Land resources are facing increased demand from diverse interests. The growing needs for infrastructure, food production, housing, recreation, and conservation produce significant conflicts for policy makers and land owners. There is a need for practices and technologies that can integrate the management of land, water, biodiversity, food supply, and green infrastructure, to meet human needs while ensuring the long-term resilience of ecosystem services and livelihoods. Maintaining, restoring and increasing ecosystem services associated with urban microclimate, air and water quality, runoff, aesthetics and recreation, among others can be coupled with both biodiversity conservation and economic goals.
Maximizing the outcomes achieved from land resources will become increasingly critical as global change alters the urban environment. Approaches to increase resilience may include decreasing urban flood risk by decreasing impervious surfaces, decreasing food insecurity through urban food production, and increasing biodiverse greenspaces to combat heat island effects and foster conservation, among others. These functions are not mutually exclusive and efforts should be directed toward developing multi-functional spaces that provide multiple services simultaneously. Furthermore, by carefully designing urban landscapes and arranging green spaces strategically, they can have synergistic effects that extend beyond the sum of their parts. Because major inequities exist in both land ownership and access to land resources, approaches need be holistic, adaptable, and integrative.
Enhanced data management technologies will be needed to understand all interaction between physical, biological and chemical processes of the land and natural systems the support sustainable cities. They will also be used to evaluate and monitor the performance of the underground infrastructure as part of the larger urban system and allow planners to anticipate interdependencies and interferences that affect functionality and quality of service. Data management technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), are making it possible to evaluate in greater detail the impact of new construction and expansion of existing installations as part of an integrated urban system of systems.