SURE at Urban Transitions 2022

SURE Facilitation & Synthesis Research Project

The SURE Facilitation and Synthesis Research project will contribute to the Urban Transitions Conference 8 – 10 November in Barcelona with two paper presentations. The first will be on the topic „The use of AI in sustainable urban development research: Natural language processing (NLP) usage in urban research, a comparative analysis between different AI engines“. The other presentation will be about „Science and fiction: Evolution and future trends in sustainable urban transformation in Southeast Asia and China.“.

Urban Transitions 2022 aims to promote healthy urban development by bringing together different disciplines working within cities, including world-leading experts on urban and transport planning, architecture, environmental exposures, physical activity, and public health and governance, to discuss current challenges and solutions.

Abstract „The use of AI in sustainable urban development research: Natural language processing (NLP) usage in urban research, a comparative analysis between different AI engines“

Cities have been drivers of learning, culture, and innovation over centuries, and due to the ongoing rapid urbanization, they are also the primary source of climate change. The growing dynamism and complexity of cities set challenges for sustainable development, and pressure decision makers and researchers to act. The abundant urban data and the advancement of technologies transform how urban researchers can study cities and sustainable development. In Natural language processing (NLP), a form of artificial intelligence, computers process (written) language and deliver structured data, uncovering or creating categories, classification, entities, keywords, sentiment, emotion, relations, and syntax. NLP has demonstrated capabilities of harvesting copious textual data generated in cities. However, systemic review studies suggest employing NLP to study cities and their sustainable development is in an incipient phase.

This paper is a record of a comparative study on the results of feeding the BIM Watson and the Monkeylearn NLP engines with secondary data and research findings from the SURE ‘Sustainable Development of Urban Regions’ funding priority’s collaborative research projects. The SURE programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), promoting applied research. Ten collaborative projects within the SURE framework develop concepts and test locally implementable solutions and strategies for sustainable transformation of fast-growing urban regions in Southeast Asia and China. The funding priority and the ten projects are accompanied by the SURE Facilitation and Synthesis Research project that aims to create new conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and translational innovations that integrate and move beyond discipline-specific approaches to address the issue of sustainable urban development.

Abstract „Science and fiction: Evolution and future trends in sustainable urban transformation in Southeast Asia and China.“

The development of urban areas in Southeast Asia and China faces challenges that stem from growing dynamism, complexity, and pressure to act. Rapid urbanisation is a key driver of the depletion of natural resources and climate change and, at the same time, makes cities particularly vulnerable to rising global temperature, sea-level rise, and the increase of extreme weather events. Hence, it is crucial that cities are the drivers of transformation toward resiliency and solutions to climate change for a better urban future.

Following the call for new collaborative approaches that puts people first in the urban and rural developments aligned with the SDGs localisation and the New Urban Agenda, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funding priority SURE» Sustainable Development of Urban Regions« promotes applied research. Ten collaborative projects within the SURE framework develop concepts and test locally implementable solutions and strategies for sustainable transformation of fast-growing urban regions in Southeast Asia and China. The funding priority and the ten projects are accompanied by the SURE Facilitation and Synthesis Research project that aims to create conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and translational innovations that integrate and move beyond discipline-specific approaches to address the issue of sustainable urban development.

The synthesis research of the ten projects employs state-of-the-art technology and transdisciplinary methods to uncover dormant knowledge („Unknown Knowns“), identify open questions and problems („Known Unknowns“), and outline solutions and trends for future research on sustainable urban development. The study follows a keyword and trend analysis of the past and current sustainable development policies, implementation trends, and utopia, dystopia climate- and science fiction analysis to identify future topics. The research correlates the findings of three explorative analyses to identify evolution patterns, extreme cases, gaps, solutions, and research trends for sustainable urban transformation research, education, and practice.

 

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