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Urban Environmental Management

Take any of today's environmental problems faced by the inhabitants of Earth, and its causes and pressures can easily be traced back, directly or indirectly, to urban areas. The forces and processes that constitute 'urban activity' have far-reaching and long-term effects not only on its immediate boundaries, but also on the entire region in which it is positioned.

In a very broad sense, the urban environment consists of resources, human and other; processes, that convert these resources into various other useable products and services; and effects of these processes, which may be negative or positive.

  • Human Resources
  • Sunlight
  • Land
  • Water
  • Minerals
  • Electricity
  • Fuels
  • Finance
  • Intermediary products
  • Recyclable materials
  • Manufacture
  • Transportation
  • Construction
  • Migration
  • Population Growth
  • Residence/Living
  • Community Services
    (Education, Health ... )
  • Negative Effects - Pollution - air, water, noise Waste Generation - garbage, sewage Congestion, overcrowding
  • Positive Effects Products, Value-addition, Increased knowledgebase/ education, Access to better services

With the inevitable danger of overlap and generalization, GDRC identifies three dimensions in urban environments:

  • Natural Environments
    Resources, processes and effects related to flora and funa, human beings, minerals, water, land, air, etc.

  • Built Environments
    Resources, processes and effects related to buildings, housing, roads, railways, electricity, water supply, gas etc.

  • Socio-economic Environments
    Resources, processes and effects related to human activities, education, health, arts and culture, economic and business activities, heritage - urban lifestyles in general.

It is the intersection and overlay of these three dimensions that constitutes an 'urban environment'. Taking any one dimension at the exclusion of the other two poses the inevitable danger of missing the forest for the trees - the interdependency and interdisciplinarity of the three dimensions have to be fully understood in the development of coherent and sustainable policies and programmes for the urban environment.

This is particularly true with the multiplicity of actors and activities - there has been a growing realization that state agencies and activities are, but one part of a spectrum of agencies and activities that are involved in the urban environment. These and other issues are covered in depth in various documents and links found throughout the homepage. Specifically, have a look at -

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