Towards a more sustainable and resilient future: Applying the Regional Circulating and Ecological Sphere (R-CES) concept to Udon Thani City Region, Thailand

Peer-reviewed Article
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A city region is a unit comprising an urban core and surrounding peri-urban and, occasionally, rural areas. The Regional Circulating and Ecological Sphere (R-CES) proposed by the Japanese government is a guiding approach for policymaking that prioritises the harmonised flow of resources between urban and rural areas, low-carbon society, circular economy, and self-sufficiency in order to achieve sustainability and resilience. This paper aims to examine whether the R-CES concept is applicable for the Udon Thani city region in northeastern Thailand, which is facing challenges arising from urban growth and disaster risks such as water shortages, drought, and flooding. The objectives of the research are therefore to understand the urban-rural linkages in Udon Thani in the dimensions of food and water security and personal mobility patterns, as well as the residents' awareness of urban-rural interdependencies and willingness for urban-rural partnerships according to the R-CES concept. The research results demonstrate that there are resource dependencies between the urban, peri-urban and rural areas, which is recognized by the surveyed residents, and that R-CES is a feasible framework for guiding localised actions towards increased sustainability and disaster risk resilience in Udon Thani.