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Sustainable urban futures and sustainable urban systems in the built environment: towards an integrated urban science research agenda

Dixon, T. J. ORCID: (2022) Sustainable urban futures and sustainable urban systems in the built environment: towards an integrated urban science research agenda. Journal of Sustainability Research, 4 (4). e220015. ISSN 2632-6582

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To link to this item DOI: 10.20900/jsr20220015


Today the built environment (or the human-made spaces and related infrastructures in which we live, work and play) is a vitally important element of our urban-oriented world. Increasingly we also see a closer focus on long-term ‘sustainable urban futures’ research, as both academics and national and international interest groups frame their discourses, policy and practice guidance, and current research agendas not only on the best and most effective ways of transitioning to a sustainable future, but also recognising the inherent complexity in existing ‘urban systems’. This perspective paper aims to trace the evolution of such thinking, drawing on both scholarly work and previous national and international high-level publications from relevant research programmes to identify key themes and commonalities of approach. The paper focuses on highlighting the importance of two interconnected research themes within the wider context of built environment research: (i) ‘sustainable urban systems’ (SUS) and (ii) ‘sustainable urban futures’ (SUF). In doing this the paper aims to synthesise the literature, distil emergent research findings from a range of publications to develop an integrated research agenda positioned at the nexus between these themes, and to explain what these and other key related concepts mean, and why they are important to understand. Adopting an international perspective and drawing on previous research from the ‘Global North’ and ‘Global South’, the paper concludes by highlighting the emerging lessons and challenges for research practice and suggests areas for future transdisciplinary research in what is termed ‘urban science’.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
ID Code:108939


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