Urban Knowledge-Action Network

Future Earth’s Urban Knowledge-Action Network is a global network of researchers and other innovators in policy, business, civil society and more working to solve the most pressing challenges facing cities worldwide. We build new knowledge and tools to accelerate real-world transitions and transformations toward cities that are sustainable and liveable.

Future Earth Australia co-hosts the Urban Knowledge-Action Network with Future Earth Japan. We see this as an important contribution to building linkages across the world for urban scholars and practitioners.

Our challenge

Cities play an increasingly important role in global sustainability. Occupying less than 2% of the world’s land area, urban areas simultaneously produce most of the world’s waste and GDP. Cities are also complex settlements in which economies, cultures, biodiversity and infrastructure from public transportation to sewerage systems interact in sometimes unexpected ways.

This complexity can make it challenging to understand how actions in one area, such as to improve air quality, might affect another, such as climate. We believe that addressing these complexities takes a systems approach to generating knowledge. It also requires bringing together people and groups from all walks of life to codesign and coproduce solutions that respond to the real-world needs of urban areas across the globe.

Our challenge

Our strategy

The Urban Knowledge-Action Network convenes an engaged research base, focused on the codesign and coproduction of knowledge and tools to provide solutions to the greatest sustainability challenges facing cities. We work to incorporate the latest research findings into government, business and community decisions and policies.

We work in three key areas:

  • Building a community of practice and mobilising capacity among innovators in research, policy, business, non-government organisations and the general public for sustainable urban futures
  • Facilitating, codesigning, synthesising and amplifying research to support the implementation of global sustainability initiatives at the city level, including the New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement
  • Bringing knowledge to action by building networks, democratising data and bringing underrepresented voices into global policy and planning discussions.
Our strategy

Our work

Building a community of practice

  • Urban webinars: Learn about the latest findings in urban research and participate in training and capacity building opportunities for researchers, city officials, urban planners and more
  • Urban community: Connect to a global community of thousands of researchers and other innovators on the Open Network powered by Future Earth

Facilitating and amplifying research

  • Urban publications: See a list of publications and blogs relevant to the Urban Knowledge-Action Network.

  • Global Climate Research Agenda: Learn about our work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to chart a path for scientific research on cities and climate change.

Turning knowledge into action

  • Nature in the Urban Century: Read about this project, exploring new ways of integrating biodiversity into urban planning and design.  
  • URBES Futures: Find out about an effort to examine strategies for valuing urban biodiversity.
Our work
Join us

The Urban Knowledge-Action Network is open to a wide range of innovators working on sustainable cities, including researchers, policy-makers, business leaders, practitioners and more. For more information on how to get involved, see the Future Earth Urban website.