The role of urban experiments in triggering climate transitions (EXPECT)

Blad

The cities of today need to find ways to meet the risks of climate change and to achieve more effective emission reductions. Achieving changes have, however, proved difficult in practice with subsequent calls for exploring new ways of enabling climate transitions. We will study the role of urban experiments in opening up for constructive and innovative pathways to managing climate change and how they can contribute to wider processes of climate transitions. 

Contemporary cities need to find new pathways to enable necessary climate transitions allowing them both to meet the risks of climate change and to achieve more effective emission reductions. At the same time we know from previous studies that it has proven difficult to enact the structural changes necessary to break unsustainable patterns. There are increasing calls for research that critically examine new pathways to enable urban climate transitions. 

In the EXPECT project we will study the role of urban experiments and their potential to open up for constructive and innovative ways to manage climate change and contribute to wider processes of urban transitions. We study experiments as critical sites of urban climate politics (rather than odd curiosities) enacting new paths and practices with the goal to innovate, learn and gain new experience. This is currently a hot topic in international research, where calls are made for research exploring the emergence, dynamics and consequences of urban experiments. 

Our research questions concern:

  1. Envision: What visions of the future are embedded in the experiments with a focus on problem-definitions, descriptions of reality and action alternatives.
  2. Enact: How are the experiments initiated and enacted with a focus on drivers and barriers for change 
  3. Embed/Expand: How can singular experiments be up-scaled with a focus on the transformative potential and learning from experimentation.

We do an inventory of urban experiments in Sweden, in the areas of adaptation and mobility, followed by in-depth analyses of qualitative data exploring 

  1. Multifunctional stormwater management e.g. green roofs and water plazas, 
  2. Waterfront architectural design e.g. floodable, amphibious and floating houses, 
  3. Sustainable mobility e.g. micro-level initiatives for alternative mobility, 
  4. Multifunctional waterfront protection e.g. artificial archipelagos. 

 

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