The world is going through unprecedented climate change that is resulting in considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Human settlements emit between 37 and 49 % of the world’s total greenhouse gases and are home to concentrated populations that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rapid urbanization is transforming places, populations, economies, and the built environment at an exceptional speed and scale. About 55 % of total urban land in 2030 is expected to be developed in the first three decades of the 21st century, largely occurring in areas of increasing vulnerability to extreme climate events. In addressing this rapid transformation, infrastructure development and urban form are playing fundamental roles as key drivers of GHG emissions.
IMPORTANCE OF PLANNERS
In the context of urgency, the community of urban planners increasingly acknowledge their critical role and responsibility in tackling the future of cities. They realize the urgent need to take sustainable pathways towards addressing climate change in their practice. They increasingly incorporate climate change in their planning practices through comprehensive integrated approaches that reduce emissions, adapt and prepare human settlements for climate change.
There is a critical need to build the capacity of planners and ensure that all graduate-level urban/regional planning curriculum prepare future professionals to plan for effective climate action. However, with the significant growth of institutions of higher education worldwide focusing on sustainable urban issues, the monitoring of academic materials and findings among these institutions is increasingly complicated. Consequently there is a lack of coordination, collaboration and sharing of syllabus between academics and researchers.
UN-Habitat and UNI, its global partnership with universities, discussed during WUF9 in Kuala Lumpur the need for developing a structured central repository of materials to allow Habitat UNI partners to easily share, search and access educational and research products. This way, if multiple academics from different universities and regions are teaching the same course, they can share their curricula to enrich the content, to have different perspectives and points of view on the same topic, and to collaborate with academics from other academic institutions and research centres.