International workshop, 24-25 February 2010, Tainan, Taiwan
This international workshop brought together researchers and students from Asian countries and focused on three themes: 1) urban metabolism (food, water, energy, waste); 2) designing rural-urban systems in Asia (food production, landscape, rural and urban planning); and 3) culture, economy and governance.
The AGS at the University of Tokyo and the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S) is focusing on city-regions as models for sustainable urban development in Asia. The fringes of Asian cities are traditionally characterized by a mix of urban and rural land uses, and researchers argue that these multi-functional areas offer many opportunities for more sustainable urban development, compared to conventional urban planning that tries to separate urban and rural areas and functions.
Urban agriculture can offer benefits such as a supply of agricultural products within the urban area, a reduction of the heat island effect, the integration of urban and rural social networks, and the support of an important informal sector. Most importantly, peri-urban areas can sustain the development of a resilient and adaptive society. However, peri-urban farmland is threatened by urbanization, and new policies, including new land tax systems, and strong local governance with local participation are needed to maintain urban agriculture. A strong point coming out of the workshop discussions is the importance of participatory approaches in the development of future cities and city fringes. Researchers need to engage local residents, municipalities, and the private sector to support the development of resilient and adaptive cities.
The proceedings of the two sustainable city-regions workshops will be published together as a book.