Session 34: Co-benefits of addressing global environmental change in urban areas


Session Abstract

Meaningful socio-economic development goals and the mitigation of global environmental problems need to change how we develop and manage our cities. Urban interventions can be a critical step to the mitigation of urbanization-led climate change and biodiversity loss. Rapid urbanization in developing countries demands a massive provision of infrastructure, public transportation, housing and jobs for their population as well as a healthy environment. The co-benefits approach refers to the development and implementation of policies and strategies that simultaneously contribute to addressing climate change and biodiversity loss as well as solving local environmental problems, which also have other development impacts, such as improvements in health conditions and economic opportunities. The co-benefits approach is especially important for developing countries, which must overcome many challenges simultaneously with limited capacities and resources.

This session discussed the main obstacles, opportunities and challenges to implementation of environmental co-benefit related policies in urban areas. It focused on multi-disciplinary research and shared lessons on the generation and evaluation of co-benefits as well as areas of further research needed to advance the understanding of urban co-benefits. 

Keywords: urbanization, biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change mitigation, co-benefits, urban development


Key Discussion Points

  • Once stakeholders know the economic benefits of development, it is important to push other benefits, such as those related to the environment.
  • Infrastructure can reduce costs, for example, when installing new technology such as smart grid technology.
  • Active transportation, such as walking and bicycling, can have as much of an effect on public health as reducing air pollution.  Urban form can encourage active transportation through dedicated bike lanes and well-maintained sidewalks.



Wan-Yu Shih, Ming-Chuan University, Taipei, Taiwan



Wan-Yu Shih, Ming-Chuan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Presentation Title: Land Use and Urban Temperature: A case study of Taipei Metropolis

Daniel Caparros-Midwood, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Presentation Title: Optimized spatial planning against sustainability objectives

Hooman Farzaneh, United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama, Japan

Presentation Title: Assessment of the co-benefits of climate change mitigation in the urban energy system

Christopher Doll, United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama, Japan

Presentation Title: A tool to assess co-benefits in the urban transport sector

Felix Creutzig, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin, Germany

Presentation Title: Urban form and the environment

Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

Presentation Title: Building capabilities for co-benefits in urban areas: Linking local planning and Global Environmental Change through innovation


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