University of Calgary

International symposium

UToday HomeMarch 13, 2012

By Jessica Wallace

Hosted by the Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS), the Sustainable Cities Symposium on March 14 explores the global challenges and opportunities in addressing sustainable development.

It has been 20 years since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development; the first international summit to address urgent problems of environmental protection and socio-economic development.

The challenges—and opportunities—of sustainable development are more relevant now than ever. Economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity dominate the global discourse with people being at the center of the vision of a more sustainable world.

The Sustainable Cities Symposium provides insight into planning and design solutions in different cities and serves as platform for discussions, experience sharing and networking.

The symposium welcomes a diverse panel of keynote speakers including, EVDS Dean and landscape architect Nancy Pollock-Ellwand; urban-regional geographer professor Adrian Aguilar from Mexico City, Mexico; architect and urbanist professor Carlos Leite from San Paulo, Brazil; director of sustainable development at B.C. Institute of Technology Jennie Moore; and EVDS professor Sasha Tsenkova who specializes in sustainable cities, urban planning and comparative housing policy.

“In a rapidly urbanizing world, cities, with all their demand and promise, have the power to connect all places and all people into a productive and competitive global economy,” says Tsenkova.

“These centers of urban creativity and technological innovation can play a critical role in addressing climate change and environmental injustice. The planning of sustainable cities promotes resilience through efficient growth management and targeted assistance to the 1 billion people living in poverty.”

For the first time in history, half of the world’s population is living in cities. By the year 2025, it is estimated that more than two-thirds will be urban dwellers.

While the fastest growth of cities is taking place in the developing world, urbanization is a global phenomenon, closely related to environmental issues. It is associated with many problems, such as high levels of poverty, environmental stress, risks to productivity, high health costs, and lack of access to basic services, such as water supply, sanitation, and housing.

In partnership with the Development Studies Program, EVDS will host the Sustainable Cities in a Global World Symposium Wednesday, March 14 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Rosza Centre.