Cross-continent panel to discuss sustainable urban growth
Scholars from Yale and the National University of Singapore (NUS) will discuss the implications of high-density urban development on environmental sustainability in a cross-continent panel discussion on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).
The session, “Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainability Through High-Density Urban Development,” will feature two groups of experts — one at Yale and one at the NUS School of Design and Environment. The event will be broadcast simultaneously from Burke Auditorium in Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St. It is free and open to the public.
“The question of urban form is critical to the question of sustainable growth, having implications for a wide range of challenges, such as human health and physical activity, the urban heat-island effect and vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions,” says Marian Chertow, associate professor of industrial environmental management at F&ES, who will moderate the Yale panel.
The panel organizers write: “For the first time in history, more people are living in urban areas than anywhere else. By 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double to 6.3 billion. This epochal shift in where people live presents significant challenges to the way urban societies are designed and for how natural resources are managed. Dense cities are plagued by air and water pollution, traffic congestion, heat islands, social problems related to overcrowding, inadequate open spaces and a concentration of public health problems.”
According to NUS researchers, compact high-density development in urban areas, as demonstrated in Asia, can promote sustainable development, including the more efficient use of energy, raw materials and land, mitigating urban sprawl and the suboptimal use of urban infrastructure.
During the panel, NUS professors will present new research on high-density development and its effects on a host of issues related to transportation, public spaces and pollution.
The Yale panel will include Laura Cruickshank, who directs campus planning and the architectural design of capital projects on the Central Campus; Alan Plattus, professor of architecture and urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture who also directs the school’s China Studio; and Colleen Murphy-Dunning, director of both the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the Urban Resources Initiative at F&ES.
At NUS, Karen Seto, associate professor in the urban environment at F&ES, will moderate a panel that includes Limin Hee, an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture and leader of NUS’ Urban Studies Group; Johannes Widodo, an associate professor in the Department of Architecture and a specialist in urban history and morphology of Southeast Asian cities; Lee Der-Horng, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and an expert on transportation issues; and Lai Choo Malone-Lee, director of the Center for Sustainable Asian Cities at NUS’ School of Design and Environment and a former member of the Ministry of National Development.
The panel discussion is part of year-long F&ES seminar — titled “Urbanization: The Problem or the Solution?” — focusing on urbanization and its impact on environmental sustainability. Since 2001, when a memorandum of understanding established a formal relationship between the two schools, F&ES and the NUS School of Design and Environment have conducted faculty and student exchanges, and now collaborate on research with NUS’ new Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities.