Sustainable Urban Regions

Publications

The members of the inter- and transdisciplinary funding priority »Sustainable Development of Urban Regions« publish their research results in various types of publication, that are appropriate for the respective research and implementation.

Publications

The members of the inter- and transdisciplinary funding priority »Sustainable Development of Urban Regions« publish their research results in various types of publication, that are appropriate for the respective research and implementation. In addition, the funding priority itself issues different formats of publication in which the international researchers of SURE publish their results.

A chronologically ordered selection of SURE related publications can be found here. If you are interested in a comprehensive list, please visit the individual websites of the SURE projects!

Informal Settlement Resilience Upgrading-Approaches and Applications from a Cross-Country Perspective in Three Selected Metropolitan Regions of Southeast Asia

Sustainable Urban Regions

Managing climate change is synonymous to managing cities and their growth. To shoulder the challenge of climate change adaptation, informal settlement upgrading in the global south has amounted to the importance of being attuned with the growth of its city and region at large. Changing the paradigm of on-site upgrading to being community-driven and city-led with domestic funding unlocks potentials for community resilience building, especially in countries that strive for inclusive growth.

This research looks into informal settlement development dynamics and its resilience stance in conjunction of the metropolitan growth in three Southeast Asian countries. Greater Manila Area, Bangkok Metropolitan Region and Hanoi Capital Region serve as the backdrop for this investigation. The research mainly addresses informal settlement upgrading roles, mechanism and approaches for resilience building in these three metropolises, meanwhile also unveiling their city-regional development needs. The methodological approach of this study is highly participatory, demonstrating a hybrid of multi-spectrum stakeholder workshops, online surveys (due to COVID), expert interviews, project interim reports and correspondence with the local expert team in the three countries, etc. The paper attempts at providing a cross-country appraisal of the central strategies of informal settlement upgrading, related institutional constellations and upgrading applications along with the three metropolises’ urban development. This attempt accentuates the pressing needs of mitigating multi-facet vulnerability of informal communities, who are the most adversely affected by climate change and rampant urbanization. Further, this research will also reveal the mindset change of how decision-makers and the public contemplate upgrading objectives, e.g., recasting secure tenure instruments.

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Disaster Preparedness and Resilience at Household Level in Yangon, Myanmar

Sustainable Urban Regions

Resilience has become important in disaster preparedness and response. Unfortunately, little is known about resilience at the household level. This study presents the results of a survey into individual and household level preparedness to disaster events in Yangon, Myanmar, which is prone to natural disasters such as tropical cyclones, fooding, and earth‑quakes. The study aimed to understand societal resilience and to provide information that could be used to develop a holistic framework. In four different Yangon townships, 440 households were interviewed.

The results of the survey indicate how risk preparedness could be improved by specifc measures related to the following fve factors: (1) increasing the general public’s knowledge of first aid and its role in preparedness; (2) improving mobile phone infrastructure and capacity building in its usage so that it can be used for communication during disasters, along with building up a redundant communication structure; (3) better use and organisation of volunteer potential; (4) more specifc involvement of religious and public buildings for disaster response; and (5) developing specifc measures for improving preparedness in urban areas, where the population often has reduced capacities for coping with food supply insufciencies due to the high and immediate availability of food, shops and goods in regular times. The fndings of this survey have led to specifc recommendations for Yangon. The identifed measures represent a frst step in developing a more general framework. Future research could investigate the transferability of these measures to other areas and thus their suitability as a basis for a framework.

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Transdisciplinary Synthesis Research – Challenges and Approaches of Impact-Oriented Urban and Spatial Research

Sustainable Urban Regions

With the rapid urbanisation in Africa and East and Southeast Asia, the question arises how we can find adequate concepts for sustainability-oriented cities. In this context, urban and spatial research is more and more confronted with questions on how its results contribute to urban transformation and how the effects of transdisciplinary research projects can be measured. Since 2019, the BMBF has been funding ten projects in Southeast Asia and China under the umbrella of the SURE funding priority to provide impetus for the long-term implementation of sustainable urban development strategies. Part of the funding priority is the transdisciplinary Facilitation and Synthesis Research Project, which establishes a methodological approach to highlight the impact of urban research in the context of rapid urbanisation. For this purpose, an impact-oriented monitoring is proposed, which includes a reference framework whose theoretical and methodological conceptions are discussed in this article.

State of the Vietnamese Coast – Assessing Three Decades (1986 to 2021) of Coastline Dynamics Using the Landsat Archive

Sustainable Urban Regions

Vietnam’s 3260 km coastline is densely populated, experiences rapid urban and economic growth, and faces at the same time a high risk of coastal hazards. Satellite archives provide a free and powerful opportunity for long-term area-wide monitoring of the coastal zone. This paper presents an automated analysis of coastline dynamics from 1986 to 2021 for Vietnam’s entire coastal zone using the Landsat archive.

The proposed method is implemented within the cloud-computing platform Google Earth Engine to only involve publicly and globally available datasets and tools. We generated annual coastline composites representing the mean-high water level and extracted sub-pixel coastlines. We further quantified coastline change rates along shore-perpendicular transects, revealing that half of Vietnam’s coast did not experience significant change, while the remaining half is classified as erosional (27.7%) and accretional (27.1%). A hotspot analysis shows that coastal segments with the highest change rates are concentrated in the low-lying deltas of the Mekong River in the south and the Red River in the north. Hotspots with the highest accretion rates of up to +47 m/year are mainly associated with the construction of artificial coastlines, while hotspots with the highest erosion rates of −28 m/year may be related to natural sediment redistribution and human activity.

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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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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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