By 2030, sixty percent of the world’s population is projected to live in cities. The majority of this growth in urban areas is expected to occur in cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The transition from rural to urban life styles is likely to increase household consumption and will require massive investments in urban infrastructure.
How will society cope with this process of transformation without causing social exclusion and environmental harm? The answer is to see cities not just as centers of consumption, but as platforms for sustainable change that create new forms of collaboration and innovation to address environment, social and economic challenges. To capture the full potential of cities and their hinterlands requires an understanding of sustainability in society, a vision that captures the importance of context and time.
In this issue we focus on the role of knowledge creation and innovation as drivers of sustainable urban change. These drivers have the potential to de-couple economic growth and affluence from increasing energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste production and exploitation of natural resources.