Biennial International Workshop Advances in Energy Studies 2015



(C) 2015 - BIWAES. WEBMASTER: MARCO CASAZZA. Last modified: 8TH MAR 2015


Perspectives in urban studies and policies

Concepts of city sustainability are not new. It is not new that the metabolism of complex systems is continuously supported by outside sources. Similarly to human metabolism, cities and national economies are largely dependent on local and imported resources in support of both quantitative and qualitative growth. However, modern cities are experiencing shortages of energy, water, clear air, social relations and cohesion, social inclusion, and ultimately lack of participatory governance of city complexity.

Cities must face the challenge of reorganizing their  infrastructures  and lifestyles to cope with the decreasing availability of resources, highly dependent on markets and environmental conditions. The priority in policy making is to identify suitable policies to reorganize the urban life in the presence of apparently unavoidable shrinking of the resource basis. Such reorganization will have to make cities less energy and material demanding, although still providing high quality standards of life. This cannot occur without investments and without important and shared choices about lifestyles.

What is new is that at present 50% of total world population live in cities; that 50% today means about 3.5 billion people (still growing); that the resource basis seems to be insufficient (or perhaps unfairly distributed) to support an acceptable standard of life to a large fraction of urban and rural population; and, finally, that the concentration of resources required to support cities places a huge load on surrounding environment.

What is also new is that for the first time in the history of our planet, modern transportation and communication technologies are generating an interconnected web of energy, resources, culture and information, in cities and throughout the world, capable to spur awareness and support efforts towards sustainable resource use, social cohesion and equity, inclusion and happiness. The opposite may also become true if resources and networking opportunities are not properly used through proactive attitudes and policies.

(Stockholm, 4th - 7th May 2015)