Sustainable and Resilient Cities and Communities _ Planning Challenges and Open Issues in the Era of Climate Crisis

Humanity today faces a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure a sustainable future. These are challenges of a strong political-social-economic nature which, because of their differentiated impact on places and local societies, make it more necessary than ever to take into account the spatial dimension and local identity in spatial development. Urban and regional planning is the key to ensuring the sustainability and resilience of cities and, more generally, of the areas where people live. In other words, planning seeks to organise space and the daily lives of citizens while respecting the uniqueness of natural – cultural elements, protecting natural and man-made ecosystems and landscapes, managing resources, ensuring urban quality and safety conditions, and promoting creativity.

In the context of a multifaceted crisis, in which the climate and energy transition is taking on new importance and adjusting the priorities of the political governments of countries around the world, the organisation of sustainable and resilient communities is being projected as a necessary and sufficient condition for the survival of the human species. Increasing urbanisation and coastalisation, the abandonment of the countryside, overtourism, the diversification of production patterns and new working conditions, intense migration and refugee flows due to geopolitical changes, but also food security, the constant depletion of natural resources and the increase in natural disasters are just some of the main reasons for taking responsibility through awareness raising and the mobilisation of citizens.

In this context, where the debate on the sustainability and resilience of places and local communities is a top priority on the national agendas of countries worldwide, the aim of this article is: a) to highlight the current challenges to be faced; and b) to present the current debate on how to address them, by summarising the main sections at the political level, inextricably linked to current approaches and methodologies for ensuring urban sustainability. In this process of searching for and redefining urban development practices, the re-evaluation of planning tools takes on a new importance. This makes it imperative to develop new governance structures and ensure democratic participatory planning.

In this sense, it has become clear that a new philosophy of education and skills development is needed, not only through traditional forms of teaching, but also through active networking between theory and practice and exposure to real problems in the field. Academia must play a catalytic role in changing how urban planning and managing natural – cultural heritage are perceived. In this respect, the article aims to open the discussion to a new reality, where technological development can contribute to the urban sustainable development, if the education of citizens is ensured by establishing channels of continuous communication and cooperation between administration, universities and local communities.