Tag Archives: sustainable urbanization

Dialogues of Sustainable Urbanisation

Book_of_Blogs-200x300Today marks the release of a collection of diverse works from researchers across the globe who all have something important to say about the way in which our world is changing and how we can strive towards a more sustainable future.

‘Dialogues of sustainable urbanisation: Social Science Research and Transitions to Urban Contexts’ emerged from an International Social Science Council (ISSC) World Social Science Fellows’ seminar. This meeting brought together a diverse group of early career researchers, who gathered in Taiwan in November 2014 to discuss transitions to urban contexts from a social science perspective. The seminar involved weeklong discussions about sustainable urbanisation and the contribution of social science research to sustainable urban futures. However, a week was not long enough to hear the diverse perspectives within the room, let alone incorporate the plethora of viewpoints beyond it. The transitions to urban contexts taking place, and those that are anticipated in our futures, are characterised in terms of their plurality, diversity, fluidity, and change. This book of blogs embraces such uncertainty by welcoming dialogues on the urbanisation processes taking place across the world and what to do about the places we build, and the impacts of human activity on the environment, health and climate.

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The book is open access and available free to download. View the book on Google Drive. We recommend using the Cloud Pub Reader when opening the link. You can also download a PDF copy here. A print copy will be available soon.

Please help us spread the word about this collection of works from across the world. Join the conversation here #ISSCBookofBlogs.

Viewpoints: Building Scenarios for Sustainable Urbanisation

Image Credit: Olivia BinaOlivia Bina, University of Lisbon, Portugal & Andrea Ricci, The Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems, Italy

We have demonstrated that we can build meta- and mega-cities, and move seamlessly into city-regions and clusters. We exhibit the capability for spontaneous and/or planned urbanisation. We can build super-tall and ultra-dense. We expand horizontally, reclaiming waterfronts with abandon, and vertically downwards as we explore the endless opportunities that lie underground. We confront new macro-scale challenges with nano-scale techno-scientific solutions, as we embrace the era of the ‘smart’ (Caprotti 2015).

Thus, we create problems of unprecedented complexity, at a speed and scale that place governments and governance mechanisms primarily in reactive (no matter how ‘strategic’), rather than anticipatory decision modes. We tend to discuss and frame the problems and their solutions in politically and ideologically unproblematic terms, preferring to search for means (how to solve problems), rather than question the ends (why is this a problem, indeed, what is the problem?) (Caprotti 2015a ; Ideas At The House 2013). In the words of Specht (2015b): “We are making and remaking our cities over and over without perhaps stopping to ask how or why.”

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