Publications round-up: urban environments, the civic economy, forests
A round-up of recent sustainable development publications highlighted by our partner, the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN). For more news on sustainable development research and publications, join the network and receive regular SDRN mailings.
In this round-up:
- Sustainable Urban Environments (SUE) Research Dialogues
- Compendium for the civic economy
- Forests in a Green Economy: A Synthesis (UNEP report)
Read about more recent publications and research in the latest SDRN bulletin…
This new report takes a close look at EPSRC’s multi-million pound Sustainable Urban Environments (SUE) Programme, examining its achievements, wider impact, and future.
The results of the study and workshop identified that the boundaries of ‘sustainable urban environments’ have expanded, the topics that described the domain in 2001 have grown significantly in number and maturity, and a common language has developed since the beginning of the programme. However, researching the topic collectively and holistically still remains a challenge, primarily because of the nature and structure of the scholarly world, where disciplines are still the major focus of reward.
In terms of impact, the output from this programme has resulted in a plethora of tools, techniques and reports, on a diverse range of topics, although at present the only route to accessing even the tip of the iceberg is through ISSUES or the website created by the project. Therefore, policy and public impact is still emerging. However the stage is now set upon which the story of urban sustainability research and practice over the next five years will be played out.
The challenge for the research community is to build upon past work with a mix of short- and long-term investigations that can have real-world and academic impact now and in the future. The challenge for the funders of research is to recognise the value of truly cross-disciplinary research in solving the complex grand challenges that we face.
Against the context of rapid economic, social and environmental change, a collective reflection is taking place on how to build more sustainable routes to share prosperity. In the meantime, an increasing number and wide range of change-makers have already found ways to imagine and grow a different economy in our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages.
This publication, produced by NESTA, CABE and London-based design practice 00:/ presents 25 case studies of the civic economy – rooted in age-old traditions of the associational economy but using new organising tactics, ways of connecting with people and approaches to collaborative investment.
They aim to demonstrate that the civic economy is already a real, vital and growing part of many places, which actively contributes to community resilience, everyday innovation and shared prosperity. They also reveal how local leaders – that is, all those working together to improve places and their economies, whether in the public, private or third sector – can create the fertile ground for the civic economy to flourish and grow.
Investing an additional US$40 billion a year in the forestry sector could halve deforestation rates by 2030, increase rates of tree planting by around 140% by 2050, and catalyse the creation of millions of new jobs according to a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Backed by the right kinds of enabling policies, the report suggests such an investment – equivalent to about two-thirds more than what is spent on the sector today – could also sequester or remove an extra 28 per cent of carbon from the atmosphere, thus playing a key role in combating climate change.
The report also spotlights how the area of planted forests, including those as part of agroforestry schemes on farms and plantations, have grown from 3.6 million hectares in 1990 to just under five million hectares in 2010
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) is an initiative funded by both Defra and the Department for Transport, and is coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute in London.
SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK government’s objectives for sustainable development.
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