UN’s Shanghai Manual Launches to Guide Urban Futures

expo carbon.JPG

A powerful triumvirate,
the United Nations, Bureau International Des
and the mayor of Shanghai, released this week the Shanghai Manual:A Guide for Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century.This timely (and free!) manual is
aimed at helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban
planning, management, financing and technology to green their
economies and build climate and economic resilience.

“The Shanghai Manual details
the experience and practices of cities across the world in addressing common
challenges and achieving harmonious development…and is therefore of great
theoretical and practical value,” Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said at
Monday’s launch, according to the Shanghai Daily.

Aimed at a
target readership of mayors and executive leaders of developing nation cities,
the bilingual (English and Chinese) Shanghai
is the basis for capacity building and training being rolled out in Asia next week by the United Nations. City leaders representing 12 Asian nations will attend the United Nations Center for Regional Development in
Nagoya, Japan, where UN officials and I will lead urban sustainability training
for leaders ranging from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Karachi, Pakistan,
to Makati (Manila), Philippines. In addition smaller cities including Chiang Mai, Thailand are participating.

Shanghai, China’s largest city (17 million+ in the city
proper), earned the street cred of being the manual’s namesake by hosting the 2010 World
Expo (photo above), so its mayor was honored with the manual’s unveiling. Also attending the launch was Sha Zukang, United Nations Undersecretary-General as well as Secretary-General of the 2012 United Nations Conference on
Sustainable Development known as Rio+20. The Shanghai Manual is credited by the UN as an important contribution to the Rio+20 agenda.

The Shanghai
, which I co-authored with colleagues at the United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, emerged from the 2010 Shanghai Expo, the largest
world’s fair in history. Devoted to the theme of “Better City, Better Life,”
the expo was the first global event of its kind to recognize climate change, and was
dedicated to sustainability education. The expo featureddemonstrations on resource efficiency and new approaches in transportation, water
and material use, biological restoration, industrial ecology and low-carbon, low-impact development.

Loscertales, secretary general
of the World Expo Bureau called the Shanghai Manual, “The most precious
legacy of the Expo Shanghai.”

China now recognizes that its future is bound up in seriously grappling with sustainability issues: the country accounted for half the entire world’s construction activities in
2010. Over the next 30 years, China’s massive planned urbanization is adding hundreds of millions more
people, so it must continually innovate low-carbon and resource-efficient urban planning and development.

The integrated sustainability approaches highlighted in the Shanghai Manual include
the use of activities such as participatory budgeting and in-situ slum revitalization, while other planning investigates non-motorized transport, transit-oriented
development, dedicated cycling tracks, as well as congestion and demand
management of transportation.

Management strategies include coordination of the formal and informal sectors (i.e., the  rag-pickers of Pune, India), city-scale
rainwater harvesting and zero-waste applications.

Social-cultural issues covered include the use of social networks, micro-finance and mobile
communications, and bridging the
digital divide with e-governance and e-learning. Technological investigations focus on distributed renewable energy, smart city applications including
remote sensing and smart grids, along with analytical tools such as carbon-footprinting,
eco-mapping and city sustainability dashboards.

Based on 47 case
studies from a range of cities, the
Shanghai Manual highlights successful integrated long-term urban planning,
economic development, program and project implementation and multi-stakeholder

Thematically divided into ten chapters it covers (case studies are listed for

Towards a
Harmonious City
:Sustainable Sydney
2030; Nairobi Metro 2030

Effective Urban Management
:  New York City’s Integrated Sustainability Planning and Management; Slum Upgrading in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Mexico
City’s Plan Verde; Porto Allegre, Brazil’s Participatory Budgeting

: Baoding, China’s Clean Energy Economy; Bilbao, Spain’s Ria
2000; South Korea’s Smart Grid 2030 Roadmap; San Jose, United States’ Green
Vision; Germany’s Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Energy

Guangzhou, China’s Bus Rapid Transit System; Bogotá, Colombia and Copenhagen, Denmark’s Planning for
Cycling; Goteborg, Sweden’s Planning for Multi-Mobility; Singapore’s Traffic
Congestion Management;  Berlin’s Low-Emission

:Pune, India’s Rag-picker
Cooperative; Bogotá, Colombia’s
Contracting of Formal and Informal Sectors; Extended Producer Responsibility in
Mauritius; Dhaka, Bangladesh’s Community-based Composting to Convert Organic
Waste to Resource and Generate Carbon Credits

: Madrid’s Bamboo Ecobuilding; Hamburg, Germany’s Haften
City;  US Green Building Council’s LEED
Program;Masdar City, United Arab
Emirates’ Hot Climate Appropriate Design; Washington, DC’s George Washington
University’s Landscape and Building Water Management

& Technology
: Sophia Antipolis, France’s Science & Technology Park
Development;  San Diego, United States’
Biotech Cluster Development; Mexico City’s Biometropolis Medical Park;Singapore’s Media 21 Global Media City;
China’s Torch Program Development; Gautang, South Africa’s Innovation Hub 

and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Smart Cities
: Singapore’s Digital
Master Plan 2015; Mumbai, India’s e-Governance; Leeds, United Kingdom’s
e-Learning Vision;Bridging the Digital
Divide in Zambia, Africa; Dhaka, Bangladesh’s Monitoring of Land Use and Land Cover
Change Using Remote Sensing; Eco-Maps in Amsterdam and San Francisco

and Sustainable Cities
: Quito, Ecuador’s Historic Preservation;Frankfurt, Germany’s Office of Multicultural
Affairs; Development of a Bengali-British Identity in Spitalfields, United
Kingdom;London and Toronto’s Creative
Spaces Project;  Johannesburg, South
Africa’s Creative Industries

:2010 Shanghai Expo’s Global
Platform for Future Urban Development; Ningbo, China’s Leveraging Shanghai Expo
2010 to Boost Urban Transformation;
Aichi, Japan’s World’s First Eco-Expo; Beijing, China’s 2008
Olympics;Torino, Italy’s Managing
Multilevel Partnerships; Lille, France’s 2004 Olympics; Rio De Janeiro’s
Preparation for UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

(Photo: Shanghai Expo 2010, copyright Warren Karlenzig)

Warren Karlenzig is president of Common Current. He is a fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute, author of How Green is Your City? and co-author
the Shanghai Manual on global
sustainable city planning and management.