2nd International UGEC Conference
The 2nd International UGEC (Urbanization and Global Environmental Change) Conference was held in Taipei, Taiwan from 6-8 November. Today more than half of the world’s population is living in cities and the trend is expected to continue. With urbanization comes the question, “How can we capture the benefits and opportunities of urbanization, whilst mitigating the negative effects, in order to sustainably transform our urban future?”
UGEC is a 10-year research programme of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), one of the suites of global environmental change bodies currently merging under the umbrella of Future Earth in order to rationalize funding and promote cross-disciplinary research and transdisciplinary co-creation with non-academic partners.
Representatives from Mistra Urban Futures
One of the conference organizers is Prof David Simon, Director of Mistra Urban Futures. During the conference he was in good company with Mistra Urban Future Board members Thomas Elmqvist, Professor and Steering committee for Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Roberto Sanchez-Rodriguez, Professor at the Department of Urban and Environmental Studies, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, and who is also co-chair of UGEC. Also participating in the conference was Prof Simon Marvin, a leading member of Mistra Urban Future’s Greater Manchester Local Interaction Platform.
Prof David Simon has been on the Scientific Steering Committee of UGEC since its inception and was one of the small team that drew up its Science Plan. In this capacity he and Roberto are playing prominent leadership roles in steering the conference and drawing out of its various sessions some key lessons for taking forward the challenges of promoting greater urban sustainability based on lower carbon intensity around the world.
Susan Parnell, ACC African Centre for Cities, David Simon, Mistra Urban Futures, and Simon Marvin, Durham University.
Prof David Simon was one of the speakers in the opening plenary session, co-convenor of two other sessions and also convening a plenary panel on governing the urban system on the final day. One of the discussion sessions, convened with Thomas Elmqvist and another colleague, played a crucial role in the process of establishing an urban component within the emerging Future Earth research agenda. They lead the Urban Transition Team which has been funded to design a framework for such future urban research, building on UGEC’s achievements.
Through all these conference activities, David is fulfilling a key element of his mandate to establish Mistra Urban Futures in the international arena as a leading urban research and advisory Centre.