The article raises the issues of ensuring sustainable development of urban areas, as well as the main problems standing in the way of achieving its goals, which is one of the most pressing topics of modern technogenic society. Methods of monitoring the sustainability of development by means of systems of indicators of various scales are considered. Special attention is paid to the problems of greening territories, as one of the main factors for ensuring sustainable development in the modern world. During the paper, some statistics are given, as well as the world practiced and benchmarks.
Humanity has for the first time become an urban species, and the number of people living in towns and cities has grown more than fivefold since 1950. Cities are key systems for global economic growth but also drivers of environmental degradation, affecting the balance between humans and natural systems. They consume two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for 70 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that by 2030, cities will be expanding into key global biodiversity hotspots, severely affecting natural ecosystems and their critical services for cities. Asia’s cities will become home to another 1.1 billion people in the next two decades as the poor continue to be drawn to better opportunities. Today, approximately 700 million people live in urban slum.
The development strategies of Lisbon and Gothenburg are the broadest and longest-term development strategies of the European Union. According to these strategic documents, Europe must renew its competitiveness base, increase its productivity and enhance social cohesion, with a focus on knowledge, innovation and human capital optimization . To achieve this goal, the European Union has set the task of mobilizing all national and public resources in relation to the policy of convergence in three main directions — economy, social issues and the environment, in order to achieve better synchronization in the overall context of sustainable development. Urban development through effective sustainable urban management meets the ambition for aligning the Lisbon Agenda and the Gothenburg Agenda, namely that sustainable economic growth can only be achieved if economic development takes into account environmental and social values.
The purpose of this study is to identify areas of urban environment management in order to form sustainable urban development in Kazakhstan.
Results аnd Discussion
- Characteristics of European regional policy
The document declared the priorities for European policy for convergence in line with the updated Lisbon Strategy. Regional policy is based on three main priorities :
– creating more jobs by increasing the level of economic activity and entrepreneurship, improving the adaptation of the labor force and enterprises, as well as increasing investment in human capital;
– stimulation of innovation, entrepreneurship and development of the knowledge economy by increasing scientific and innovative potential, as well as the development of information and communication technologies;
– improving the attractiveness of regions and cities in member countries by improving access to them, guaranteeing the quality of services provided and preserving their environmental potential.
European Union policy aims to help develop sustainable, integrated, accessible urban centers that are attractive to residents, workers, investors, and visitors, as well as to turn them into an engine of competitiveness in the regions of individual countries and the entire European Union. The European Sustainable Development Policy places particular emphasis on the potential of urban areas and the conditions in which they develop. It follows four interrelated directions, the goals of which are:
– strengthening economic prosperity and labor market, increasing employment in cities;
– promoting equality, social inclusion, and urban renewal;
– protecting and improving the urban environment, as well as managing energy resources and transport in order to achieve local and global sustainability;
– stimulating urban governance and local self-government through the design and implementation of strategic integrated urban planning and development plans .
Integrated urban development policy is implemented through the so-called integrated urban planning and development plans. They provide spatial, temporal and actual coordination and integration of different policies and planning resources to achieve the set goals using specific tools. These plans are developed by local administrations with the participation of interested representatives of the general public, with direct participation, as well as with the involvement of economic actors, civil society structures, specific social groups and the general population.
The European Commission recommends adhering to and following the seven elements in the management of integrated sustainable urban development. They are essential for making cities pleasant and comfortable to live in. Among these elements:
- Principles are the most important aspects of sustainable development and urban environment management, necessary to transform cities into comfortable and pleasant places to live.
- Politics — the nature of political participation and commitment that is needed to support cities and make them comfortable and enjoyable places to live.
- Collaboration — governance models and agreements for sharing responsibilities across multiple stakeholders that are needed to transform cities into pleasant and comfortable places to live.
- Processes — agreeing on concepts and goals for managing and monitoring the execution of actions to transform cities into a comfortable and pleasant place to live.
- Policy — meeting local needs, respecting local traditions, meeting the norms of the national and European regulatory framework.
- Plans — integration of territorial and thematic plans.
- Programs — actions to achieve agreed goals to transform cities into pleasant and comfortable places to live .
- Opportunities for sustainable urban development in Kazakhstan
The regional development policy of Kazakhstan is aimed at overcoming differences in development levels and living standards in certain parts of the country. Strategic and planning documents, developed by the requirements of the European Union, contain goals and priorities aimed at sustainable urban development .
According to various sources, now 50 % of the world's population lives in cities. According to the forecasts of the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) experts, by 2050 the population of cities will reach 70–80 % .
One of the goals laid down in the National Development Plan of Kazakhstan as a strategic area of intervention is an urban development in general and in particular the stimulation of investments for:
– urban infrastructure and improved transport links aimed at increasing growth potential not only in cities but also in areas adjacent to them;
– improving life and the environment in the largest communities;
– reducing the environmental pollution in cities and reducing traffic congestion in Almaty;
– support of medium and small towns, which compensate by their development for the absence of a large urban center, contributing to their development and the development of the surrounding regions.
Developed following the priorities of the National Development Plan, the National Strategic Reference Program defines the development of large cities as a key factor in the integral economic development of the country. One of the main priorities of the strategy is «Support for balanced territorial development», which determines the presence of large cities and their potential for future development, as the main factor in the spread of positive impact on the rest of the country. With urban planning, the priority is to achieve specific goals related to improving urban centers by offering the best opportunities for those who live there, for those who live close to them, and, when possible, for those who are far from them; improving the condition of the housing stock, physical environment, technical infrastructure links in cities; renovation of production areas in cities, including the relocation of some production buildings, to provide space for other establishments, which have thus far been neglected in meeting urban needs .
Urban development and its role in stimulating regional development are under consideration of the National Strategy for Regional Development. Specific strategies for achieving sustainable urban development and improving the urban environment are aimed at implementing a strategy for increasing the competitiveness of cities, restoring the physical environment, developing the outskirts and preserving the historical and cultural heritage, measures to encourage entrepreneurship, local employment, and improving the quality of life in cities; carrying out measures to physically renovate old industrial zones and improve the urban environment in residential areas, eliminate ghettos and improve the improvement of populated areas, districts, and neighborhoods, increase access to public services and education; strengthening the relationship of the city with the adjacent territories, improving communications in the surrounding territories, creating jobs, developing transport links and increasing mobility; promotion of environmentally friendly urban public transport in large cities of the country (Figure 1).
Fig. 1. Settlement system of Shymkent city
Sustainable and integrated development of urban areas is highlighted as the first priority for the implementation of the Operational Program «Regional Development». This priority is aimed at improving the economic, social, residential, and natural environment in cities, as well as the service infrastructure, which is the engine of regional development. The geographic scope of the priority “Sustainable and Integrated Development of Urban Areas” in Kazakhstan is defined at the middle administrative-territorial level .
- Management of sustainable development of cities
According to the Law on Regional Development, the state policy of regional development is aimed at creating conditions for a balanced and sustainable integral development of districts and regions. To date, regional development plans are the main instrument for applying integrated development policy at the local level, and they are also the main instrument for implementing urban development policy.
Opportunities offered by the Regional Development Operational Program to areas falling within the major zones include the development of Integrated Urban Planning and Development Plans (IAPPs), which aim at sustainable urban governance.
Integrated plans for urban planning and development should be developed on the basis of existing strategic documents — general and private building plans, national, regional, regional plans, strategies, and programs that contribute to the implementation of the set strategic and specific goals, priorities, and activities.
Integrated plans for urban planning and development can be developed covering the whole city — the center of the region, located in a given agglomeration, or part of the city, the so-called «intervention zone». It is a separate urban area with a certain basic functional purpose, similar characteristics and state of the physical environment, social and ethnic structure of the population, etc .
Regardless of which combination will be chosen, the interventions (projects) laid down in the IPHRR should be aimed at the main priorities of urban development planning, including:
- Economic development through: support for small and medium enterprises; increasing the innovative potential of the city; stimulating public-private partnerships; improvement and reconstruction of existing or development of new technical infrastructure related to the business.
- Social inclusion and consideration of the needs of disadvantaged groups by: combating unemployment and increasing employment through education; improving the living conditions of socially disadvantaged groups of the population; supporting equal opportunities for general planning and implementation of regional social service systems; integration of unequal groups.
- Improving the state of the environment, improving the quality of life and the corresponding environmental conditions by: protecting water, air, land, as well as protection from noise; improving the quality of the urban landscape; construction of new parks and reconstruction of urban green areas; prevention of energy efficiency risks and search for new energy sources; prevention and elimination of environmental losses and garbage collection.
- Ensuring a high-quality urban environment by: renovating abandoned urban areas for the development of business and services; changes and updates of running or underused zones; improving the quality of significant public spaces in cities; improving the quality and public services of residential areas; creation and / or improvement of the quality of functioning of the infrastructure of culture and recreation; restoration and support of buildings — cultural monuments; security infrastructure.
- Transport accessibility and efficient urban transport through: revision of transport priorities in favor of «soft forms» of transport (walking, cycling); development of ecological and energy-efficient mass public passenger transport; creation and strengthening of an integrated mass public passenger transport system in cities and adjacent territories; investments in technical and organizational measures for the management of mass public passenger transport.
- Effective urban management through: an integrated approach to sustainable urban development; civil society institutions; communication and exchange of experience of existing practices.
Today Kazakhstan city is not only a cultural and educational center, but also a scientific center for creation and consumption of innovations. Approximately 56 % of the country's population is concentrated in the cities, along with the majority of enterprises, organizations, scientific and educational centers. The socio-economic development of the entire country depends on the successful social and economic development of its cities, since by virtue of their existing potential and potentialities, cities can provide quality «breakthroughs» in the development of economy and other spheres of public life. However, this statement is true for large and big cities only. Currently, only these cities can provide maximum services and opportunities; they play the role of organizing elements. The larger the city, the more opportunities it has to concentrate production in its territory and accordingly more opportunities to develop its own economy and the economy of the nearby cities.
Based on the presented methodology, a number of integrated urban planning and development plans have been and continue to be developed in many European Union member states. Each of them has the goal of providing and supporting innovations in urban planning and development to increase the economic and social convergence of countries. Each of the implemented plans is aimed at a group of the above priority areas of urban planning and development.
For a more objective assessment, it is proposed to calculate the indicator taking into account the density of the distribution of plantations over the territories of the city districts using geographic information systems (GIS). The result of this assessment will be the identification of the main problems standing in the way of sustainable development of the studied territories, as well as the search for rational ways to solve them.
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