Urban Experiments and the Strange Epistemology of Adaptation James Evans, University of Manchester Storyline: urban adaptation is key - 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 haven’t received much attention from and environmental perspective… (Hodson and Marvin, 2009, p. 198) Framing urban adaptation • Resilience... Engineering “return time to a stable state following a perturbation” versus Ecological “the amount of disturbance that an ecosystem could withstand without changing self-organized processes and structures” • Adaptive capacity • 2nd law of thermodynamics • Cities as Social-Ecological Systems Urban climate change governance as adaptive experimentation Driver Process Practice Goal Climate Change Adaptation Experimentation Resilience Adaptive experiments Fabricated Queens Building North Desert Village Mazdar Scale Urban Landscape Lab Oxford Rd. Manchester Non-fabricated Zaragoza Key characteristics • Place • Relevance engenders transformation • Learning facilitates adaptation – hence experiments and knowledge institutions • Changing world = adaptive epistemologies? 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 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. Types of experiment Agent of Change Technology Science Planning Local knowledge Example Masdar N. Desert Village Oxford Rd. Corridor Urban Landscape Lab Types of data E and S (use) E and S (prefs) E S ICT use High High Selective Low Commercial emphasis High Low High Low 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? [email protected] • • • • • • • 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, 467-74. 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, 5-38. Gunderson, L. (2000) ‘Ecological resilience in theory and application’, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 31, 425-439. Hodson, M. and Marvin, S. (2009) 'Cities mediating technological transitions: understanding visions, intermediation and consequences', Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 21, 515-34. Kohler, R. (2002) Landscapes and Labscapes: Exploring the Lab-Field Border in Biology, Chicago: Chicago University Press.