest news and developments from around the world, and there is also a publication content overview.
The 10th International Urban Planning and Environment Association Symposium (UPE10) aims to explore and compare how cities and regions around the world are promoting and planning for ecological sustainability, adaptation to new energy requirements and climate change, and social equity during processes of urban growth and transformation.
The State of Australian Cities 2011 report, released on 20 October, builds on the knowledge contained in the first report published last year and also brings together a raft of new data that compares Australian cities with each other and cities internationally. State of Australian Cities 2011 provides an evidence base to support the national urban policy released earlier this year.
The Gwangiu Cities Declaration sets the way forward towards the greening of cities through improved planning and intelligent management. Released at the conclusion of the Summit of the Urban Environmental Accords held in Korea on 11-13 October, the Declaration calls for the development of an Urban Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the UN Convention for Climate Change. It also recommends the development of metrics to measure and report urban sustainability and to encourage the development of policies, regulations and innovative market mechanisms to accelerate the transition towards greener urban development. The Declaration calls for action across five major sectors:
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