Call For Papers: Modelling Sustainable Urban Transition

Cardiff castle front, as seen from Castle st.

Cardiff castle front, as seen from Castle st. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transitions towards more sustainable cities are inherently complex phenomena which cut across many fragmented sectors including water, waste, energy and the built environment. The challenge for urban policy makers is to develop the knowledge and capacity to use resources more sustainably and incorporate this knowledge into the existing urban environment, critical infrastructures, and the lives of the people who live in it.

 Although we cannot predict the future, we know that it will have to conform to the laws of nature, the constraints of ecological systems and the peculiarities of individual human and societal systems. Within the transition research community, much research is being undertaken to develop models to investigate the dynamics of urban transition pathways. However, efforts have thus far being piecemeal and disconnected.

 This symposium, held in Cardiff, UK, on July 3rd-4th 2013, will offer a platform for interdisciplinary collaborations regarding long term urban planning, bringing together academics and practitioners to discuss experiences, opportunities and limitations of using system dynamics modelling approaches to investigate suitable urban transition. A new collaboration network based on the symposium is proposed and a special journal issue in a leading journal will be sought. Funding may be available for travels and accommodations in the UK for invited speakers.

 The themes of the symposium will be

  1. Physical flows: energy, water and waste
  2. Urban infrastructure and urban metabolism
  3. Social transitions
  4. Methodologies
    1. systems thinking and analysis
    2. dynamic modelling

Source : retrofit2050

Cardiff: Integration of biodiversity funding into future Cohesion Policy

Against the background of the imperative to protect our natural diversity we are facing the challenge to finance management measures for our natural environment.

European funds provide different opportunities to complement the financing of national, regional and local nature conservation measures in the member states to preserve the precious natural assets and cultural landscapes. The European approach for financing of Natura 2000 suggests that all nature conservation measures must be integrated into all EU funds.The Environment Agency Wales is hosting the final SURF Nature conference in Partnership with Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).  Since 2010 the project has collected good practice information about Biodiversity and nature conservation.

This conference will present key policy recommendations on integrating biodiversity and nature into post-2013 EU programmes and be held in Cardiff on 27th September 2012.  The Conference is an important calendar event that will include a session by John Griffiths AM, the Welsh  Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, Welsh Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and European Programmes, Alun Davies and a host of other EU, Welsh Government and Third sector dignitaries.

More info:

Youth Engagement for Sustainable Urban Planning: Tools and Prospects @ World Urban Forum 6

The event  organised by The Creative Room will present powerful tools and strategies for engaging young people in urban planning processes. Building on the experience of an international panel of experts – which includes urban designers, youth leaders, academics and policy analysts – concrete methodologies which take into account governance and social dynamics of cities will be showcased.

The workshop aims to connect visionary youth with city planners and local and national governments representatives for a constructive dialogue on efficient public-private partnerships that focus on quality of life and economic growth.

The event programme includes a panel discussion, an interactive simulation of the Habitat methodology as well as a “Questions and Answers” session.

The Habitat methodology – presented in the frame of the workshop – managed to synthesize the conundrums of the urban legislation that define the urban planning of Bucharest and further advance the debate of what are the other factors that contribute to the sustainable and prosperous development of a city.

The themes tackled in the frame of the event include, but are not limited to: city economic vitality, the built environment – the institutional and regulatory framework for planning, city cultural vitality, local community and urban planning, stakeholders in urban development.

More info : Odaia Creativa

#Innovations in decision-making processes for #sustainable urban projects:

In the frame of the Transversal Package of NCCR N-S, created to link different work packages and regions in a common project, IP LaSUR leads the project “Innovations in decision-making processes for sustainable urban projects”.

The rapid growth of cities throughout the world over the last few decades has had a very negative social and ecological impact. This phenomenon has reached dramatic proportion in the cities of the South, where even the most basic needs of their inhabitants are not met. It is therefore imperative to bring this urban “evolution” under control and to limit its negative effects, so as to take advantage of the potentials of urban development. Traditional approaches to “urban planning” – characterized by “top-down” policies – have proven unable to rise to this challenge. Therefore, new instruments of urban intervention have appeared. They allow for innovative processes, which strive for sustainability within the urban context. According to the principles of sustainable development, these innovative approaches try to combine economic, environmental and social aspects through participatory policies open to the various urban actors with their different interests and needs

Nevertheless, the success of such approaches is far from guaranteed due to the complexity of the urban context. Furthermore, even if some “best practices” do arise, the fundamental question of their replication in other cities remains open.

Therefore, the aims of the present transdisciplinary TPP are:

a) Analyzing the strengths and limits of “innovative” urban intervention approaches. This analysis will focus on participatory decision-making processes, which reveal the contradictory interests and logics that explain the complexity of the urban context.

b) Evaluating these innovative dimensions in urban projects based on case studies in three regions (Central America, South America and South-East Asia). Special attention will be paid to various stakeholders (institutions, NGOs, inhabitants), their actions and discourses, and also to the different material and conventional devices (standards, laws, technical solutions) necessary for urban development.

c) Constituting a database of references for the urban context and key features that make innovative urban intervention processes possible. This can be used and replicated in different urban and peri-urban situations in the South. It should allow for a better understanding of the urban complexity, the effectiveness of mitigation actions and the way these relate to the objectives of sustainable development.

d) Offering guidelines aimed at the replication of innovative urban processes. The focus will be on the way innovative experiences can translate to new patterns of ordinary urban planning, projects and management and could allow to develop pathways for the mitigation of the negative impacts of urban development.

e) Testing and validating innovative planning and decision-making processes in projects by urban environmental services (through associated PAMS), such as infrastructure and habitat improvement in specific cities selected by two of the JACS (CCA and SEA).

The goal of this TPP is therefore to identify the potentials but also the limits of participatory decision-making processes and to analyze the necessary conditions for the generalization of these processes. The project will thus analyze the fundamental tension between “innovation” and the institutionalization needed for its replication.  This tension lies at the heart of an urban management that is capable of integrating different activities, and more generally that provides a variety of common goods for the citizen (security, hygiene, mobility).