Water Journal : Water Journal November 2014
NOVEMBER 2014 WATER 39 Feature Article Peri-urban areas are zones of transition from rural to urban land uses located between the outer limits of urban and regional centres and the rural environment. The boundaries of peri-urban areas are porous and transitory as urban development extends into rural and industrial land. Irrespective of how the boundaries move, however, there will always be peri-urban zones. There are growing concerns about water and food security to meet increases in population in urban areas. For cities to be liveable and sustainable into the future there is a need to maintain the natural resource base, food production and the ecosystem services in the peri-urban areas surrounding cities. Development of peri-urban areas involves the conversion of rural lands to residential use, closer subdivision, fragmentation and a changing mix of urban and rural activities and functions. Changes within these areas can have signi cant impacts upon ecohydrological functions, environmental amenity and natural habitat, supply and quality of water, and water and energy consumption. These changes affect peri-urban water and land management, as well as food production. URBANISATION IS INEVITABLE Urban expansion is accelerating with projections that cities will accommodate more than 70 per cent of the global population by 2050 (United Nations, 2011). The growth of urban areas will be dominated by vertical expansion of mega cities and horizontal expansion in surrounding areas into peri-urban zones. It is not fully appreciated that what occurs in peri-urban areas affects both the urban area and surrounding rural communities. The urbanisation process presents unprecedented complex environmental, social, economic and political challenges. Although there are diverse local conditions and scales, the problems of expanding cities have similarities worldwide. In the period up to year 2050, the growth of urban population will occur primarily in the developing countries of Asia and Africa (McGee, 2009). This region could contribute up to some 60 per cent of urban increase in this period. The growth of urban places will be dominated by two spatial processes: rstly, the growth of central cities in mega-urban regions; and secondly an ongoing process of horizontal urban expansion into surrounding hinterlands creating peri-urban regions that will contain up to 70 per cent of mega- urban regions population by 2050. This latter process presents many environmental, economic, political and social challenges if the goals of achieving sustainable, liveable and productive urban regions are to be achieved. PERI-URBAN 14 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE The International Conference on Peri-Urban Landscapes: Water, Food and Environmental Security (www.periurban14.org) was held in Sydney from July 8--10, 2014. Various issues and challenges, including governance, were addressed at the Conference, which was attended by over 150 policy makers, researchers, planners, government of cials, NGOs, private sector specialists and community groups from 16 countries. The conference concluded that peri-urban development as a consequence of urbanisation is unstoppable, and that it requires special and urgent policy and governance attention to meet the challenges of water, energy, food, environment and liveability of cities we face both now and into the future. The conference identi ed a number of key challenges and actions for policy and planning future urban areas. Key challenges of sustaining future urban areas • The rate and complexity of urban expansion often results in ad-hoc and fragmented policy and planning with inequitable investment across the affected landscapes and unsustainable development. • Vertical expansion of housing cannot alone meet the demand for urban expansion, and so there will be continued pressure on non- urbanised lands. • Given their transitional status and rapidity of change, peri-urban areas face unique challenges. In particular, there is a need to address multi-dimensions of poverty in emergent urban societies. • Unless governments take immediate actions to address the resulting challenges, current and future generations will suffer massive escalating economic costs, ecological degradation, political disruption and cultural dislocation. PLANNING FOR WATER AND LAND: SUSTAINABILITY OF EXPANDING CITIES The recent International Conference on Peri-Urban Landscapes produced plenty of food for thought regarding the challenges faced in sustainable planning. Basant Maheshwari and Bruce Simmons from the School of Science & Health at University of Western Sydney continue the discussion. The poster area and exhibition. Professor Ramesh Purohit from India looking at an exhibition related to KISSS irrigation system.
Water Journal September 2014
Water Journal December 2014