What are the opportunities for bridging education, research, and practice for sustainable cities?

Cities are taking more and more importance every day, as on one hand are the center of wealth and the place that brings the opportunity to improve the quality of life of millions, and on the other major concentrate many social and environmental issues. According to some forecast 90% of the urban growth over the next 15 years will occur primarily in developing countries, this is the main reason why it’s necessary to develop the capacities and implement policies that will drive them to the transition to sustainable urban development.

In this context, education plays a major role as provider of the capacities needed to deal with challenges like informal settlements, access to transport and services, to mention some. This the main driver behind the SUSTAIN Project, as it aims to generate quality and innovative learning, promote collaboration and international cooperation between higher education institutions. The project is organizing the Sustainable Cities Conference in Rotterdam, between 12 -13 July, 2016 in order to connect and engage students, educators, researchers, higher education institutes, cities’ associations, and urban practitioners in meaningful and dynamic discussions on the topic of sustainability in cities.

To help them respond one of the main questions of the conference related to What are the opportunities for bridging education, research, and practice for sustainable cities? During the second day of the conference I am My City will be presenting how is possible to focus on sustainable urban development in practice with a clear example: the Spazi Centrali project in Milan, showing new patterns for sustainable forms of cooperation between stakeholders involved in the regeneration of a neighborhood generating. This is is done through a “think big – act small” approach focusing on specific public spaces, which upgrade can bring a bigger impact on the surrounding area (not only geographically, but also and foremostly social) than the outcome of the project itself.

With this example we show that all what we learn about urban management and development, we used to start an applied research, customized for every context but creating a possible outcome in practice to reach the cities we want to enjoy now.