At the Alexander von Humboldt Research Institute in Bogota, Colombia, researchers have been thinking about how to balance urban development and the environment to make sure the growing cities of the future are not ecological disasters.
According to Juana Marino at the Institute’s Biological Resources Policy Programme – which investigates “Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Urban-regional Environments” – how cities grow and develop must change.
How is the trend towards rapid urbanization affecting the planet and the creation of waste?
The more people who arrive in cities, the more they demand goods and services (in a massive way!) – roads, housing, infrastructure, food, water – [creating] an impressive amount of waste, challenging traditional waste management and sanitation policies.
What role can innovation play?
Innovation is not just an option; it is a “must”, and not just the technical innovation already being carried out by infrastructure, transport and building sectors that are rapidly changing their patterns based on mitigation technologies.
Innovation is also needed in terms of biodiversity, biotechnology, information and knowledge production; appropriation, use and management. Knowledge turns into innovation when appropriated by social spheres, when it enters the social and political arenas.