Looking Beyond the Local
Urban areas depend on natural resources for water, food, construction materials, energy and the disposal of wastes. In turn, urbanization transforms local landscapes as well as ecosystems both local and further afield.
Policymakers must be aware that
their local decisions have far-reaching
effects and conversely that climatic or
ecosystem changes may have a local
impact. Both aspects require better
information and a longer-term vision.
Mega-cities attract attention by their size and economic dominance. However, small and medium-sized cities, which currently house more than half the world’s urban population and are expected to continue to have a predominant role, encounter similar challenges and pressures.(5)
Two issues in particular illustrate the interaction between urbanization and natural resources and their interaction with GEC. The first, changes in land use and land cover, has already been discussed at some length in Chapter 4. The present chapter gives more attention to the impact of climate change and variability.