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Abstract

Over half of the world’s population is urbanized. Urban planners aim at sustainable development but often take more account of social and economic information than geoscience. Many authorities do not employ geoscientists. This leads to poor policies and decisions and increased costs and risks. Planning systems are complicated and lengthy, involving many participants from planners to elected members as well as the public who may have limited understanding of the importance of geoscience information, scientific methods and uncertainties in results. Careful presentation focusing on the requirements of each audience is needed. Researchers should engage with stakeholders to develop trust and understanding. Planners should be included in research teams. Information on resources, hazards and emissions should be combined with social and economic material. Collaboration with other specialists is important. Work is not over when the results are written up. Thorough dissemination is required for results to be used fully and properly. It is wise to train geoscientists in writing for, and communicating with, the public and media. Ongoing advice and guidance is needed not least when plans are reviewed and updated but that is often prevented by funding mechanisms.

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