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Sustainable Urban Planning Revisited

Nordregio News Issue 2, December 2011

Photo: Johannes Jansson/

The Quest for More Sustainability in Urban Planning

The multidimensional concept of sustainability has been integrated as a central aspect of contemporary urban planning and policies in various ways across the Nordic Countries, Europe and beyond. Although a kind of definitional consensus could have been developed in the meantime, emphasising the integration of economic, social and environmental issues in a cross-generation perspective, the concept has so far been translated into rather diverse policy packages in regards to urban planning. In this issue of Nordregio News we look at how sustainable urban planning has been approached during the past two decades.

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Views on Sustainable Urban Planning from Europe

By Dominic Stead

The role of urban form, or the physical arrangement of land uses, in contributing to sustainable development has been recognised for more than two decades in European policy. Soon after the publication of the Brundtland Report in 1987, European policy started to call for a stronger role for land-use planning and began to set out a case for denser mixed-use urban development – key elements of the compact city paradigm which began its ascendance around that time. The environmental arguments for denser mixed-use urban development were often most prominent in policy despite the fact that there are also some strong social and economic benefits associated with this type of development.

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A Holistic Approach to Climate Change

By Christian Dymén

It is widely accepted that the climate is changing and that actions have to be taken at many different levels of society, especially when it comes to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and adverse impacts of climate change (adaptation). But can synergies between mitigation and adaptation be obtained? Augustenborg, an eco-friendly neighborhood in Malmö Sweden, is an example of such a case.

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A Contemporary Look at Sustainable Urban Planning

Thoughts from the SUME Project & the 47th ISOCARP Congress

By Mitchell Reardon

Our Common Future has just been released. The term 'sustainable development' has entered the public discourse. There is a growing awareness about the negative effects humanity is having on the environment. Around the world, urbanisation continues to increase. The first hints of a renewed interest in cities are beginning to manifest themselves amongst the public, planners and politicians. Now fast forward a quarter century. It's almost 2012. What does sustainable urban development mean today? How is it applied? And what challenges remain?

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