The purpose of the book on integrated urban planning (IUP) is to present ongoing research from the universities involved in the project Creating the Network of Knowledge Labs for Sustainable and Resilient Environments (KLABS).
Although sustainability and resilience have been largely explored in many complex social-ecological systems, they have only recently been applied in the context of cities. Both concepts are useful when seeking an integrated approach to urban planning as they help to look at the city as an interconnected, multi-dimensional system. Analysing the sustainability and the resilience of urban systems involves looking at environmental, social and economic aspects, as well as at those related to technology, culture and institutional structures.
Sustainability, resilience as well as integrated urban development are all focused on process. Their objectives are typically defined around the ongoing operation of the process and they can change during the time. Therefore, building a sustainable and resilient city is a collective endeavor that is about mindsets just as much as about physical structures and their operation, where capacity to anticipate and plan for the future, to learn and to adapt are paramount.
The papers published in this book show that the recent and current research in those institutions focuses on the directions of development of IUP, the processes that support sustainable and resilient use of natural resources and their application in the Western Balkan and some other European countries. Each essay aims to provide an overview of key aspects of the research topic.
The division of the book into three parts - directions, resources and territories - underlines how the challenges that the contemporary city poses can be dealt with more effectively by integrating different paradigms, concepts and trends of urban development and governance; taking into account the numerous problems linked to the availability and exploitation of the main natural and non-natural resources; and looking at the city and the territory as systems in constant transformation, not reducible within rigid dichotomies such as urban/rural, dense/sprawled, formal/informal, etc.
Resilience, Political Ecology and DegrowthA Critical Review of Three Main Approaches to Political Geography and Urban Planning Theory
Resilience, political ecology, and degrowth constitute three main approaches to address resource-society relationships in the context of the integrated energy-food-climate nexus and of its crisis. These diverge substantially, despite some common points, such as the idea of a non-equilibrium-ecology and of a more complex engagement of human-environment relations. Resilience has raised criticism for not taking into account how environmental injustice, power relations and the capitalist mode of production shape contemporary ecological issues, key concerns for political ecology scholars. After providing an overview of the main criticism addressed to the resilience paradigm, the chapter aims to introduce the political ecology approach, in order to move toward a more inclusive paradigm that is able to address the environmental question in relation to social justice concerns. The third section introduces the emergent debate on degrowth as an alternative paradigm to address socio-environmental sustainability and reframe global challenges such as austerity and deindustrialisation in urban areas. The chapter concludes in summarising the main aspects emerging from the critical review of these three notions, presented in the context of political geography and urban planning theory. It further argues for a greater integration of the ‘agency of nature’ and of the role of biological processes in the understanding of the way society functions.
Integrated Planning as a Mechanism for Creating Sustainable and Resilient Settlements
Urban development today is a process that is directed towards sustainable and resilient settlements. That goal cannot be reached without integrated planning. Many problems faced by urban areas seeking to do so are the result of, among other things, underdeveloped practices of integrated planning, particularly in the post-socialist countries of Europe. Starting from this hypothesis, the first part of this work deals with the theory of integrated planning as a planning approach that has evolved from the mid-twentieth century until today, specifically its indissoluble connection with the complex character of urban space and a sustainable and resilient environment. The second part deals with the methodology of integrated planning based on a problem-oriented analysis of the environment, society, the economy, and the urban planning institutional potential, from the perspective of collaboration and participation. Research has shown that the implementation of integrated planning is directly connected to the socio-economic conditions, legal frameworks, technology, and professional and educational potentials of urban areas, which differ for each country. It is important to make efforts at municipality level to implement projects that promote integrated approaches to planning sustainable and resilient environments, which can be a stimulus for the improvement of legislation and socio-economic conditions at a higher level of government, and a development of good practice in other cities. Research has shown, through concrete examples, that the practice of integrated planning is more prevalent in cities in EU countries than in post-socialist countries. This article focuses on the case study of the Republic of Srpska, where there are many problems in its implementation. Based on the analysis of this case study, it can be seen that it is necessary to constantly work on improving the methodology of integrated planning, education, and the training of planners and stakeholders, as well as strengthening the institutional and socio-economic preconditions for its implementation, particularly in post-socialist countries.
The Role of University in a Policy Making ProcessIntroducing Integrated Urban Projects for Effective Urban Governance in Serbia
This chapter suggests a new view on the arrangement of urban governance for Serbia, where an Integrated Urban Project (IUP) is examined as an instrument for achieving sustainable development. Policy-making in Serbia’s urban development is faced with the challenge of transition from a traditional, bureaucratic, and autocratic system towards a new, efficient, effective, communicative, and flexible one. The process of searching for new instruments for its realisation was initiated due to the existing model’s inability to deal with complex problems brought about by the post-socialist economic and social transition, as well as global influences related to Serbia’s planned accession to the European Union (EU). The first part of the chapter briefly outlines the concept of a new urban governance model. The second section defines the characteristics of an IUP as an instrument intended to create and implement sustainable public policies in the field of urban development. The third part presents curricula of master’s theses and master’s projects for three generations of students of the Integrated Urbanism master’s programme at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade: (i) IUPs for Inner City Development, (ii) IUPs for Disaster Risk Management, and (iii) IUPs for Municipal Development. Regardless of the differences in topics and locations, the students’ assignments were to work with specific local institutions to devise IUPs in response to identified problems of the ‘real’ context and indicate how these might be put into practice. This section details the results achieved by the latest generation of students: (i) the IUPs as urban governance instruments, focusing on their integration potential; and (ii) the IUPs development process, showing the types and techniques of communication and knowledge dissemination amongst students, as well as between students and mentors, and with the local community and the broader professional and academic public.
Besides aiming to contribute to a comprehensive innovation of the curriculum in the local context of a post-socialist country, the purpose of this chapter is to point out the options and opportunities for collaboration between academic institutions and local communities in the introduction of new topics, ideas, concepts, and instruments for effective urban governance in Serbia.
Resource Efficiency and Resilience in Urban SettlementsTwo Complementary Approaches Toward Sustainability
The built environment is a specific historical result of social and political processes, based on the transformation of natural resources. The demand for these resources has increased dramatically in the last decades, leading to unprecedented levels of pressure on the environment and ecosystem services. Most of the flows of resources are toward urban agglomerations, which thrive thanks to enormous inward streams of supplies and thanks to the hinterland where they dissipate or dispose of wastes. There is an urgent need to increase the efficiency with which urban areas use natural resources, while at the same time understanding the critical interconnections and interdependencies between energy and material flows, thus reducing cities' exposure to risks.
The chapter provides a review of notions and strategies around the concepts of ‘resource efficiency’ and of ‘resilience’ and describes related case studies. Some common areas of action between the two concepts are shown, as well as potential contradictions and conflicts. Analysing and understanding the common ground between these two concepts can help to find a balance between the need to reduce the pressure on resources and the need to enable urban settlements to withstand and endure threats. The insights found at the interface of these concepts can help meet broader sustainability goals.
Innovative Approaches to Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling within an Integrated Urban Planning Concept
Municipal solid waste is generated through the activities of every economic sector. In the 20th century, the usual methods of waste management were landfilling and incineration. European theory and practice in the past 20 years has recognised new concepts and approaches in Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM). Based on EU directives and national laws, many European countries have already established a Zero Waste concept, with the aim of shifting the current MSWM practices towards sustainable natural cycles, whereby almost all discarded materials become resources for others to use. The Zero Waste concept involves re-use, recycling, and waste reduction and its ultimate goal is the nullification of all waste produced in a specific area.
Unfortunately, not all European countries have managed to achieve this goal yet. Most of them have reached the milestone of 40-60% waste recycling (according to the statistics of European Environmental Agency, while others are still in the initial stages). This chapter will describe the step-by-step implementation of innovative approaches to waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, using the case study of the municipality of New Belgrade in Serbia. The Serbian context is of particular interest, since almost none of the EU policies on waste reduction have been implemented. Therefore, the chapter will provide a model-approach to efficient MSWM in accordance with recent EU practices, directives, and laws. The model described is of interest to other municipalities that have not yet developed a strategy for sustainable waste management.
Spatial Dimension of Flood Risk
In order to more successfully prevent the occurrence of floods and to mitigate their negative impact and numerous consequences, the Flood Risk Management (FRM) approach has been adopted in many European countries. Risk identification and assessment are the initial activities within the framework of FRM. This chapter analyses flood risk assessment from the supra-national to the individual buildings scale, describes different relevant assessment methods, and discusses the interconnectedness of flood risks at different spatial levels. Urban flood risk assessment is recognised in this chapter as being particularly complex, due to the variety of present factors, interrelations between physical and human components in the urban environment, and interrelations with other spatial levels in terms of floods. By analysing different scales of urban flood risks, it has been argued that further work in the development of risk assessment methodologies is especially necessary at the neighbourhood level, having regarded the significance of this spatial scale for successful flood management.
Integrated Approach to Flood Management
Floods are considered to be the biggest of all natural disasters. Rapid urbanisation, economic and social development, climate change and its variability have all altered the hydrological cycle and, within that process, made our communities more prone to flooding. Flood management implies a set of engineering works and non-structural strategies for protection, prevention and mitigation of risk and damage that floods pose to settlements and human lives. Traditional flood protection measures are more focused on managing the safety of the inhabitants in floodable areas. In urban settlements, they are primarily orientated to water collection and conveyance by using the ‘as fast as possible’ principle. In the light of increasingly prominent climate change and climate variability, traditional flood protection measures need constant upgrading i.e. higher dykes and deeper channels. The chapter focuses on the concept of Integrated Flood Management (IFM), which combines flood mitigation and risk management by considering several key principles such as: water cycle management; the interrelationship between land use and flood protection; the consideration of the various socio-economic, environmental, and governance hazards; and the engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process. The general IFM concept is presented together with the most common structural and non-structural measures and solutions. Flood protection challenges and inputs necessary for a successful IFM implementation are discussed. Recent examples of IFM best practices are reviewed, highlighting the role of spatial planning integration in flood management as a promising process that leads towards a sustainable and resilient built environment.
Transformations of Urban Fabric and Resilience Building
In several parts of the world, global flows of capital are triggering rapid transformations of the urban fabric and the rural hinterlands. The effects of real-estate acquisitions by foreign investors and market-driven development can be witnessed with the emergence of regenerated city districts and the urbanisation of city fringe areas. The chapter explores some of the non-market oriented development patterns needed to support sustainable urban transformations. The objective is to reconsider urban development driven by an ecologically conscious approach which could lead to a resilient urban fabric. The networks binding together urban and rural settlement spaces is highlighted. Interrelations facilitate exchanges of resources, capital, and information. Such networks establish an underlying system that supports the cohesion of urban and rural communities. Urban growth, limited to mainly the development of real estate investments, does not deliver resilient and people-friendly built environments. Instead, urban development objectives need to include sustainable resource management, support for biodiversity, and develop food production capabilities. Given the global issues such as climate change and massive human migration towards cities, the capacity to adapt to environmental pressures becomes vital. To replace short-term growth objectives with long-term sustainability agendas, behavioural changes incentivised by ecological compensation schemes are considered.
Land Use and Master Planning under the Pressure of Informal City GrowthCase Study of Belgrade
Sustainable land use and integrative, comprehensive, and implementable master planning remain some of the most important aspects of sustainable urban planning today. At the same time, one of the most challenging tasks for the cities of developing countries is managing informal city growth. Bearing in mind these conditions and challenges, significant both in theory and in practice, the chapter focuses on their mutual influence and impacts in international and Western Balkans context, as well as in the Serbian capital. The aim of the review is to bring attention to the actual problem of unregulated informal settlements in Serbia and Belgrade, while suggesting the means and measures for its treatment within sustainable land use planning.
The chapter gives insight into the importance, actuality, and general characteristics and challenges of sustainable land use planning, as well as the general overview of the growing informal settlements in developing countries and in the Western Balkans. The core of the research describes the main characteristics of Belgrade’s land use planning on the one hand, and the growth of informal settlements on the other, seen as parallel, sometimes excluding, sometimes supporting processes, over the last four decades and their impact on the city development.
The chapter concludes by offering the answers to the following research questions: what is the relation between the informal city growth and land use/master planning? What kind of effects do unregulated developments have on land use and master planning and vice versa? Finally – what are the feasible, sustainable solutions within the contexts of both Belgrade and Serbia?
Spatial Policies and Resilient Urban-Rural CommunitiesAn Italian Case Study with Some Research Guidelines
After a prolonged uncoupling of cities from their surrounding countryside, brought about by the productivist paradigm, moves toward reintegration are increasingly noticeable in local policies and practices. This also applies to the most recent European agendas for sustainable urban development, where agriculture has been officially recognised as a producer of ecosystem services and a strategic resource for the creation of green infrastructure networks in densely inhabited environments. In this way, the challenge of integrating it in spatial planning, and in its toolkit, is now on the table.
But what does ‘urban-rural’ policy-making mean, in practical and organisational terms? While scholars increasingly agree that an adaptive and multi-actor governance is more effective than a classic governmental approach in the management of complex socioecological systems, in the particular case of those involving farming as an economic activity it becomes almost necessary. The basic reason for this is that stakeholders are bound by mutual dependence, since key resources such as rights over land, political power, technical skills, and innovation capacity are unequally distributed among them. Farmers are therefore prompted to reject a passive role in the policy-making process, which in turn requires additional social knowledge on the part of all actors, in order to accept such an advancement fully.
The case of Parco Agricolo Sud (South Agricultural Park) in Milan, Italy, confirms this scenario by providing an interesting ‘resilience story’ of local peasantry and, in parallel, a view on the transition from a classic zoning-based and state-led land protection model to a less sectoral and more participatory approach. It is an example of how the active engagement of farmers can help public policies, preserving the common good in difficult circumstances and giving rise to alternative planning approaches. This is a ‘lesson from Milan’, which may inspire research in contexts where open spaces around cities are threatened, and inclusion in the decision-making process is a goal that remains to be achieved.
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