Cities focus human creativity, culture, and industry, and offer welfare and livelihood opportunities for billions of people worldwide. If demographic projections are borne out, cities will also be a focus of a global population explosion – particularly in developing countries – that will increasingly reflect common lifestyle experiences for humankind.
While these experiences are often positive, burgeoning urban communities will face critical challenges in coming decades. Environmental problems are particularly threatening: cities are a burden upon natural resources and pollute the air and water; development destroys the natural environment surrounding cities; and cities present enormous demands for housing, transportation, water management, and sewerage systems that in many cases are not met.
Urban environmental challenges threaten the lives of millions, and as urban populations increase, these difficulties will escalate. The goal of eco-societies is thus to manage or reverse these problems and make cities safe places in which to work, live, and nurture future generations. This goal rests upon the harmonious coexistence of humankind and the environment in which human activities are geared towards sustainability. It also relies upon sensitive political solutions.
This volume identifies and conceptualizes the ideal of urban eco-societies, embracing their technological, political, and sociological dimensions and focusing on broad but practical lifestyle changes. It outlines the innovative approaches used in partnerships among disparate actors and the widening process of cooperation on these issues that transcends national boundaries.
Takashi Inoguchi is Political Science Professor at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. Edward Newman is an Academic Programme Associate at the Peace and Governance Programme, United Nations University, Tokyo. Glen Paoletto is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan.