Sustainable development of urban regions
"Cities are at the forefront of sustainable development." This is how the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres stated in 2018. Crucial questions on the way to sustainable and resilient cities are to be clarified in the funding measure "Sustainable Development of Urban Regions".
By 2050, 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities. Today, it is already more than 50 percent and the trend towards urbanisation is unbroken, especially in developing and emerging countries. 80 percent of the energy and resources used worldwide are consumed in urban areas, and more than three quarters of global emissions are produced there.
Especially in fast-growing cities and their surrounding areas, problems are concentrated due to a lack of sustainable planning and action, because political, economic and civil society institutions can only gradually adapt to the challenges of urbanisation. Problems include overstretched infrastructure systems and ecological risks such as air pollution, overloading of drinking water supply and sanitation, or traffic and waste generation. This is particularly noticeable in the fast-growing urban regions in the Asia-Pacific region. Cities are in a constant process of transformation, in line with rapidly changing demands.
Initiatives for sustainable urban development and a corresponding public infrastructure will only have a lasting precautionary and sustainable effect in both industrialised and developing countries if the decision-makers have solid knowledge for action. In this context, research can help to clarify the circumstances and preconditions under which successful models can be generalised and transferred to a specific problem.
Since the beginning of 2019, the BMBF has been funding projects in fast-growing cities and urban regions in developing and emerging countries under the funding measure "Sustainable Development of Urban Regions" (SURE). The focus is on technological solutions for improved energy and resource efficiency, for the reduction of CO2 emissions and concepts for sustainable new infrastructure systems (energy supply, transport systems, etc.) as well as on the development of social innovations for dealing with the resulting changes in living conditions.
The aim of the SURE funding measure is to develop and test locally adapted solution strategies in close cooperation between science and practice, which lead to both an improvement in ecological factors and an increase in the resilience of cities, and to set impulses for a permanent implementation of the strategies.
In the first phase, definition projects in China and the Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will be funded for 18 months each with around 10 million euros. In 2020, the four-year funding phase for further research and development on solution approaches began in 11 projects with a funding amount of 28 million euros. In a subsequent two-year phase, the focus will be explicitly on implementation.