About this Research Topic
A large fraction of world population is already living in urban systems and an even larger fraction is expected to concentrate towards existing large cities and megacities in the next few years. The reasons and driving forces underlying such trends are many: (i) search for better jobs and living conditions, (ii) more services available in urban centers than in rural areas leading to rural urban asymmetry and imbalance, (iii) environmental changes affecting rural activities, (iv) and land use policies, amongst others.
As the population grows, the size of cities increases. Resource supply (energy, building materials, food chain, manufactured goods) and waste management (urban waste and wastewater treatment) become more complex; rural areas are abandoned and their ability to provide all kind of environmental services decrease; rural-urban asymmetry and imbalance increase; local cultures and social habits are lost or dramatically affected; The governance of economic, social and environmental aspects of city living becomes more complex and affects well-being and democracy.
Some researchers claim new technologies need to be developed to address and solve new problems. De-growth strategies are, instead, brought forward by groups and scholars concerned by the foreseen impossibility of unlimited growth in a limited planet. In between, a number of options and business models emerge (smart cities, reliance on informatics and intelligent devices, circular economy, energy and material efficiency, stronger governance versus increased participatory strategies, among others).
A clear definition and appropriate terms to represent urban metabolism and related options are still missing, thus decreasing the chances of deep understanding of the existing complexity or of reaching consensus upon strategies.
A transparent and comparative assessment of alternatives as well as the understanding of costs and benefits of best practices and applicable solutions (or acceptable compromises), is a much needed basis for future innovative policy-making and sustainable urban management.
This research topic welcomes novel contributions about:
- trends and dynamics of urban systems worldwide
- relation of urban systems growth and resource demand
- innovative patterns of resource consumption in urban systems
- environmental problems related to urban systems dynamics
- rural-urban asymmetry and imbalances
- food supply chain in megacities
- social and governance aspects of urban resource management
- efficient and resilient urban communities worldwide
- water aspects in growing urban systems
- urban circular economy
- intra-urban and extra-urban transportation demand and patterns
Keywords: cities and megacities, urban metabolism, urba/rural balance, urban circular economy, urban resource management
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