INNOVATION TO DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY

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The Inaugural Issue of One Belt One Road was launched in December during the Guangzhou Urban Innovation Awards ceremony in Guangzhou Province of China. We were motivated to bring out this publication in order to bring together cities and communities in various countries along the Silk Route. We believe that One Belt One Road will serve to promote economic prosperity, bolster innovation and forge cooperation among the people of the region. We are encouraged by the feedback from all stakeholders to our inaugural issue and will work to make the publication an engaging platform and to contribute to the growth of a sustainable urban future in the region.

In this issue we address Urban Innovation. Relentless urbanisation driven by rapid economic growth in cities is beginning to be viewed in many regions now as an opportunity which can contribute to the betterment of society rather than as a burden or sometimes even as an impending disaster. This is causing policy makers to embrace and encourage urbanisation by making efforts to fill gaps and deficits in service provision and infrastructure. We believe that technology has enormous potential to aid city managers and local governments in their quest for better cities which are sustainable
and equitable. 

Urban waste management is a pressing challenge in cities across all regions of the world. Consumerism and changing lifestyles of people are putting pressure by generating higher amounts of municipal waste. This is creating problems for cities in terms of environmental degradation and related health hazards. However, cities small and large have made noteworthy progress by involving the community, by leveraging technology and showing great resolve in solving problems of managing urban waste. In our opinion, in addition to these efforts, there needs to be greater thrust on reducing waste generation. Appropriate lifestyle choices which encourage people to reduce and reuse can contribute greatly. How we use (and reuse) the resources on this planet can reduce waste generation and pressure on the environment. Other stakeholders, for example manufacturers can contribute by reforming their packaging methodologies. All this calls for constant innovation.

Urban mobility is among the biggest challenges. In view of dangerous levels of GHG emissions, cities (Paris, Delhi) had to take extreme measures like shutting down establishments to prevent exposure of their citizens. Technologies including use of blended fuels, electric vehicles and renewables powered mobility are available in many countries and use is growing. We also need innovations in the way we design our cities, reform public transport and reorient our lifestyles in order that we can move around in safer, more efficient ways.

In this issue, we bring you viewpoints from a number of urban practitioners on various facets of urban life with focus on innovation. Do write in to us. This will enable us make One Belt One Road a more effective platform for debate and deliberation in our journey towards more sustainable cities.