About Sustainable Urban Futures

Cities, sub-national governments, local authorities and urban spaces are key components of any initiative for achieving sustainable development at the local, regional and global level. As populations concentrate in the world’s cities, the future growth of urban centres is of particular concern for planners and policy-makers in both the developed and the developing world. However, contemporary patterns of urban growth do not conform to previous experiences or expectations. Large cities in the developing world have been attracting millions of people, many of them living in sprawling slums without the most basic necessities such as housing and sanitation. People who live in the sprawling slums are more vulnerable to natural disasters. Read More

The Way We Work

The inherently interdisciplinary nature of the research members facilitate fresh thinking to be applied to pressing problems. Upon this basis tools are developed with the intention of helping cities manage the transition to a sustainable future. More on this concept can be found here.

The programme works in two main areas (climate change and biodiversity) principally through the lens of governance, to examine how local governance structures emerge and change, and how they affect the environment and development. By studying how to make global environmental policy implementation more effective at the local level through integration with other policies, we aim to develop new agendas for implementation to longstanding problems.

UNU-IAS Events

UNU-IAS encourages rigorous and open intellectual exchange by providing faculty and fellows with a stimulating interdisciplinary and multicultural academic environment. The Institute hosts round table discussions, seminars, and lectures by in-house and visiting faculty members and visiting academics on a range of issues within the broad spectrum of UNU-IAS’ research programme. These events are open to the public. For the full list of latest events please read more.

Recent Events

2nd URBIS Webinars Series 4 June 2015

Social Innovation Research Conference (SIRC) 20-22 May 2015, in Shanghai, China

Workshop on “Urban Governance for Health” 19-20 May 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya

UNU-IAS researchers participated in the ICLEI World Congress 2015 in Seoul 08-12 April 2015, in Seoul, Korea

UNU-IAS presented the co-benefits tools in the Seminar on Low Carbon City Development 29 March 2015, in Bangkok, Thailand

Health and Wellbeing in the Changing Urban Environment: a Systems Analysis Approach 8-10 December 2014, in Xiamen, China

Co-benefit tools showcased at Asia-LEDS Forum 11-13 November 2014, in Yogyakarta, Japan

UNU-IAS researchers present at UGEC2014 6-8 November 2014, in Taipei, Taiwan

Mongolian delegation given seminar on co-benefits 17 October 2014, at UNU-IAS, Japan

UInternational Symposium on Green Growth and Global Environmental Change 25-26 July 2014, in Tokyo, Japan

UNU-IAS Participates in Meetings in China to Discuss Research on Climate Change and Cities 27 May 2014, in Xiamen, China

Tackling Climate Change and Promoting Development in Cities 26 February 2014, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Workshop Held on Planning Climate Co-Benefits in the Waste Sector 24 February 2014, in Surabaya, Indonesia

Urban Development with Climate Co-Benefits: Aligning Climate, Environmental and Other Development Goals in Cities 9 December 2013, in New Delhi, India

International Workshop on Sustainable Cities Generating Climate Co-benefits in Urban Areas 2 and 3 December 2013 in Bhopal, India

UNFCCC COP19 Side Event "Climate Co-benefits in Urban Areas" 18 November 2013 at UNFCCC COP19, Warsaw

UNFCCC COP19 Side Event "A Critical Decade for Climate Policy: Efforts to Track Progress and Analyze Multiple Benefits" 14 November 2013 at UNFCCC COP19, Warsaw

Launch of the Special Volume of the Journal of Cleaner Production: “Integrating Global and Local Sustainable Development Goals in Asian Cities: Partnerships to Generate Environmental Co-benefits in Urban Areas” 16 October 2013 at UNU-IAS, Yokohama



Pineda-Zumaran, Jessice, 2015. Learning and knowledge generation in local decision making in the south: the case of urban infrastructure provision in Arequipa, Peru, Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Ahmad, Sohail and Puppim de Oliveira, Jose A., 2015. Fuel switching in slum and non-slum households in urban India, Journal of Cleaner Production.

Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. with Bing Xue, Zhixiao Ma, Yong Geng, Peter Heck, Wanxia Ren, Mario Tobias, Achim Maas, Ping Jiang, Tsuyoshi Fujita, 2015. A life cycle co-benefits assessment of wind power in China. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews .


Strengthening Development in International-Local Institutional Linkages in REDD+: Lessons from Existing Forest-Carbon Initiatives

Integrating Biodiversity with Local and City Planning: The Experience of the Studies in the Development of local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans - LBSAPs

Sohail Ahmad, 2014, “Housing demand and housing policy in urban Bangladesh”, Urban Studies.

Oliver Hillel and Jose Puppim, 2014, "The UN in the Urban Anthropocene", The Nature of Cities [blog], 23 February.


Urban Development with Climate Co-Benefits: Aligning Climate, Environmental and Other Development Goals in Cities

Journal of Cleaner Production, Special Volume: Climate Co-Benefits in Urban Asia
Edited by J.A. Puppim de Oliveira, C.N.H. Doll, T.A. Kurniawan, Y. Geng, M. Kapshe and D. Huisingh

Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Guidelines: an aid to municipal planning and biodiversity conservation

Sohail Ahmad, Osman Balaban, Christopher N.H. Doll and Magali Dreyfus, 2013, “Delhi revisited”, Cities, Volume 31, pp. 641-653.


Green Economy and Good Governance for Sustainable Development: Opportunities, Promises and Concerns

Edited by Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira

Public Administration And Sustainability: The Role of Public Institutions In Creating A Sustainable Future

Governance Challenges for Greening the Urban Economy: Understanding and Assessing the Links between Governance and Green Economy in Cities


Puppim de Oliveira, Jose Antonio; Balaban, O.; Doll, C.N.H.; Moreno-Penaranda, R.; Gasparatos, A.; Iossifova, D.; Suwa, A. (2011). “Cities, Biodiversity and Governance: Perspectives and Governance Challenges for the Convention on Biological Diversity at the City Level”. Biological Conservation, 144(5), 1302-1313.


Cities, Biodiversity and Governance: Perspectives and Challenges of the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the City Level