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Launceston Philosophy in the Pub - Live streamed lecture



Start Date

Apr 21, 2021 3:30 pm

End Date

Apr 21, 2021 4:30 pm


Live Streamed Lecture

The School of Athens by Raphael [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Information |Description= Raphael's "School of Athens" |Source=wikimedia commons |Date=1505 |Author=Raphael |Permission=PDArt
|other_versions=Yes [] this is a cropped version

There is a live streamed lecture being offered by Professor Paul Sutton tomorrow (April 21) from 3:30-4:30pm on “Do the limits to growth apply to smart cities that have achieved the sustainable development goals?”

The lecture will be live streamed, via this link:

Paul C. Sutton is a professor in the department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Denver. Professor Sutton obtained his B.S. from Union College in Chemistry, and his M.A. and PhD in Statistics and Geography from University of California-Santa Barbara. Prior to his appointment at the University of Denver, Paul Sutton worked as a high school physics and math teacher and as a process engineer in the aerospace industry. He served as Director of Graduate Studies and the director of the MS in Geographic Information Science program at the University of Denver.

His research interests are in the general area of sustainability science, ecological economics, and population geography. Much of his research involves the use of nighttime satellite imagery for mapping and measuring population distribution, economic activity, anthropogenic impact on the environment, and urban sprawl. Dr. Sutton is also interested in the mapping and valuation of ecosystem services. Future research activity will involve the development of spatially explicit maps of carrying capacity at various spatial scales and developing metrics of urban metabolism to establish baseline measures in the field of urbanization science.

Professor Sutton serves on several international expert panels and working groups including the European Commission’s Human Planet Initiative, the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative, and the UN’s Global Environmental Outlook. Dr. Sutton serves as an editor for three academic journals: Urban Science, Sustainability and Expression Economica Revista. Professor Sutton currently lives in the town of Morrison, Colorado and served on the planning commission and is now a member of the board of trustees. Professor Sutton is also a member of the board of directors for the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG).

An interview of Professor Sutton on the topic of ‘Valuing Nature’ can be found here:

Title: Do the limits to growth apply to smart cities that have achieved the sustainable development goals? 

The year 2022 will mark the 50 year anniversary of the much maligned and controversial ‘Limits to Growth’ study which asserted that economic growth and population growth cannot continue indefinitely. Since then the world has seen major declarations and aspirations relevant to the limits to growth including: 1) The 1987 WCED (Brundtland Report coining the phrase ‘sustainable development’), 2) The 1992 UNCED (the Rio Declaration establishing Agenda 21, the UNFCCC, CBD, and UNCCD, 3) The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and 4) the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. A nascent ‘Smart City’ movement is purporting that information technology and webs of sensors will enable the perhaps contradictory goal of ‘Smart Growth’. This presentation explores the challenge of achieving ‘sustainable cities and communities’ with ‘no poverty’, ‘clean water’, ‘clean energy’ and the many other sustainable development goals through the lens of ‘Limits to Growth’.  The city of Shanghai in China has determined that it hopes to cap it’s total population at 25 million people. Here, we will contemplate the questions: Can a city become too big? Will smart cities know when they have become too big? Is the smart city movement avoiding the unpleasant limits to growth question and merely enabling the building of larger and larger cities that are even more vulnerable to exogenous shocks to their systems?