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Integrating Urban Planning and Ecological Sustainability 22

Integrating Urban Planning and Ecological Sustainability 22

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Published by Nikodimos Takele

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Published by: Nikodimos Takele on Aug 10, 2011
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tegrating urban planning and Ecologicalustainability:
 A Multidimensional Framework
Malmö University
Department of Urban StudiesSustainable Urban ManagementGlobal Urban Challenges, BY603E, 15 credits
 An ecologically sound sustainable urban development pattern has been highlighted as a major  principle in urban development in recent years which was followed by a concern regarding thesufficiency of urban planning in delivering sustainable urban development. Consequently manyauthors have proposed planning frameworks that integrate urban planning and ecologicalsustainability. However there is still need for an all-encompassing and comprehensive framework tointegrate urban planning and ecological sustainability. Based on a synthesis of desirablecharacteristics of prior integrated planning frameworks, various planning paradigms and case studiesa comprehensive framework is proposed to integrate urban planning and ecological sustainability. Acase study on the city of Malmö has also provided interesting aspects that empower the framework  proposed.
 Keywords: Urban planning, ecological sustainability, Integrated planning
Unrestrained urban growth constrains sustainable urban development (UN-Habitat 2009)giving rise to unsustainable patterns such as over exploitation of natural resources, ecosystemdestruction and environmental pollution. The widely accepted 1987 Brundtland report “OurCommon Future” which calls for sustainable development - development that meets the needsof the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needsimply the need for adopting sustainable development paths in urbanization, where much of the global environmental problems can be traced back to.Intensifying environmental problems and the global need for sustainable urban developmenthas led some practitioners and authors to question the sufficiency of urban planning indelivering sustainable urban development. The UN-Habitat global report on humansettlements (2009) views mainstream urban planning as narrow and too procedural to contendwith the multi-faceted contemporary urban problems and echo the need for planningapproaches that respond to urban sustainability concerns. Similarly many authors (Slocombe1992 and 1993, Campbell 1996, He et al. 2010) have recognized the apparent shortcomings inurban planning to tackle contemporary environmental concerns and consequently proposeddifferent frameworks to address the shortcomings through integrating urban planning andecological sustainability.
Planning is a complex task simply because the subject matter involved is multitemporal,multivariate and multidimensional (Lein 2003). Urban planning is no different andintegrating it with ecological sustainability, i.e. integrated planning, will add to thedimensions and variables of planning. Previous integrated planning frameworks proposed donot wholly capture the variables and dimensions associated with integrating ecologicalsustainability and urban planning. Hence there is still need for an all-encompassing andcomprehensive framework that can capture all the dimensions and variables associated withintegrating urban planning and ecological sustainability.
Purpose of the Study
The aim of this study is to present a comprehensive framework for integrating urban planningand ecological sustainability that captures all the associated variables and dimensions.
The study comprises of two parts. The first part is the presentation of the framework whichwill be achieved through a review and synthesis of desirable characteristics of priorintegrating frameworks, urban planning paradigms and case studies.Fainstein (2000) and Bulkely (2005) also suggested empiricism and best practices provide thebasis for policy transfer and learning for sustainable urban development, hence, the secondpart will be a case study on the city of Malmö with the aim of exploring additional aspects tothe framework to better operationalize the integration of ecological sustainability with urbanplanning. A case study is an empirical investigation of a real life phenomenon (Yin 2003).Semi-structured interviews (see A1) and review of relevant articles and publications are themethods used to conduct the case study.
After the preparation of semi-structured questions, the questions were communicated to thecity planning office via email with purposes clearly stated and elaborated. Semi-structuredquestions are preferred in situations where it is desired for the interviewee to take a leadingrole and provide in-depth information about the phenomenon being researched without beingbounded (see Yin 2003), which was desired in this study. The questions were soon repliedwith the required information and additional documents providing in-depth information on thequestions raised. A second and final group of questions were also communicated to theEnvironment department (see A2) which was replied in the same manner. A separatequestionnaire was prepared to the environment department since it was important to have alook on some of the issues from the vantage point of the environment department.

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