in: Sustainable Mega City Communities, Woodrow W. Clark, Editor, Elsevier Science, Oxford/Amsterdam , Amsterdam, pp.1-267, 2021
The urgency of climate change clearly indicates that human civilization cannot continue as before, and entire systems, particularly urban systems, need to be open to realizing transitions that alter the ways of using energy, water, and natural resources. Urban emissions can be summarized based on three drivers, namely the use of embodied and operational energy, impacts of spatial decisions on human activities, and land use change. Urban systems require a focus on rapidly limiting and reversing these drivers of emissions while preserving precious carbon sinks toward reaching net-zero emissions. In particular, transitions in urban and infrastructure systems are necessary to accelerate the climate mitigation response for realigning existing trajectories to no more than 1.5 degree Celsius of global warming. The scope of these transitions must take into account multiple urban systems in integration with urban planning. This chapter undertakes opportunities for decoupling urban growth and emissions from environmental pressures. The central focus includes perspectives from an original composite indicator while spanning urban growth and renewable energy solutions. Urban systems that achieve integrated approaches can secure a better future and contribute to a safer planet.