We have entered a new urban era in which the ecology of the planet is increasingly influenced by human activity. Due to increasing urbanisation, cities have become the center of attention, as they generate a rising demand for natural resources and have a global environmental impact. This URBES fact sheet explains the importance of understanding the relationship between people and nature in urban planning and decision making in order to achieve urban resilience and sustainability.
Urbanisation puts increasing pressure on nature, and weakens its resilience to a changing climate and events such as natural disasters, with devastating consequences for cities and their inhabitants. With the recent memories of hurricanes Sandy and Haiyan, floods in England and Wales, urban heat waves and air pollution, in addition to increasing costs of energy, food and water supply, cities and urbanized regions are aware of the urgent need for action.
Many cities have seen an increase in community initiatives for restoring nature and have supported sustainable activities. There is now an opportunity to strongly improve global sustainable development over the next two to three decades by increasing resource efficiency, and exploring how cities and citizens can reconnect to the biosphere and become responsible stewards of biodiversity and ecosystem services, both within and beyond city boundaries.