The APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Conference (SCL) 2022 brought nearly a hundred in-person participants together in Honolulu, USA, September 6-9, making it the first in-person APRU program event after a three-year pandemic hiatus.
Held under the theme: Climate Risk and Urban Resilience-Challenges Ahead and hosted by the University of Hawi’i at Manoa (UHM), the SCL engaged eleven inter-disciplinary working groups, including the new working group Pandemics, Humanitarian Emergencies & Health led by APRU Global Health Program Director Dr. Mellissa Withers; and two working group sessions held fully remotely which were Urban Landscape Biodiversity and Children, Youth and Environment groups.
An on-site student symposium invited students from all levels to present their work and discuss their research with paired mentors. An exciting field trip to Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum and University of Hawaiʻi Community Design Center gave attendees background and knowledge of Hawaii’s historical stories, civic engagement, and community design.
The APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program was founded in recognition of the fact that more people live in the world’s cities than in rural areas today. Understanding the interconnection between human activity, resource use, biodiversity protection and the interdependence between cities themselves becomes truly essential to solving the critical sustainability issues facing the Pacific Rim societies.
“It was very encouraging to see how the SCL 2022 engaged over 80 in-person participants plus more than 20 online participants across Asia, North America, South America and Australasia, with the shared aim of highlighting the importance of sustainability to the Pacific Rim as well to the globe,” said Professor Michael Bruno, Provost, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, in his lightning talk on urban oceans.
“UHM will continue to fully support APRU activities aiming towards well-prepared and resilient urban societies,” he added.
Among the other key attendants was Prof. Makena Coffman, Director of the UHM’s Institute for Sustainability and Resilience, who served as a key organizer of the SCL 2022. Prof. Michael Richards, Associate Vice-President of Research and Dr. Andréanne Doyon, Director of the Resource and Environmental Planning Program from Simon Fraser University, Canada, joined the SCL conference for the first time. Doyon is now aiming to engage further with the SCL program, including by co-leading a working group.
The University of Oregon’s (UO) Dr. Yekang Ko, who is the Director of APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes, led a group of UO faculty and students to attend the SCL 2022. Ko served as the lead of two SCL 2022 leadership meetings to curate current and future plans of working groups and discuss the next step for the second 5-year plan of the SCL program. The next SCL annual conference will be in Ecuador led by Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Colleagues who attended the conference presented initial ideas for the SCL 2023.