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  • Open access
  • 35 Reads

Resilience and mobility demand. Towards a redefinition of urban polycentrism. Madrid Urban Area Analysis, 1996-2014

In the current context of resource scarcity, urban resilience should be related to the reduction of fossil fuels and mobility demand. Thus, urban areas should increase their capacity to meet population´s needs (employment, retail…) in closer proximity.

Both scholars and European institutions have developed the concept of “urban polycentricity” over the last decades. “Polycentricity” is commonly related to the balance of incoming mobility flows between different parts of urban areas. Less attention has been given to these flows distances and mobility requirements.

Thus, “polycentricity” can be redefined from the perspective of resilience. “Polycentricity for resilience” should be based on a higher proportion of short-distance flows (such as internal trips in districts or municipalities) within the urban area functional structure. Urban planning and policies should integrate this perspective to reduce mobility demand in urban areas.

The present research aims to analyze the evolution of Madrid Urban Area in recent decades according to the above mentioned definition of “polycentricity for resilience”. The source has been the Madrid Regional Travel Survey data for 1996, 2004 and 2014. The period under study represents the last phase of Madrid Urban Area configuration, which has grown from 4,8 to 6 million inhabitants between 1996 and 2014.

From these data, districts or municipalities functioning as “centers” or “subcenters” have been identified according to indicators as average distance covered, total mobility flows attracted, or internal travels generated. The evolution of Madrid Urban Area functional structure in last decades has been assessed from the perspective of resilience. Successful and unsuccessfull planning strategies have been identified, in order to define the main challenges to achieve more resilient and close proximity-based urban areas in the near future.

  • Open access
  • 19 Reads
From rhetoric to practice: getting to new governance forms for urban blue-green infrastructures

Grey infrastructures in cities are increasingly considered inadequate for coping with the impacts of climate change. Blue-green infrastructures (i.e. permeable paving) are proposed in order to make cities more resilient. Whereas grey infrastructures typically have a mono-functional aim (i.e. ensuring water discharge), blue-green infrastructures are multifunctional and can serve a wide range of additional purposes, related to for example ecology and recreation. This multi-functionality calls for innovative forms of governance, in which citizens, companies and public governments co-produce. These new governance forms can be considered examples of “social innovations”, with new relationships and responsibilities between state and non-state actors. Public governments play a crucial role in fostering social innovations, as they have to be able to reframe their governance modes in order to become more resilient. However, to date, public governments struggle with this, which hinders the delivery of these much-needed infrastructures. Consequently, we postulate that urban resilience highly depends on the governance capacity of public governments to develop a governance system that fosters social innovation.

This paper presents a framework for analysing how social innovations come about in the context of delivering urban blue-green infrastructures: how do public governments organise and facilitate new forms of governance for co-producing blue-green infrastructures? We analyse this in ten case studies from six different European countries, combining questionnaires, in-depth interviews and field visits. Our preliminary findings demonstrate an “implementation gap” between what is being said on paper and what can be seen in practice. Although public officials indicated to be welcoming to allocating responsibilities to citizens, in practice public governments remain risk-averse and want to remain in charge. We conclude that the resilience of urban systems is hindered by public governments, because they adhere to more traditional styles of public management.

  • Open access
  • 26 Reads
Design for Social Innovation in the context of Urban Resilience

This paper presents two design projects as case studies where service design thinking and practice is employed in addressing the challenges of engaging communities in the maintenance of Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI). The design projects were initiated by the Royal College of Art in partnership with Enfield council, UK. The aim was to develop service propositions that encourage shared ownership of Broomfield Park between local communities and the council set against the backdrop of a blue green infrastructure intervention that requires active involvement from the public.

In these projects, Design for Social Innovation approach was used, known as a constellation of design initiatives geared toward making social innovation more probable, effective, long-lasting, and scalable. In this approach, designers employ a human-centred design process that uses collaborative, creative and experimental methods to bring local communities into the processes of design and delivery of services and space.

The involvement of communities in city strategy is considered crucial to the success of any resilience initiatives and services. In recognising that simply consulting citizens is insufficient and ineffective in achieving sustainability, there is a need for a more integrated and inclusive approach to designing and managing urban resilience. From the perspective of Design for Social Innovation, the fundamental principle lies in the need to develop partnership with citizens to co-create and co-produce services, in order to effectively address the needs of people. More importantly, by including communities and other stakeholders in the design and delivery processes, the solution becomes legitimate within its social context and sustainable in the long term.

These case studies demonstrate the value of Design for Social Innovation in the design and management of urban resilience through BGI in its potential to fundamentally transform the traditional way in which public services are designed and implemented.

  • Open access
  • 16 Reads
BEGIN: experiences, methods and guidelines to accelerate effective city-to-city learning to reach transformational change

City-to city (C2C) learning (learning from peers and their best practices) is of crucial importance regarding topics (i.e. urban resilience) in which cities do not have time to re-invent the wheel. This abstract outlines why it is important, how C2C learning can be done most effectively and the mayor challenges regarding C2C learning.

When confronted with an issue, cities look at their peers for capacity building and inspiration. Moreover, C2C learning has several side benefits such as the acknowledgement cities get, the possibility of exploiting political and media attention and the fact that people simply enjoy exchanges. Hence, C2C is an often-used method. Cities have been doing it for decades and there are many initiatives (i.e. ICLEI, 100 Resilient Cities).

C2C learning can be an effective way of accelerating learning leading to transformational change. However, it is often done in an unstructured way which leads to limited follow-up action. Within BEGIN, participants engage in a transnational learning exchange programme with expert teams that facilitate joint implementation of BGI projects. Bax & Company has developed several tools and methods based on experiences within BEGIN and academic research which enhances the effectiveness of C2C learning. C2C learning experiences should focus on practice and implementation, have structured engagement (according to expertise and strengths and needs), have continuous participants and contact moments, be documented and lead to a call for action. The short conference paper will discuss these guidelines more into depth using concrete examples and methods used in the BEGIN project.

Some challenges regarding C2C learning remain. The foremost challenge is to implement lessons learned on an organisational level. Another challenge would be to upscale our current learning approach to other sectors or participants (i.e. delta-to-delta learning or farmer-to-farmer learning).

  • Open access
  • 24 Reads
Standardization process for urban resilience

The adaption and implementation of resilience related approaches at urban level via standardization is the key aspect that this paper is addressing. Reframing of resilience practices through standardization will enhance the sharing of knowledge and experiences among especially urban areas.

Several theories exist to support resilience development, but putting this into practical use for example for cities or urban areas need a more end-user oriented development of supporting documents such as standards.

In this regard the European research project Smart Mature Resilience (SMR) has integrated standardization as one of the instruments to transfer the project outcomes and tools into the market, and thus to their potential end-users.

The aim of SMR is to deliver a Resilience Management Guideline that supports city decision-makers in developing and implementing resilience measures in their cities, using the five resilience building tools developed in this project. To support the development and implementation of this guideline, a series of standards called City Resilience Development has been created by conducting several open workshops.

This paper presents the criteria for selecting specific project results for their transfer into standards. It also describes a methodology of using standardization within research and innovation projects, i.e. the process of developing standards out of project results. For example, within the development of the above mentioned standards series not only the seven cities and municipalities of the SMR project were involved, but also it was through the standardization process possible to easily involve other cities and research projects. This is answering the need of the participating cities to have an exchange of experiences with other cities on their resilience challenges and resilience building activities. In the end of this process the city representatives and researchers acknowledge and commit to the standards series as they have been an essential part of its creation.

  • Open access
  • 19 Reads
BEGIN- Blue Green Infrastructure through social innovation

Cities across Europe are committed to improving quality of life and working together to protect people, the environment and support sustainable growth. They recognise the need to create resilient, adaptable environment for citizens that are both practical and address future needs.

Practical solutions to demonstrate improved climate change adaptation solutions through blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in urban areas in combination with the mobilization of self-organizing capacity of communities can be implemented together to regenerate and create resilient urban network. Citizen participation as the main driver of the implementation process of climate change adaptation is highly innovative.

Bradford has potential to make quality GBI one of its defining characteristics. Doing so will help our economy to prosper, enable people to enjoy a greater quality of life, and further enhance and utilise our natural capital. Our vision is to expand GBI so that everybody in the District is within easy reach of outstanding and well used network of BGI.

The benefits of BGI go far beyond attractive environment. They include supporting good mental and physical health (e.g. by tackling obesity and diabetes); reducing the frequency and severity of floods; bringing diverse communities together; the economy by regenerating areas of need; providing a home for wildlife; acting on climate change and enriching the quality of lives. BGI adds value to new development, attracts tourism and investment, supports businesses, jobs and training and ensures the resilience of our assets and infrastructure.

BEGIN has successfully brought projects together and enabled council officers to successfully develop detailed projects, measure/evaluate their success and develop innovative ways of involving communities and groups in the design and delivery. This enables partners to really inject GBI into these projects, giving consistent and coherent approach. This has not been apparent in other projects

  • Open access
  • 25 Reads
Panel: Building effective city-university partnerships for accelerating resilience implementation

Panel Abstract: Climate change-driven chronic and acute weather events, such as flooding and temperature extremes, are already having profound impacts on urban livability. These challenges are growing in scale and complexity and cities need new collaborations to stave off the worst climate projections and adapt to changing environmental conditions. Universities can play an important role in designing, testing, and implementing solutions for a more climate-resilient city. In this panel, presenters will discuss their experience with city-university partnerships that explicitly attempt to accelerate progress on climate resilience and urban sustainability. The collaborations are part of a network of city-university partnerships in which very different cities and very different universities are coming together to develop solutions to pressing climate challenges. Presenters in this panel include Arizona State University discussing their partnership with the City of Tempe, Portland State University and the City of Portland, and Leuphana University and Lueneburg, Germany. The panelists will also discuss similar work taking place between the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexico City, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. The aim of the network is to build climate resilience and urban sustainability locally while generating and sharing insights that help other cities do the same. Reframing urban resilience necessitates a reframing of the roles of those involved in ensuring that urban systems are resilient and sustainable. This panel will tackle the critical role of universities and city administrations and the unique partnership they can forge to deal proactively with climate challenges and build better cities.

  • Open access
  • 18 Reads
City-university Partnerships and Capacity Building: Integrated resilience planning in Portland, Oregon

Climate disasters (such as landslides, floods, droughts and fires) pose an increasing set of risks to the economies, environments and livability of cities. Specifically, these disasters can have tremendous impacts on the infrastructure within cities (sewer, water, roads, parks) and the people that are supported by that infrastructure – with the most vulnerable populations bearing the strongest impacts. There are very few venues for integrated planning and implementation within cities because of rigid administrative silos, as well as structures and policies that reinforce those silos. Integrated planning and implementation requires tight coordination across multiple infrastructure bureaus. Without this coordination, it becomes extremely difficult for the different bureaus to identify and integrate their critical infrastructure interdependencies and address the increasing impacts of climate disasters. This case study describes how Portland State University (PSU) and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions collaboratively launched a new process for systematically identifying infrastructure interdependencies and then developing and resourcing integrated implementation efforts that build resiliency across multiple infrastructure systems. The project is called the Resilient Infrastructure Planning Exercise (RIPE) and is collaboratively managed by the University and 4 infrastructure bureaus at the City of Portland. The first phase of the project focused on building interest in the integrated planning approach as well as developing a collective agenda for advancing the cross-city work on infrastructure resilience. The project is now in phase 2 and has launched a series of interventions that leverage the university’s capacity for convening, research, and student engagement to make progress on the collective agenda for resilient infrastructure in the city.

  • Open access
  • 32 Reads
City-wide sustainability visioning and real-world laboratories, City of Lueneburg, Germany

The city of Lüneburg belongs to a larger metropolitan region in Northern Germany which increasingly experiences climate change in form of heavy rainfall and flooding. Preparing the city of Lüneburg for a long term sustainable future was at the core of the project “Future City Lüneburg 2030+”. Starting in 2015 and together with the local Leuphana University of Lüneburg and its Faculty of Sustainability, a broad city-wide process started to first envision the city’s future for the year 2030 and beyond, and second to strategize about adequate actions to realize this vision. Joint transdisciplinary research efforts delivered four larger clusters of actions: (1) improving housing and local employment situation, (2) enlarging CO2-reduced transportation, (3) strengthening community and civic engagement, and voluntary work, and (4) greening infrastructure for climate adaptation, and biodiversity increase. All clusters are detailed including resources and responsible actors for the actual implementation and are at the same time embedded into a real-world laboratory design that accompanies and evaluates their implementation. Over the last years of this project a long-term partnership has developed between the city and university. As part of our evaluation we aim to understand how future work can further develop the partnership and unify many previously scattered efforts into a meaningful shared endeavor that carries the work beyond a project logic. These lessons learned will support other cities and universities to frame or diagnose their own partnership within their cultural context.

  • Open access
  • 33 Reads
Urban resilience as learning: Building transformative capacity through game-based approaches in Tempe, Arizona

Cities are facing challenges from climate change. Impacts like flooding and extreme weather, and solutions like green infrastructure and carbon pricing, exploit weaknesses in human cognition and organizational design. Neither urbanites nor city governments are predisposed to prioritizing long-term resilience and sustainability over short-term development. A persistent challenge in sustainability science remains the co-developing of solutions that are desirable, politically viable, and truly sustainable in accounting for impacts across multiple interconnected systems. Recently, some in sustainability have shifted focus to transformative capacity building among key actors in cities as a means of fostering transformation in urban systems toward sustainability and resilience. Transformative capacity in individuals and organizations is conceptualized as constituent of competence, confidence, commitment and power. This paper describes two game-based approaches to building transformative capacity in city administrations and utilizes the concept of transformative capacity to unpack how universities and cities can collaborate and learn from one another and from other such partnerships. The two games, Future Shocks and City Resilience, and AudaCITY, are based on key competencies in sustainability education, the Sustainability Research and Problem-Solving framework, and Transition Management. They aim to develop the competence, confidence, and commitment of players, in particular city administrators, to develop, test and implement solutions for urban resilience and sustainability, while shifting power dynamics in favor of such efforts. The games were developed and tested in Tempe, Arizona with the City of Tempe. They served as the primary transformative capacity building exercise for senior leadership in the city administration in advance of the city’s first effort at developing a Climate Action Plan. The paper concludes with insights on the theoretical contribution of transformative capacity to reframing urban resilience as a challenge of human and organizational learning and methodological insights on the role of game-based approaches in enabling such learning.