More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas and migration from rural areas towards towns and cities continues to increase, especially in low and middle income countries.
It is a tremendous challenge to cope with the economic, social and environmental problems associated with the rapid growth. The problems are further exacerbated by climate change; some cities are threatened by increase in sea levels and stronger storms, others by flooding during heavy rainfall events, and most are experiencing increasing temperatures.
The urbanisation process, however, also poses significant opportunities. It is potentially easier and cheaper to provide environmental and social services, when people live close together – from education and health facilities, to efficient and sustainable transport systems, sewage and solid waste management, and access to energy and water. Cities, with their mix of industries, businesses and households, may also facilitate a circular, zero waste economy, where all kind of waste is fed back into the system as raw materials for other products, as well as for energy production.
Enormous investments from governments, private companies and citizens are needed in order to develop the urban infrastructure over the coming years. This calls for careful and integrated social, environmental and spatial planning, which focuses on opportunities and synergies and avoids the pitfalls of exclusively sector-oriented planning. If we want to avoid wasting huge investments and ensure that future cities provide equitable and sustainable living conditions for their citizens, rethinking urban development and investing in a wise way is both urgent and a must.
We invite you to view this UN Habitat video for an introduction to the challenges facing cities.
The course will provide insight into issues related to environmental sustainability, and demonstrate the importance of taking an integrated approach to development, with environmental considerations mainstreamed into all levels of planning and implementation. It will focus on sustainable cities as a case or framework, which binds the different elements of the course together. The learning will however be applicable to all development engagements.
By the end of the course the participants will:
- have an improved understanding of the benefits of integrated approaches and environmental mainstreaming in the planning and implementation of development engagements;
- have an improved ability to identify and critically analyse environmental problems and opportunities in relation to urban development (and in general), and to suggest innovative, cross-sectorial solutions;
- have an increased ability to challenge “business as usual”-thinking in planning;
- have strengthened their knowledge about planning for sustainable, liveable cities and how to involve the public and private sector, as well as civil society, in the process;
- be more motivated and enabled to act as change agents within their organization and contribute to ensuring that their organisations integrate environmental considerations into their work.
The course is divided into four main thematic areas, which are closely linked:
- Introduction to environmental sustainability and integrative approaches
- Designing the sustainable city – policies, strategies and planning
- Building a sustainable city – the role of the public and private sector, Public Private Partnerships, utility companies, and civil society
- Global initiatives for sustainable cities
Participants must be affiliated with a Danida supported programme, project or organization. Participants may be policy and decision makers or civil servants from governmental institutions, as well as staff from NGOs, private organisations and companies. They will be from a variety of sectors, but their work somehow addresses the planning and/or implementation of activities related to towns or cities.
Place of Study
The two-week course will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. It will be facilitated by NIRAS – one of the largest consulting engineering companies in Denmark with over 1,400 employees. The company provides consulting services within the fields of agriculture, environment, energy and climate change, building and industry, civil works, planning, social sciences and transport. NIRAS has on-going activities in more than 40 countries. See www.niras.com for additional information.
The course is co-funded by Danida Capacity Development Support Programme. Programmes/ projects will be charged DKK 3,500 per course week in Denmark. The cost per participant will be DKK 7,000 for the entire course, which will cover all expenses, including study fees, accommodation, allowances, insurances and international travel.