Conference Themes


The conference program is built around the core themes of the Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA) on Cities and Climate Change Science developed in Edmonton in 2018. There have been many developments in the urban sustainability agenda since Edmonton, in particular COVID-19 has transformed cities, widening existing inequalities, plunged new actors into financial hardship and exposed new vulnerabilities. When we rebuild cities in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic we must ensure that the green recovery is inclusive and provides co-benefits,
such as improving health outcomes, promoting economic development, delivering jobs and addressing gender and racial inequities. In light of these developments, Justice & Equity, Health & Wellbeing and Digitalisation/Smart Cities have been added as cross-cutting themes for the conference and will be actively considered in the GRAA review process that will take place before, during and after the conference.
The inner circle shows key cross-cutting themes; the middle circle shows the 6 key topic areas, the external circle shows three suggested approaches that help facilitate implementation of our collective efforts. Adapted from the 2018 Global Research and Action Agenda graphic originally designed by Amanali Cornejo V.

Topical Themes:

Cross-cutting Themes:

Conference Themes

Systems Approach

Holistic approaches are needed to capture and integrate diverse forms of knowledge and data from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives. Cities must also be viewed as parts of wider systems, re-integrating cities within their regions is particularly important when considering material and biological flows

Conference Themes

Justice and Equity

When we rebuild cities in the aftermath of Covid-19 we must ensure that the green recovery delivers socially just and equitable outcomes. Adaptation and mitigation strategies must be developed under participatory and inclusive structures, and deliver co-benefits such as improving health outcomes, promoting economic development, delivering jobs and addressing gender and racial inequities

Conference Themes

Health and Wellbeing

Greater understanding of the impacts of climate change on health and wellbeing is required, along with innovation to scale up the co-benefits from city adaptation and mitigation strategies (i.e. nature based solutions, air quality improvements)

Conference Themes

Digitalisation and Smart Cities

Innovation in digital technologies offers many opportunities for accelerating climate action in cities through improved operational efficiency, real-time data and analytics to aid decision-making and the creation of synergies between systems

Conference Themes

Scale

New knowledge is needed to increase our understanding of the interplay between policies and actions taken at different scales(local/national/regional), and how this affects the ability to take effective and coordinated climate action

Conference Themes

Governance

There is a need to understand the operational pathways and institutional structures for governance that effectively supports climate action in different urban contexts and which is inclusive of diverse priorities and voices in planning and decision- making

Conference Themes

City-level Models and Data

Key climate and socio-economic data are needed at the city level, along with improved climate modelling capabilities. Issues surrounding data privacy and access also need to be addressed
What do we mean by Innovation ?
GCoM’s Research and Innovation Technical Working Group understand ‘innovation’ broadly defined as a “new idea, method, or device” and a “change made to an existing product, idea, or field” (Merrium-Webster 2020). In practice, city governments and other urban actors can engage in many forms of innovation spanning problem-solving, creativity, leadership, multidisciplinary approaches, visioning, and diffusion of alternative policies, processes and products. A recent study of city governments by OECD and Bloomberg Philanthropies identified the most common innovation approaches of cities including:
1. Taking risks or testing new ideas
2. Data-driven analytics/public data management
3. Engaging residents in new ways
4. Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
5. Organizational change within the municipality
6. Human-centred design
7. Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships
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