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Urban Experiments and the Strange Epistemology of Adaptation James Evans, University of Manchester.

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Presentation on theme: "Urban Experiments and the Strange Epistemology of Adaptation James Evans, University of Manchester."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urban Experiments and the Strange Epistemology of Adaptation James Evans, University of Manchester

2 - Cities are chief perpetrators (50% of population, 75% energy use and 80% C emissions…) - Cities are chief victims - Cities are ideal test sites for solutions - Cities are new state spaces, that havent received much attention from and environmental perspective… (Hodson and Marvin, 2009, p. 198) Storyline: urban adaptation is key

3 Framing urban adaptation Resilience... Engineering versus Ecological Adaptive capacity 2 nd law of thermodynamics Cities as Social-Ecological Systems the amount of disturbance that an ecosystem could withstand without changing self-organized processes and structures return time to a stable state following a perturbation

4 Urban climate change governance as adaptive experimentation DriverProcessPracticeGoal Climate Change AdaptationExperimentationResilience

5 Adaptive experiments Fabricated Scale Mazdar Zaragoza Oxford Rd. Manchester North Desert Village Urban Landscape Lab Queens Building Non-fabricated

6 Key characteristics Place Relevance engenders transformation Learning facilitates adaptation – hence experiments and knowledge institutions Changing world = adaptive epistemologies?

7 An example: north desert village Central Arizona - Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP-LTER) North Desert Village experimental suburb Experimental study of interactions between people and their ecological environment at the neighbourhood scale Manipulating vegetation types and irrigation methods Exploring how landscape interactions affect human perceptions and behaviours

8 Adaptive experimentation A method that allows humans to adapt inside the experiment and alter its parameters Experimenting in situ produces more accurate scientific models (Cook et al. 2004, 467) Feedbacks between resident preferences and ecology used to drive management.

9 Types of experiment Agent of Change TechnologySciencePlanningLocal knowledge ExampleMasdarN. Desert Village Oxford Rd. Corridor Urban Landscape Lab Types of data E and S (use) E and S (prefs) ES ICT useHigh SelectiveLow Commercial emphasis HighLowHighLow

10 Adaptive epistemology A new form of knowledge production? (placed, partnered, postmodern) Experiments as truth spots Adaptation as transformative or regressive mode of urban planning? Auto-adapting landscapes – the future is feedback?

11 Cook, W., Casagrande, D, Hope, D., Groffman, P. and Collins, S. (2004) 'Learning to roll with the punches: adaptive experimentation in human-dominated systems', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2, Evans, J. (Forthcoming) Resilience, ecology and adaptation in the experimental city. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Evans, J.and Karvonen, A. (Forthcoming) Living Laboratories for Sustainability: Exploring the Politics and Epistemology of Urban Adaptation. In: H. Bulkeley, V. Castán Broto, M. Hodson and S. Marvin (eds.) Cities and Low Carbon Transitions. London: Routledge. Gieryn, T. (2006) 'City as truth-spot: laboratories and field-sites in urban studies', Social Studies of Science 36, Gunderson, L. (2000) Ecological resilience in theory and application, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 31, Hodson, M. and Marvin, S. (2009) 'Cities mediating technological transitions: understanding visions, intermediation and consequences', Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 21, Kohler, R. (2002) Landscapes and Labscapes: Exploring the Lab-Field Border in Biology, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

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