John Black Urban Lectures Mistra Urban Futures

Analysing Data for Sustainability

Urban sustainability is built on a wide range of characteristics and interventions, as illustrated not least in the 2016 book ‘Rethinking Sustainable Cities’ (see below for download). Some of them can be measured and analysed, which in turn becomes the basis for developing policies for urban sustainability.

This was also the starting point for an Urban Lecture delivered by Professor John Black from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, at Mistra Urban Futures in Gothenburg 9 February.

Professor Black based his presentation on his extensive research and consultations to governments all over the world, talking about ‘accessibility’, ‘green infrastructure’ and ‘equity’, using examples not only from Australia but also places like Sapporo, Chicago, Istanbul and the Californian city Emeryville.

Throughout the world, governments are attempting to address the adverse consequences of increased motorisation and suburban sprawl with policies to achieve greater sustainability of development. 

In the book Rethinking Sustainable Cities: Accessible, Green and Fair, David Simon suggests that accessible, integrated public transport, reduced parking and car use, pedestrian spaces, walking/cycling (with associated health benefits) and access to green space are all hallmarks of “strong sustainability” within cities. 

Re-branded for the purpose of this seminar as “accessibility”, “green infrastructure” and “equity” – all areas of substantial scholarship and high level consulting advice by the presenter – planning and urban development examples are drawn both from developed and developing economies. He described how discussions around topics like Transit Oriented Development, TOD, lead to policy frameworks, implementation and evaluation as well as funding, e.g. through Public Private Partnerships, PPP.

Almost 100 people had gathered for this Urban Lecture, arranged in collaboration with the Urban Freight Platform at Chalmers. The talk and following Questions & Answers can be found at Mistra Urban Futures youtube channel:

The book mentioned in the introduction, ‘Rethinking Sustainable Cities’ is edited by Professor David Simon, Director of Mistra Urban Futures. Following Mistra Urban Futures Open Access policy, it can be downloaded for free from the website of the publisher Policy Press.

Watch the lecture here