ICSU, together with NASAC and the ISSC, will support 10 research projects across Africa. These projects are expected to generate new solutions-oriented knowledge that will help develop new urban paradigms in Africa and make African cities more resilient, adaptable and healthier. This is the first call in a five-year, 5 million Euro project that seeks to increase the production of high quality, integrated (inter- and transdisciplinary), solutions-oriented research on global sustainability by early career scientists in Africa.
Jenny Seifert & Stephen Carpenter
University of Wisconsin, USA
Global environmental change is a complex problem, which is no news to this blog’s readers. We all grapple with the near-paralyzing uncertainty that comes with studying and solving the challenges associated with a changing climate, shifting land use and fickle human demands—challenges that span time and geographic scales, and could be addressed in as many ways as there are perspectives in this world.
An approach to reining in this complexity is the co-development of scenarios by researchers and stakeholders. These provocative yet plausible stories about the future are valuable tools for resilience planning because they synthesize complex information accessibly, lean into the uncertainty, create public engagement opportunities, and provide a credible and relevant foundation for quantitative analyses and modeling efforts. Continue reading →
Susie Moloney, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Australia
Marta Olazabal, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain
Lilia Yumagulova, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Lorenzo Chelleri, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy
The issue of cities and resilience has grown increasingly more animated in urban policy and academic debates (Metzger and Robert, 2013). The term has been used to inform political rhetoric as well as a heuristic and operational tool and even as a concept within the social sciences. Progressively embedded into the wider torrential flow of academic and policy-oriented discussions on climate change and global environmental change, the term ‘resilient cities’ played, for instance, a central role in last year’s 7th World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia.
As the current understandings of resilience are inherited from natural and social science debates, it is one of the most used yet least contested terms. Over the last decade, the use of resilience has increased at an exponential basis in the literature on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR). In relation to cities, the shift is so evident that the term ‘resilient cities’ has largely replaced the now old-fashioned ‘sustainable cities’. As it happened with ‘sustainability’, the notion of ‘resilience’ exerts a sort of hegemonic dominance on those scientific discourses placed at, and originating from, the cutting-edge between natural and social sciences. Resilience permeates the way social and urban problems are framed almost everywhere.
On a path of accelerated urbanization, India is going through substantial changes in its land cover and land use. In 1950, shortly after Indian independence, only 17% of the country’s population lived in cities. Today, India’s urban population stands at 33%. India contains three of the world’s ten largest cities, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata; as well as three of the world’s ten fastest growing cities, Ghaziabad, Surat, and Faridabad. In the past two decades, the area covered by Indian cities has expanded by a staggering 250%, covering an additional 5000 square kilometers of India’s surface with concrete, asphalt and glass (Nagendra et al., 2013). Projections indicate that more than 50% of India’s people will be living in cities by 2050 (United Nations, 2014). This massive urbanization will pose large scale challenges for urban resilience and sustainability, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable: the urban poor, migrant workers, traditional village residents.