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Research Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact the world in 2021. Nevertheless, a record number of Local and Regional Governments (LRGs) have presented a Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) in 2021. For many of them, this year’s review was their second or third edition. VLRs are a process through which LRGs conduct a voluntary assessment of their progress...

IEA – EBC – Annex 83

This presentation explores how Japanese cities are planning to transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. It first reviews national mechanisms in place to support local governments’ efforts to become net-zero. The presentation continues by presenting the case of Kitakyushu City and its current policies. It concludes by asking how a shrinking...

Earth Day Forum

This presentation explores how Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) can help to accelerate the local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It reviews the benefits of conducting a VLR for local governments, and details how this process provides a framework to guide SDG localisation, looking at recent examples of cities that have...

Peer-reviewed Article
In URBAN DESIGN International

Planners worldwide are exploring ways to regenerate shrinking cities, varying from pro-growth strategies with the aim of reversing population losses, to strategies that manage urban decline by adjusting the built environment to a smaller population. However, both approaches are reactionary rather than anticipatory, addressing decline after...

Conference Paper
Regions in Recovery Second Edition 2022: Re-imagining Regions

A Voluntary Local Review (VLR) is an instrument to review and follow-up progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thus accelerating their localisation. Since 2018, a growing number of local governments worldwide are turning to the VLR process to articulate their sustainable development policies, highlighting the growing...

12th High-level Seminar on Sustainable Cities

At the 2018 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) held in New York, four pioneer local authorities presented the first ever Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). Kitakyushu, New York, Shimokawa, and Toyama opened a space for other local governments to be part of the global conversation on sustainable development. This presentation frames the VLR movement...

Global Asia Studies Workshop

Japan is shrinking. How are Japanese cities and towns adapting their policies to this new context? Local governments are struggling to identify suitable development models to address their smaller size, heavily relying on pro-growth responses seeking to halt and reverse population decline. They are tirelessly trying to lure urban migrants, increase...

Analysis of Architectural Form

This presentation examines the future challenges of shrinking cities. In particular, it focuses on Japanese shrinking cities, exploring how sustainability values are reshaping policies to tackle urban shrinkage. It concludes by questioning how can Japanese cities begin adapting now to the challenges ahead and which sustainable alternatives can help...

2nd Regional Partners Forum – @Quito+5: Accelerating Action for Sustainable Urbanization in Asia and the Pacific

This presentation examines how Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) are supporting the localisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It draws upon the analysis of VLR reports presented between 2018 and 2020 to argue that VLRs ease the implementation of the SDGs by fostering horizontal...

13th Asian-Pacific City Summit

This presentation provides hands on guidance on how to conduct a Voluntary Local Review (VLR). It briefly discusses the history of the VLR movement, how conducting a VLR benefits cities, the challenges facing local governments, and the way forward based on the analysis of VLR reports presented between 2018 and 2020.

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