ABSTRACT

This chapter explores some of the ideas, innovations and inspirations for developing more sustainable pathways for our cities and regions. It is an optimistic chapter, discussing an array of leading examples implementing sustainable development. It also discusses the critical importance of civic engagement and the positive role of innovative organisations connecting civil society, government and the private sector. The United Nations SDGs, the New Urban Agenda and the World Economic Forum all identify that one of the greatest challenges facing our future is the development of a more sustainable urban world. And as cities grow into larger city-regions, there is more urgency to develop national perspectives on urban settlement supporting subnational and local urban and regional planning. It also means finding local practical sustainable pathways that can be applied more widely. Leading examples are discussed on the key themes of climate change, urban mobility, green networks, culture and heritage. More broadly the contribution of green growth is discussed in the regional context. Clearly all these dimensions need to be connected to make a city or city-region more sustainable. There are also many other factors, including health and well-being and the challenges of implementing change. For example, planning urban conglomerations or city-regions requires a more regional perspective to be taken. It is only by understanding the wider city context, that is, the region, that we can begin to solve some of the most critical issues of water, energy, food and infrastructure. This chapter provides an insight into how to achieve change through shared vision, persistence and, importantly, leadership.