World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) Introduction
An initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development with the World Economic Forum
The World Sustainable Capitals initiative will create a network of capital cities, industry leaders, and academic experts, which will advance and promote the member cities’ efforts to develop a more sustainable economy, environment, and society, while retaining their unique cultural heritage. It is the WSC’s ambition that in so doing these cities may lead surrounding regions to which they are inextricably linked, and ultimately contribute to the sustainable development of cities and regions around the world.
The upcoming challenges for sustainable economic development will certainly be originated and decided in cities. With the number of people living in urban areas growing to five billion by 2030, urbanization is a global trend impacting citizens, governments, and industries. Increasingly, cities are becoming the places where government and industry deliver new ideas and innovative urban projects. Urban centers are public spaces where it is possible to find multicultural, cross-sectoral solutions and where the necessary conciliation between private and public interests may be found. Cities must therefore become leading actors for implementing sustainable planning and economic policies, and must be guided in their effort.
Cities around the world are dealing with urban growth issues related to achieving economic stability, environmental preservation, social equity and cultural development. Such a statement demonstrates that a City’s development can’t be steered simply by market economy. To examine the implications of these issues for cities at a global scale, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development have developed a sustainable vision (Vision 2030) that embodies the wider aspects of urban life. Through their WSC initiative, the current thinking on the “sustainability” concept has evolved to encompass four major points of views : economic, social, cultural and environmental. Each view corresponds to a domain that has its own distinct driving forces and objectives. WSC intends to initiate a debate on how the four pillars might be interconnected within development policy. The fourth vertex “cultural” has been integrated as part of this cohesive development strategy and convert the triangle into a pyramid.
On the occasion of Summer Davos Meeting in Dalian, China in September 2009, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council announced its regional partnership with the World Economic Forum. In the context of this partnership, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) and the World Economic Forum agreed on sharing expertise on strategic issues linked to sustainable urban development and diversified economic growth. The collaboration ties into two reference documents that are framing the Emirate’s development dynamic, the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 of the UPC and the Economic Vision 2030 of the ADCED.
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