Coping with the rapidity of both change and growth is and will increasingly prove to be a significant challenge for cities, their residents and for national governments in the future. Within this context citizen participation, sound local governance and accountability, the pursuit of environmental and resource sustainability and inclusive economic development and employment creation are critical if we are to ensure a just and sustainable future. At a broader level 2015 is a crucial year in terms of development policy as it will witness the transformation of the Millennium Development Goals into the Sustainable Development Goals, which, as the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda argues must go beyond the MDGs to reach the poorest and most excluded.
As part of the on-going debate about our collective urban future, continual dialogue and debate is essential to help ensure the sound evaluation of evidence, the interrogation of new interventions and the derivation of the most appropriate policy support. In this regard, Dialogues of Sustainable Urbanisation contributes to the broader processes of urban debate. Drawing on the skills and insight of young researchers and policy makers globally this work allows for cross-national comparison and for a deeper understanding of how best humanity can pursue options which facilitate the pursuit of sustainable urbanisation.
Achieving an endogenous growth trajectory which is environmentally sustainable, socially just and economically inclusive will require active commitment on the part of governments and other institutional role-players which parallel and support local citizens to engage more effectively in a process of jointly finding solutions to the challenges of growth and development. Sustainable urban development will require a conceptual framework which simultaneously considers the:
- – Macro development framework
- – The urban context
- – Urban service delivery and investment
- – Social needs and opportunities
- – Economic opportunities and challenges
- – Institutional architecture and urban policy, decentralization and legislative reform.
The promotion of debate and providing channels for the dissemination of the creativity and insight of young researchers and policy makers, as this volume helps to achieve, is an important step in our joint negotiation of our collective urban future.
Steering Committee Member, CROP (Comparative Research on Urban Poverty Programme)
Professor, Department of Geography, University of Otago, New Zealand.