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What is OURSUS?

Background of the Project

Cities are growing everywhere. As complex organisms, they are all different, yet face similar challenges in terms of sustainable features, such as green R&D, environment-friendly consumption, green campaigns, challenges, and education, etc. Initiated by Prof. Ton Dietz in 2010, the International Geography Union(IGU) organized a group of volunteers to develop a global sustainable information network, GSCIN to tackle such challenges.

The voluntary group, as a subsidiary of the Research Center for Internet Information Services (ReCIIS), Hunan University, China, works in light of the fact that China is shifting to a low carbon economy and society. China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with more than 10% annual growth rate over the last 30 years. This high economic growth, accompanied by tremendous pressure from constantly deteriorating pollution scenario and intensifying ecological degradation in recent years has made China’s traditional development models clearly futile. Therefore, transformation of the economy and society to a low carbon and sustainable one is necessary according to China’s leadership. China is expected to soon develop into a society which is not only environmentally sustainable, but also creates favorable conditions for more job opportunities, greater resource efficiency and energy security, enhanced food security, and better health outcomes for its people; a society which is in line with China’s own Xiaokang (well-being)vision, is well balanced and moderately prosperous.

ReCIIS, together with other key volunteers have developed two language websites www.oursus.org.cn (Chinese) and www.oursus.org (Global) (Oursus refers to sustainability for all) as the project’s collaborative platform. The websites adopt location-based cities’ system, special issues publication system and individual knowledge tags’ system based on the theory of mass collaboration (MC). Ton Dietz tells you the original idea from him at IGU 2012 Assembly in Cologne in August, and until now the websites system is still promoting by action research.(Ton Dietz tells you what does   "Aoshi" mean

Mission of OURSUS

· Focusing on knowledge and information sharing of sustainable development cities;

· Dedicating to publicize popular science to all the public;

· Keeping making knowledge sharing to spur action;

· Focusing on the influence of knowledge sharing and collaborative governance on global sustainable development.

OURSUS advocates adopting the ways of knowledge sharing and collaborative governance to promote sustainable development of cities under the background of increasingly accelerated globalization. How to make our cities become sustainable? What kinds of practices have gone against sustainability ideas? What decisions and actions about resources sustainability have been made by countries,governments, organizations, and individuals? How do they influence the development of sustainability? What kinds of actions will be promoted through knowledge acquiring and sharing? We need to get to know how human being’s actions affect the whole world. We call for sharing all that we know to handle challenges of global sustainable development.

Work of OURSUS

· OURSUS is publicizing to the public city’s problems, challenges, and achievements in the process of its sustainable development.

· OURSUS is inviting scholars including geographers and physicians to share scientific research and make interdisciplinary knowledge exchange.

· OURSUS have taken great efforts to make a popular science tool system, “Special Issues”, and to highlight that sharing all that we know contributes to sustainable development.

· OURSUS reminds the public of concerning more about the city that they live in and the city’s sustainable development. It is their responsibility and also their right to doso.

· OURSUS helps individual to sort out tag systems on knowledge, and promotes all of the knowledge and information network system well constructed.

We hope that OURSUS will be functioned as a public-oriented platform for knowledge sharing, which will gather everyone’s strength to promote popular science education to the public. The most important functions on OURSUS are Special Issues System, Tag System and City System. The three systems will help gather knowledge that have been shared by scientists from various fields and construct a sustainable discourse system and a sustainable information and knowledge network system.

At the same time, by virtue of Special Issues System, high-quality knowledge will be created. Such multiple channels as OURSUS official website and We-media (micro-blog, WeChat) will be used to publicize popular science. We hope that by virtue of such ways of knowledge sharing, public’s actions will be changed. These changes will contribute to promote city’s sustainable development and help tackle problems relating to sustainable development that is faced globally.


Articles, originated from yourself or integrated from others, whatever the content about comments, cases, products ‘introduction, action mobilization, news, policies, etc. are encouraged to be posted here as knowledge sharing. You may consider,

1) To be easily understood by readers,

2) To accumulate your own knowledge network on sustainability,

3) To indicate the sources of your article if necessary,

4) To attach files with format of word, ppt or pdf,

5) Not then, but than 100 words,

6) To clean up the original format if you paste some part copied from other sources.

· They can be original articles of your own or shared knowledge of others.

·  In the format of word, ppt and pdf

You may share your original articles or the articles that you want to recommend at OURSUS websites. Files should be in the format of word, ppt and pdf. Brief introduction of the articles are required to submit when you upload, so that readers can know more of your shared knowledge.

Special Issues System

· High-quality knowledge output

· Popular science tool package for individuals or groups

We offer you a special issue making tool that may help you share your idea or knowledge about some specific issues or an aspect of sustainability. Via it, you could make your own knowledge output on sustainability. You may make the special issue on your own or co-produce it with your friends.

City System

· OURSUS uses location-based system to make graphic scene of knowledge. All of the fragmentary information relating to sustainability will be appeared on the city page.

· It integrates a city’s information on sustainability and keeps a record of the history of the city’s development on sustainability.

· It encourages the public to participate in developing a sustainable city and calls for more people to concern about the city’s development.

The city page would offer your detailed updates about the city’s development on sustainability and its history. If you are interested in getting people informed of a city’s sustainable development, you may establish a team to create the city page altogether.

Tag System

·With the rainbow-based concept as the framework, a multi-level and multi-dimensional tag system has been established, which is of important to classify online knowledge and get all relevant knowledge connected.

·Rainbow framework represents different aspects of sustainability.All issues on sustainability will be easily noticed.

·The customized tags offer easy access for users to make search, mark location and manage articles.

·Tag connection will allow multi-dimensional knowledge in relevant articles, special issues and cities to be linked mutually. Therefore,an individual-website knowledge network system will be shaped.

OURSUS has built a complex tag system that is based on rainbow framework. It includes articles on cities and knowledge about different aspects of sustainability. The knowledge network system is expected to be built when online knowledge will be sorted out and all different issues on sustainability noticed and explored. On this network system, individual user can manage his/her own article’s tags by means of “based on remembering”.Therefore, a customized knowledge management system will be gradually set up,which is of great value to help users do self study and construct a theme on sustainability. The aspect tags on sustainability are listed as follows;

Red issues:Road and Traffic

smart transport systems; energy-saving mobility; virtual traveling; tele-work; mobility-reducing communication;bicycles; public transport; ‘smart’ spatial organizations; ‘smart’ land use;‘compact city’;

Orange issues: Land and Buildings

zero-energy buildings; cities as energy producers; ‘smart’ architectural designs; climate- and disaster-proof buildings;

Yellow issues:Energy and Communications

low carbon city; climate neutrality;use of wasted heat and cold; GHG mitigation; adaptation; compensation;vulnerability-reduction; improving resilience capabilities; improving climate shock-proof environments; energy security; ‘smart’ grids;

Green issues:Nature and Landscape

green urban landscapes; urban planning with attention for parks, public and private gardens; green buffer zones(‘green lungs’); greening the streets and rooftops; urban eco-diversity;re-creation of urban nature; greening (former) waste dumps; cleaning chemically polluted areas; urban agriculture; urban leisure farming;

Blue issues: Water and Climate

clean surface and ground water;healthy/safe drinking water for all; clean water transportation; innovative and water-saving water management; good water storage facilities; calamity provision for droughts and floods; flood-alert planning of urban and peri-urban spaces; aquatic biodiversity; urban fisheries for leisure and for food security; attention for water footprint;

Indigo issues: Pollution and Governance

waste management; separating ‘grey’and ‘black’ water; preventing air pollution; solid waste management and limitation;  waste re-use; waste as bio-energy; GHG-emission-free cars/vehicles

Violet issues:Society and life

reducing resource utilization;resource efficiency; value-chain management; conscious consumers and traders;sustainable and fair companies; socially and environmentally responsible enterprises and agencies; organic lifestyles; slow-food movement; poor diets of meat and fish.

About us

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Organizers: International Geographical Union,The Geographical Society of China,The Reseach Center for Internet Information Services (ReCIIS) of Hunan University.