Cities as laboratories of socio-ecological transformation: Results of the WWWforEurope project
Authors: Thomas Sauer
Abstract: Cities appear to be particular interesting laboratories of socio-ecological transformation: Here transformation fields of climate protection like energy, urbanisation and land use are closely connected with other earth-system processes – like freshwater use, biodiversity loss, and chemical pollution. Thus, it makes sense to investigate the institutional setting of common-pool resources in urban areas exploring leading research questions as: What kind of new institutional arrangement could be observed here? Could they be interpreted as new forms of governance of the urban commons? Are such processes driven by self-organisation and cooperation of citizens from below – or are they initiated by government or business actors as participations process aiming to involve the civil society actors only as a matter of legitimation of their own actions? And finally, which role does such new institutional arrangements play in the context of a multi-level transition towards a socio-economic system respecting the planetary boundaries?
URBAN RENOVATION AS ADAPTATION STRATEGY TO STRUCTURAL ECONOMIC CHANGE: THE CASE OF BRUSSELS’ NEIGHBOURHOOD REVITALISATION PROGRAMME
Authors: Stephan Kampelmann, Paula Vandergert, Sarah Van Hollebeke
Abstract: While the literature on the governance of social-ecological systems increasingly recognizes a general role of bridging organisations (BOs) in transition processes, our paper provides a more nuanced understanding of specific BO activities and their contributions towards urban sustainability. Our analysis is based on applying methodological triangulation (drawing on geolocalised data, interviews and action research) to 20 years of urban renovation investments in the city-region of Brussels. We distinguish between multi-scale, multi-actor and multi-dimensional tensions in urban renovation programmes and link these tensions to three different mediation roles for BOs. Empirical observations suggest that the three types of tensions/mediations form a trilemma rather than a trilogy: the BOs in our case study have mediated one tension by de facto exacerbating another. Lessons from action research suggest that a wider use of temporality and conceptual translations in urban renovation projects could attenuate the mediation trilemma faced by BOs.
Exploring social innovation in green spaces governance across European cities
Authors: Judith Schicklinski
Abstract: Across European cities, the use of urban green spaces is highly controversial and subject to diverging interests, yielding a high conflict potential. Ecological resilience and further ecological and social outcomes of the resource system green spaces are endangered by a persisting economic growth logic manifesting itself in ongoing city over-mineralization and urban sprawl due to infrastructure and development pressure, often linked to scarce public resources. Yet, preserving the availability of bio-diverse green spaces is crucial for the socio-ecological transition of cities. Against this background, this research focuses on social innovative civil society dynamics on the grassroots level and on citizen participation in the governance of green spaces in several European cities, asking for the role of civil society actors in the post-growth debate, examining their position vis-à vis state and market players and exploring their activities’ impacts on the local level.
Performance monitoring of local sustainability concepts in European cities
Authors: Stephanie Barnebeck
Abstract: Local governments are confronted with a variety of social, environmental and economic challenges these days. Many European cities therefore developed urban sustainability concepts or plans to lead their transitions towards a resilient future. Urban sustainability indicators are important control instruments in monitoring the implementation of the goals defined there. The question arises, if urban sustainability indicators are necessary as communication instruments with citizens and other stakeholders or whether other methods could also measure or describe sustainability in an appropriate way. Derived from the empirical research within the WWWforEurope project on socio-ecologic transitions of European cities the question arises, why urban sustainability data is still very fragmentary respectively what hinders a comprehensive data collection and systematisation. Depending on local capabilities, especially urban sustainability indicators—used for the quantification of target achievements of sustainability plans—should be designed as simple as possible to enable cities to measure these.
Ecological citizen on the barricades: Right to the city movements in Southern Europe
Authors: Mine Islar
Abstract: Social movements, as powerful channels of political expression and mobilization, have become global phenomena with potential to reshape societies and politics around the world. The purpose of this paper is to produce an interdisciplinary study of right to the city movements by analyzing the re-politicization of the citizens engaged in Spanish ‘Indignados’ and Turkey’s Gezi movements. Firstly, the paper aims at analyzing how processes of urban and ecological re-politicization feature in these movements. Both movements became landmarks of contemporary socio-ecological struggles manifesting themselves as mobilizations against urban transformation. The struggles targeted mega-projects that were leading to enclosure of urban/rural commons, but at the same time they also created ruptures, generating spaces of hope, cooperation, and the reclamation of right to the city.Secondly, the paper aims at exploring the concept of ecological citizenship. This will be done by analyzing strategies and potentials of the movements regarding socio-political change and citizenship practices.
The societal implications of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP)
Authors: Giovanni Bernardo, Simone D’Alessandro
Abstract: This paper aims to investigate the societal implications of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) at the local community level on the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. Local government plays a crucial role because it has to decide a strategy able not only to stimulate energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources on their territories, but also to achieve other important goals such as the improvement of quality of life, wellbeing and local economic development. For this reason it is crucial to develop tools able to assess the effects of environmental and energy policies on the socio-economic system and to assist policymakers in identifying the most effective choices. We present a system dynamic model based on stock-flow feedback able to capture the potential implications of energy policies for sustainable development goals.
Eco-villages - Ecological economics in practice?
Authors: Ove Daniel Jakobsen, Stig Ingebrigtsen, Are Severin Ingulfsvann, Øystein Nystad
Abstract: Instead of reducing negative symptoms, ecological economics focus on how to develop structures and systems that, prevent the accelerating negative symptoms to develop, and lead to societies with high quality of life within sustainable nature and healthy economy. Ecological economics has focus on changes both on individual and systems level. To exemplify these changing processes we penetrate on Hurdal eco-village in Norway. In Hurdal eco-village the goal is to foster a culture of mutual respect, sharing, inclusiveness, positive intent, and fair energy exchange. We elaborate the assumption that eco-villages are examples of communities that unite life in small, supportive, healthy societies with a sustainable path for economic development. We conclude by a reflection on to what degree the practise in Hurdal eco-village is in accordance with the main principles in ecological economics.
Experimenting with Commons: Management of Semi-Public Urban Spaces
Authors: Michal Maco, Tatiana Kluvankova, Eva Streberova, Maroš Finka
Abstract: Empirical evidence (Poklembová, 2013) has outlined that the effectiveness of public space management proportionally depends on the degree of community involvement. Semi-public spaces as shared resources represent a very specific combination of private and common property regimes, resulting into a social dilemma. Users have stronger relations and demands towards these spaces. However, they face similar problems of resource degradation, overuse, free-riders or conflicts between actors. Decision-making is confronted by the clash of individual and collective interests. The main objective of the paper is to demonstrate if and how behavioural approaches based on experimental techniques could substantially contribute to the governance of the natural and urban commons and to the design of effective management strategies under the given complexity, multiple actors and decision-making levels. We are focusing on sustainable management models of shared semi-public spaces, applying CPR principles, using experimental approaches to examine how incentives and institutions affect decisions.