Sustainable Urban Regions

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Die Mitglieder des inter- und transdisziplinären Förderschwerpunkts »Nachhaltige Entwicklung urbaner Regionen« veröffentlichen ihre Forschungsergebnisse an den verschiedensten, für die jeweiligen Forschungen und Praxisanwendungen geeigneten Publikationsorten.

Publikationen

Die Mitglieder des inter- und transdisziplinären Förderschwerpunkts »Nachhaltige Entwicklung urbaner Regionen« veröffentlichen ihre Forschungsergebnisse an den verschiedensten, für die jeweiligen Forschungen und Praxisanwendungen geeigneten Publikationsorten. Neben den eigenständigen Projektergebnissen gibt der Förderschwerpunkt verschiedene eigene Publikationsformate heraus, in denen die internationalen Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler von SURE publizieren.

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Responding to Urban Water Challenges in Southeast Asia: Introducing Polycentric Management Approaches to Create Resilient, Water-Sensitive Cities

Sustainable Urban Regions

Cities in Southeast Asia (SEA) are exceedingly diverse, ranging from hubs of the global economy to small marketplaces in remote areas. Most countries in SEA, despite large regional disparities at the beginning of the 2020s, have made significant achievements on a number of indicators in the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) framework. For example, significant progress has been made in achieving SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure). The region has also achieved considerable success on the SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) indicator for “Access to safe drinking water services” in the last decade. However, little progress has been made on almost all other water-related subgoals, as is also the case with SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (climate action) [1].

The success of Agenda 2030 will mainly be decided in cities. By 2050, nearly 70% of humans are expected to live in urban areas, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends, and intensifying the economic, social, environmental and cultural challenges and opportunities. In its shared vision for a better and more sustainable future, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) underlines the importance of water for the development of cities and human settlements. Urban planning processes should incorporate integrated water resources planning and management, considering urban-rural linkages, at the local and territorial scales, ensuring the participation of multiple sectors, stakeholders, and communities. The NUA calls for strengthening the role of small and intermediate cities in enhancing food security and nutrition systems, providing access to sustainable, affordable, adequate, resilient, and safe housing, infrastructure and basic needs services, and facilitating effective trade links across the urban-rural continuum [2].
Many secondary and tertiary cities and towns in SEA are experiencing rapid but quite often insufficiently planned and managed developments which result in major challenges: the sustainable protection of water resources; the reduction of vulnerability to climate change and disaster risks; and the effective provision of water-related public services for all citizens. In other words, they are struggling to establish more livable, climate change-resilient and inclusive cities. Often insufficiently equipped with institutional capacities, effective management and financing models, adequate administrative mandates and effective procedures, many city administrations in SEA find it difficult to develop and maintain efficient and sustainable water infrastructure, to ensure the comprehensive provision of water related public services, and to protect their water resources. Furthermore, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on urban residents has drawn more attention to the spatial and socio-economic aspects of cities [3].

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The dynamics of vegetation and implications for ecosystem services in the context of urbanisation: An example from Huangyan-Taizhou, China

Sustainable Urban Regions

Urban sprawl and associated land use changes have been referred as primary drivers of environmental change. Yet it is unclear in detail how land use changes impact vegetative structures or ecosystem services and what the specific drivers of change are, especially in urban-rural interfaces in medium-sized Chinese cities. Our future contribution is intended to highlight the importance of urban-rural interfaces for sustainable land use and the development of ecosystem services.

To this end, we mapped the dynamics of land cover and the condition of vegetation as well as ecosystem services based on remote sensing data for the period of 1992–2020, to quantify these changes in Huangyan district, Taizhou, China. The results show a dramatic increase in urban area over the 28-year timeframe, i.e. 265% growth in Huangyan district. This rise was particularly evident in the period of 2015–2020. The huge expansion in urban area came at the cost of arable land. To compensate the resulting loss of farmland, large-scale natural ecosystems such as forests, grasslands and wetlands were continuously transformed into arable (as well as urbanized) land. Despite the dramatic reduction in green space as a result of urbanisation, we found a slight increase in the overall mean NDVI value for Huangyan, mainly due to the improved condition and density of remaining forest area in the western countryside. Further, we evaluated the provision of ecosystem services (ESS) by adapting an existing assessment methodology elaborated by Burkhard et al. (2012). The results show that ESS supply continually fell in Huangyan since 1992, reflecting a reduction of green space. The highest ecosystem capacity is seen in recreation and biodiversity due to the large proportion of forested area. Our findings serve as an important basis for further investigations in the region of Huangyan by framing the general issue of green space dynamics and highlighting specific developments of ecosystem distribution and change as well as ESS supply.

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