Visions of sustainable urban futures

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Submission Summary
In the current scenario of the environmental crisis ahead, it has been recognized that the trajectories of urban development have contributed significantly to the deterioration and decrease of the stock of natural ecosystems that are essential for human well-being (IUCN, 2020). According to World Economic Forum, agricultural and urban expansion has altered three-quarters of the world's land area (World Economic Forum, 2020). Recent research on urbanization impacts reveals that if current trends in the forms of urban land consumption continue, and all areas with high probabilities of urban expansion undergo by 2030; urban land cover will increase by 1.2 million km2. Almost tripling the global urban land area around the year 2000. This increase would result in considerable loss of habitats at key biodiversity hotspots in regions that were not disturbed by urban development in 2000 (Seto, Guneralp, Huytra, 2012). These data highlight the urgency of an ecological urban restructuring capable of changing current development trajectories and steer cities towards sustainable scenarios. Sustainability implies dealing with change and a vision of the future where the interaction of societies with nature is positive. But, what are the different options where prosperous human communities and abundant and healthy ecosystems coexist in urban spaces; how these sustainable urban futures look like? and; how can urban planning support the design and implementation of actions to materialize these positive visions? Grounded on the Nature Future Framework (NFF) developed by the Intergovernmental Scientific-normative Platform on Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which address three perspectives of nature: Nature for Nature, Nature for society, and Nature as Culture, this piece of work provides a new framework to assist planning to support sustainable urban futures based on positive views of nature in cities. The paper presents a diversity of desirable urban futures where biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored, and wisely used. The visions describe a positive, but essentially different future of cities in which the utilitarian, intrinsic and relational values of nature are at the core of planning perspectives. By doing so, this piece of work sheds light on how planning can support positive views of the value of nature in urban life and contributes to the current debate on how to achieve the 2050 Biodiversity Vision, and the Sustainable Development Goals 11 “sustainable cities and communities” and 15 “Life on land”.
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4: Resilience and adaptability. Al-Waha: promoting glocal solutions
El Colegio Mexiquense

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