Cities almost everywhere are challenged by a raft of big issues resulting from on-going urbanisation, environment protection issues, public safety concerns, and demographic change in a context of growing inequality in many countries, social fragmentation and decline in social capital, high unemployment, and overall more individualistic societies.
These challenges provide the context for the PASCAL International Exchanges (PIE), initiated by the PASCAL International Observatory (which has its European base at the University of Glasgow) to provide for online exchanges of ideas and experience between cities around the world. At present 16 cities across 5 continents participate in PIE. These include Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Cork, Bielefeld and a number of African cities (Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Dakar, Gaborone, Addis Ababa). Summary stimulus papers for all cities may be read on the PIE web site.
Although PIE was initiated with a traditional view of a learning city, the need for cross-sectoral integration soon became evident from the situation in some African and East Asian cities such as Taipei.
The PIE ‘EcCoWell’ paper notes the common interests shared by sectoral initiatives such as Green Cities, Healthy Cities, Learning Cities, and Safe Cities and poses the question of how such sectoral initiatives can best be integrated in more holistic approaches to good city development.
Questions for brainstorming:
- In what ways can cross-sectoral perspectives and research be brought to bear on the development of sustainable opportunity cities?
- How can initiatives in local communities benefit from insights from crosssectoral research?
- What are the priority issues for research in addressing the big issues confronting cities?
- In what ways might insights from cross-sectoral research contribute to the themes of the PASCAL Hong Kong conference?
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