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Geoengineering in the Anthropocene through Regenerative Urbanism

Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Curtin University, Perth 6102, WA, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Carlos Alves and Jesus Martinez-Frias
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 46;
Received: 26 June 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
Human consumption patterns exceed planetary boundaries and stress on the biosphere can be expected to worsen. The recent “Paris Agreement” (COP21) represents a major international attempt to address risk associated with climate change through rapid decarbonisation. The mechanisms for implementation are yet to be determined and, while various large-scale geoengineering projects have been proposed, we argue a better solution may lie in cities. Large-scale green urbanism in cities and their bioregions would offer benefits commensurate to alternative geoengineering proposals, but this integrated approach carries less risk and has additional, multiple, social and economic benefits in addition to a reduction of urban ecological footprint. However, the key to success will require policy writers and city makers to deliver at scale and to high urban sustainability performance benchmarks. To better define urban sustainability performance, we describe three horizons of green urbanism: green design, that seeks to improve upon conventional development; sustainable development, that is the first step toward a net zero impact; and the emerging concept of regenerative urbanism, that enables biosphere repair. Examples of green urbanism exist that utilize technology and design to optimize urban metabolism and deliver net positive sustainability performance. If mainstreamed, regenerative approaches can make urban development a major urban geoengineering force, while simultaneously introducing life-affirming co-benefits to burgeoning cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable cities; Anthropocene; Paris Agreement; COP21; regenerative design; green urbanism; urban geoengineering sustainable cities; Anthropocene; Paris Agreement; COP21; regenerative design; green urbanism; urban geoengineering
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Thomson, G.; Newman, P. Geoengineering in the Anthropocene through Regenerative Urbanism. Geosciences 2016, 6, 46.

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