How do we build sustainable cities? Russell co-authors Science piece that offers a prescription

Friday, 27 May 2016
Cover of Science special issue on urban issues.

A just-published special issue of the journal Science includes a commentary co-authored by Armistead Russell offering eight principles to transform cities into smart, sustainable, healthy urban centers.

The authors outline the ways they believe communities can use the wealth of data now available to them to begin making systems-level decisions to reinvent their cities.

Their recommendations include:

  • Providing basic infrastructure for all residents, especially in places in Asia and Africa where nearly half of some cities’ populations live in slums
  • Pursuing urban health improvements, like neighborhood-level health interventions and equal access to healthy food and green spaces for all residents.
  • Diversifying the strategies used in different parts of the world, understanding that what works in the United States or Europe may not be most efficient or sustainable in China or elsewhere.
  • Recognizing the co-evolution of infrastructure and institutions so that technological advances can be properly managed and infrastructure matches the community’s level of need.

The work comes out of a large, National Science Foundation-funded project Russell co-directs called a Sustainability Research Network. The multi-year research involves nine universities and draws on collaborations in China, India and the United States.

Read the full commentary in Science.