The Interconnection with Climate Crisis and Inequality in the Future of Urbanization


I would like to look at the connection between the three agendas of this conference (sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk agendas) that many people, present here at this meeting and otherwise, have helped construct over the last decade. Before I do that, one way of looking forward through the question of urbanizing futures of sustainability, is to look back. If we want to get some sense of where we might be in the 2050s and the 2070s it might be useful to look back (maybe 30 or 50 years) and see what distance we have come over that period of time. The obvious things may be to go back to Brundtland and the farming of sustainable development in the formal process (United Nations, 1987). In that, of course, urbanization is tagged on at the end. It is not a central part of that agenda. Brundtland’s definition is very focused on intergenerational equity concerns. There are very serious issues of intergenerational questions, apart from other environmental considerations. Or, one could go back to Barbara Ward. It is 50 years since 1972 and Stockholm. She was pivotal in trying to frame this agenda, both in the sustainability space but also bringing together the urban and the sustainability argument, especially around the Habit I forum in 1976 and her writing.