New NSF Report Led by Janetos Charts Research Agenda for Sustainable Urban Systems

sustainable-urban-systemsA new National Science Foundation (NSF) report released today establishes a research agenda for sustainable urban systems in coming decades. The report, titled Sustainable Urban Systems: Articulating a Long-Term Convergence Research Agenda, is intended to serve as a guide for the direction of research on cities in the face of unprecedented urbanization.

Fewer than one-third of the world’s population lived in cities in 1950. Today, that number is more than 50 percent, and by 2050, urban areas are projected to be home to about 66 percent of the world’s population. Despite covering only about 3 to 4 percent of the Earth’s land surface, urban areas generate more than 80 percent of the global GDP and 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. As the report states, the scale and pace of global urbanization is impacting human and environmental well-being in ways that are still poorly understood.

The goal of the report is to set the stage for the next generation of urban systems science, exploring the interplay between people, technology, infrastructure, and natural systems. The report’s authors believe that cities must learn from each other and that researchers must collaborate with city managers, government officials, industry representatives, and other local community members to meet the challenges of a more urbanized world.

“The AC-ERE report is an excellent foundation for new scientific collaborations on how cities function, how they grow, and how they can be managed sustainably for decades to come,” said Anthony Janetos, the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, and the chair of the NSF Advisory Committee on Environmental Research and Education (ERE) that published the report.

Janetos will travel to Washington, DC next week for the National Council for Science and the Environment’s (NCSE) 18th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment where the report will be presented.

Click here to read the full NSF press release and to download the report.