Cities in Transition: Power, Environment, Society

08-10-2015 | Publication

Although cities only cover a few percent of the earth's total land surface, they are the locations where most of the world's scarce resources are being used. Ubanisation worldwide, therefore, is turning these cities into crucial links in the quest for a more sustainable world.

But what role could cities really play in a sustainable transition? Innovations partly originate from the diversity and dynamics that are so characteristic of cities. A proper understanding of this complexity is therefore a prerequisite for the development  of sustainable cities.

The recently published book 'Cities in Transition' paints a picture of the scientific progress, in this respect. Two of its over thirty contributions are by PBL authors:

  • China is at the centre of 'Towards a people-oriented urbanisation 2015–2025', the contribution by Arjan Harbers and Jan Bakkes. They arrive at eight recommendations for a successful projected move of 270 million Chinese people from the countryside to the cities. These recommendations are based on Good city models – under the concept of ecological civilisation, which was their earlier contribution to the China Council.
  • The other PBL contribution, 'Smart cities or smart urbanism?' by Maarten Hajer and Ton Dassen is a critical reflection on the Smart City concept, based on their earlier book Smart about Cities.