Launched in April 2013, the Sustainable Cities Programme of the Integrated Policies for Sustainable Societies (IPSS) Area at IGES was created to 1) develop tools and methods to assess sustainable urban transport, architecture (spatial planning), and energy solutions; 2) recommend policy frameworks, financing architectures, and engagement mechanisms to implement and scale up those solutions; and 3) create city-to-city networks to share knowledge, facilitate learning, and disseminate research findings.
Component 1: Tools and Methods
Since October 2014 the Cities Section at IGES has been developing a database to assess how well cities in developing countries of Asia are prepared for low-carbon technology transfer. In this initial development year, focus has been placed on twenty indicators in four overarching categories. Data has been gathered for 45 cities so far, detailing: (1) spatial and demographic characteristics, (2) economic and financial performance, (3) institutional and planning arrangements, and (4) international exposure.
From 2011 to 2013, IGES worked with Clean Air Asia (CAA) to map GHG emissions transport data, developed simplified MRV methodologies as well as build capacity in these areas. From this foundation, IGES will help develop methodologies to MRV transport sector projects and integrated into a decision making tool. Over the fiscal year 2013, IGES will continue to work with CAA to “test drive” that tool on bus rapid transit (BRT) and electrical vehicle (EV) projects in Indonesia and the Philippines; results will be shared via downloadable training videos. Beyond the first year, the tools and methods will be developed for not only MRVing greenhouse gases (GHG) from transport projects but also climate and other co-benefits from multi-sectoral planning solutions (including transit-oriented development).
Component 2: Urban Transformation to Low-Carbon and Eco-Cities
To help implement and scale up sustainable urban solutions, this component will develop a “best practice” matrix for urban governance. The matrix will be used to identify and understand how policy, finance, and stakeholder engagement influence urban transport, architecture (spatial planning), and energy systems. In the first year, this research will focus on Japan’s energy sector and Indonesia’s transport sector. Beyond the first year, the matrix will be expanded to be tested and tailored to a broader range of sectors and countries. Attempts will also be made to integrate the “policy variables” from this research into the tools used to evaluate solutions.
Component 3: Strengthening collaboration between local governments
To share knowledge, facilitate learning, and disseminate research findings, this component will help build a city-to-city network for sustainable urban development. The network will seek to build upon the success of the Kitakyushu initiative, bringing in cities in other parts of Japan. It will further offer a platform to share results from tool development and policy analysis in components 1 and 2.