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 collaborative projects!

URA Periodical Issue 2 - Dialogues

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The URA periodical is an annual open-access publication, which will accompany the Sino-German research and development project Urban-Rural Assembly (URA, 01LE1804A-D), sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the FONA program Sustainable Development of Urban Regions (NUR). By combining scientific texts and essays, photographic works, and/or ethnographic studies including interviews, spatial mapping and drawings, the URA periodical will seek to bridge academic, practice and policy discourses around global sustainability challenges and integrated planning and governance approaches at the urban rural interface.

Towards a Sustainable and Water Sensitive Kratié, Cambodia / Executive summary of Baseline Study – findings and recommendations

Towards a Sustainable and Water Sensitive Kratie Cambodia

With increasing economic integration in the region and more bridges crossing the Mekong River in the vicinity of Krong Kratié, there is significant development potential as a regional centre and as an eco-tourism-based destination. At the same time, its development challenges are exemplary for other secondary and tertiary cities in Cambodia.With the urban development of the last thirty years, public services and infrastructure (road construction, electricity supply, water supply, etc.) have been substantially improved. This has provided good foundations for the Krong’s future development. Significant challenges remain for the development of efficient infrastructure, such as effective storm water and waste water management systems.

While grey infrastructure development is crucial for the development of Krong Kratié, alone it will not solve the existing and upcoming water challenges: Grey infrastructure can only meet a certain range of the Krong’s and peri-urban areas’ urban water management needs in addition to the challenges of long-term financing and sustainable operation as identified by the World Bank, for instance. What is required is the coordinated and integrated development of green-grey infrastructure. The Krong’s existing wealth of green infrastructure should be perceived as a strategic "asset" for infrastructure and urban development. However, the importance of these ‘natural’ areas for the city and its residents is little understood beyond being a source of supplementary income for many of the city’s poorer residents as reported during qualitative household conversations. The city's economic development and liveability is highly dependent on the sustainable management of its ecosystems and its water resources. These have come under pressure in the wake of increases in population and urbanization over the past century. Initially, population increases contributed to the loss of tall trees and vegetation in the urban area as timber was traditionally used for construction. Later modern building practices favouring the use of concrete contributed to the filling of low-lying urban areas and the loss of permeable
surfaces. Furthermore, these pressures may increase considerably due to the manifestations of the impacts of climate change. Currently, the Boeung Meleach and Boeung Kbal Dun Saong (lakes) behave as natural ecosystems providing a variety of benefits to citizens including evaporative cooling. Possible interventions in the future can decrease the goods and benefits provided by such ecosystems. Compared to other larger cities in Cambodia, such as Siem Reap and Battambang, the urban area of Krong Kratié has relatively little tree and vegetation cover, and along with building stock development and sealing, the city is heating up. The current low level of green spaces and shaded paths offer little opportunity for residents and tourists to spend time in the open, even during the daytime, limiting the types of activities and businesses that can take advantage of foot traffic. With a changing climate, negative impacts on public health and the loss of liveability and attractiveness of the city may further increase.

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Towards a Sustainable and Water Sensitive Sariharjo, Sleman, Indonesia / Baseline Study and Strategy Development

Tpwards a Sustainable and Water Sensitive Sariharjo Sleman Regency Idonesia

The Regency of Sleman is part of the Yogyakarta Special Administrative Region KPY). Along with Indonesia's dynamic economy, KPY is, as with other secondary cities in Indonesia, an essential crystallization point for the economic and social development of Southeast Asia's largest economy. In future, KPY will most likely be able to significantly strengthen its position as a center for higher education and research and as a center for services in tourism, commerce, and the digital economy, etc. At the same time, small-scale agriculture, which has shaped the region's economy and culture for centuries, is increasingly being marginalized. KPYs urbanization dynamic is accompanied by profound land-use changes and a deep socio-economic transformation. This implies profound ecological, economic, social and cultural transformation processes in the whole region.

These developments will translate – if inappropriately managed – in to serious impacts on common and equal prosperity, public health, ecosystems and the livability of human settlements. The 86 villages of the Sleman Regency with its population of 1,125,804 residents (2020) face increasing water challenges in the context of increasingly dynamic urbanization. Water-related basic-needs services, inclusiveness and the livability of these increasingly urban villages must be ensured. The fundamental socio-economic, cultural, and environmental transformation of villages that is a daily experience already require new approaches to village or urban development and the management of local water resources. This is a challenge that will be intensified in view of the impacts of climate change. Located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta and in the Ngaglik sub-district of SlemanRegency, Sariharjo Village exemplifies the process of change in many parts of the Sleman Regency. As with many villages of the Regency, Sariharjo shows how a traditional agrarian social structure and water use patterns will become more urban posing significant challenges for sustainable water management. This dynamizing change has an increasing impact on the villages’ water resources. Challenges that may be even exacerbated by climate change impacts. Similar to the whole of Sleman Regency, Sariharjo is experiencing increasing pressure on its water resources.

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Towards a Sustainable and Water Sensitive Sam Neua Town, Laos / Baseline Study and Strategy Development

Sam Neua Laos Study

This study aims to help national and local stakeholders in Laos build a qualitative and quantitative understanding of "water" within urban development dynamics of Sam Neua town by providing information on current water resources, water use patterns, water-related risks, and existing and emerging challenges. Therefore, it gives support to localise SDGs in Sam Neua. It contextualizes existing and upcoming challenges to governance structures and management systems for urban water resources and water-related public services in the context of socio-economic development challenges, current and emerging public and private sector investment regimes, and key drivers, such as climate change. This provides a scientifically sound basis for informed decision-making with regard to the realization of the vision of a “green, clean, and beautiful Sam Neua” in the field of the management of urban waters.

The following is an overview of the key findings and derived from this, of strategic intervention areas for water-sensitive development of Sam Neua town.

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Smart technology supporting traditional and bioclimatic building functions in reducing cooling energy demand in Cambodia.


Cambodia has been experiencing significant urbanisation, economic and population growth over the last decade with projections showing that this trend will continue until 2035 and beyond.1 Moreover, buildings are responsible for one third of the total final energy consumption in Phnom Penh and with increasing housing needs, no intervention will inevitably lead to an exponential increase both in energy consumption especially for cooling, and in related emissions. Furthermore, despite the low penetration rate of air-conditioning (AC) in the country, according to the International Energy Agency, AC sales have doubled between 2015-2018...

Sustainable Building Arenas: Constructing a Governance Framework for a Sustainability Transition in Cambodia's Urban Built Environment


Transition governance approaches for the building sector have been discussed for more than a decade. Very little work has however moved beyond the socio-political contexts of
the Global North to scrutinize the spatial-institutional challenges of sustainability transitions in the Global South, or more illiberal contexts. Consequently, this paper introduces a transition governance framework, a Sustainable Building Arena (SBA), that addresses the contextual particularities of the urban building regime and its de/stabilizing factors in the case of Cambodia to inform transformational change.

The design of the SBA draws on the literature on urban transition management, transition management in the Global South, as well as transdisciplinary transition management arenas, and extends these concepts to Cambodia’s urban built environment. It furthermore builds upon the results of an extensive analysis of the sociotechnical system and an evaluation of residential buildings in Phnom Penh, including indoor environmental conditions. The SBA is conceptualized as an informal institution and as a
protected and co-creative space at the science-policy-business-civil society interface. It allows sustainability-minded but often marginalized actors to co-produce and pluralize knowledge – including the co-development of problem framings, visions and transition strategies – and facilitates cooperation, as well as the creation of alternative discourse coalitions and networks of social capital. Overall, the paper argues that such scientifically grounded and participatory processes, that are attentive to and designed for the particular spatial-institutional context, can indeed support the development of actionable knowledge, the empowerment of marginalized actors and support collective action for transformative change in the built environment sectors in contexts outside the Western liberal norm of transition studies

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