With development accumulating at a rapid pace, cities continue to grow in number. Right now, urban areas dominate the globe with more than half of the current population being urban. It comes as no surprise that the influence of the cities in the status of our climate is colossal. Most of the carbon emissions come from urban areas. Given this, it could spell bad news if no counteracting measures will be executed to regulate these emissions.
Now more than ever, urban research must be intensified. In their paper published recently, Nature science journal highlights actions urban researchers and developers should take in order to create strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation.
In order to gain more insights on how cities impact the environment, a wider expanse of data is required. “Urban observatories,” cities with heightened research capabilities forming a global network would amplify the amount of data we can gather. Not only this, a global network of research-oriented cities will allow new technologies to be harnessed in improving the quality of information gathered. Such a network will also provide a system of checks and balances that will facilitate the verifiability of research findings.
Understand Climate Interactions
Studying climate is difficult, with so many variables to take into account at the same time. Research must also be dedicated to disentangle the interactions between human activities and the environment and gain insight. With more understanding in city-climate interactions, we can resolve city-specific problems to a laser point accuracy.
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Study Informal Settlements
Policies and solutions must be formulated to make informal settlements resilient to potential climate-related risks. These marginalized neighbourhoods are highly vulnerable to hazards, meaning they require more attention than what might be needed for the developed sectors in the city.
Harness Disruptive Technologies
Urban researchers must take advantage of digital development in the cities. With the information and technology at their disposal, they should explore how the interaction of various factors in the city yields a positive or negative impact. Using this knowledge, researchers should direct the city with methods, schemes, and standards which would drive positive change.
Cities must actively seek promising local innovations and scale them up as viable solutions. These innovations can then be transferred to other cities so that the development will be shared and at the same time hastened.
Recognize Global Sustainability Context
Cities must develop a globally-oriented mindset in terms of the actions they choose to take. They should recognize the influence of the changes in cities in the surrounding, less-developed areas. Cities should pursue solutions which include other sectors so that positive development is not bounded to the cities.