Local Actions, Global Consequences: Global Change, Local Impact
This chapter proposes that longer-term urban sustainability depends on policymakers’ ability to take a broader view of the utilization of space and to link local developments with their global consequences.
A broader perspective improves the effectiveness of local actions while promoting longer-term sustainability. For instance, local planning for coastal development requires, at a minimum, a broader vision that connects proposed economic plans with such things as spatial aspects, land use, rates and characteristics of demographic growth, shelter and service needs of the poor, infrastructure, energy efficiency and waste disposal.
It also needs a vision inspired by global environmental concerns, in order to avoid damaging sensitive ecosystems and other resources. Both local and global perspectives, as well as good information, should determine the direction of future city growth.
Urban issues offer unique opportunities to translate scientific research into concrete policies. They involve a large number of stakeholders, at national, city, neighbourhood and household levels, including governments, the private sector and civil society. Given the increasing attention from a number of international organizations, and from national and local governments, raising global awareness starting from the local urban context should become easier.
Urban areas are also typically more affluent than rural areas and therefore better able to find local financing for major projects. Their effectiveness will ultimately depend on taking a more proactive stance, inspired by a vision of the actions needed now to guarantee longer-term sustainability.