Case studies

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The Peri-cene explores in more depth 2 very different case studies of peri-urbanisation and climate risk: Chennai region, India: and the Manchester City-Region, UK. In each, the key issues are explored with local stakeholders, and potential policy innovations are co-designed. The Peri-cene (in the situation of the Covid), hosted a series of local stakeholder workshops which aimed to:

(1) explore the nature of the problems, with spatial analysis, policy analysis and system mapping; and,

(2) support a dialogue on ways forward: opportunities, synergies, policies and adaptive-collaborative governance.

The result is in the form of local 'adaptive pathways': a series of steps with multiple stakeholders, which enhance the climate adaptation / resilience, combined with other goals, such as urban design, local livelihoods, social cohesion, biodiversity and so on.

To support this we use the ‘synergistic’ methods for co-learning and co-design, leading towards a general 'collective eco-urban intelligence'. In summary, each case study has aimed to:

  • define the (porous) boundaries of the peri-urban in the local context.
  • understand how and by whom peri-urban / climate change risk issues are currently managed;
  • map existing local data relating to human-environment interactions in the peri-urban, in order to draw through what is relevant, when, and how it might be used.
  • co-design adaptive pathways, as a combination of collaborative governance, with other social, technical, economic and cultural innovations.


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Peri-cene Framework

These case studies each use a more detailed version of the Peri-cene Framework. This includes 4 key themes:

  • peri-urban and spatial development;
  • climate change hazards and impacts;
  • vulnerabilities, both physical, social and economic;
  • governance, both formal, informal and collaborative.

These 4 themes form the main structure of the '20-questions' template, as seen in the case studies

The Framework also includes 2 main 'Models', i.e. 2 levels of analysis:

  • CAUSAL MODEL: shows (as far as possible) tangible & functional cause-effect problems & responses
  • SYNERGISTIC MODEL: shows (as far as possible), Strategic, systemic, deeper & wider chains & multipliers, first in the problems, and then in the responses.

The combined responses from both Models then form the 'adaptive pathways' - combinations of governance, social, technical, economic and cultural change.

On the ground, things are complex, messy, inter-connected, controversial (i.e. VUCA - volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). The Peri-cene framework is only one kind of cross-section, however for this agenda, the interaction of climate risk / resilience with peri-urbanization, it aims to be simple and useful.

Overview of case studies


(Formerly Madras), this is India’s fourth largest metropolitan agglomeration with 9 million inhabitants. Founded in 1640, and a major centre of the British empire, its growth has been phenomenal only since around 1990. While the city-region operates roughly in accordance to a master plan, governance outside city corporation limits is subject to many forms and levels of authority.

Four case studies are selected within the extended bio-region: a heavy industrial complex to the north, a manufacturing industrial corridor to the west, an I.T. corridor along the coast to the south, and a large hinterland with potential for new forms of agro-ecology.


Manchester Region

This wider region is defined as Greater Manchester (GM), with its 10 metropolitan boroughs, together with the adjacent hinterlands / bio-regions / economic regions. This is not simple to define, but includes here the Pennine area of uplands to the north and east, and the East Cheshire area of lowland farming to the south and west.

At the centre of this wider region is Greater Manchester (GM), a predominantly urban area, home to 2.7 million people and covering an area of 1,277km2. GM has a unique 200 year history as the hub of the UK’s industrial revolution, political change, and digital revolution.

Overall, this region has a relatively mature system of spatial planning and governance for a largely urbanised population with medium growth. However, there are major issues with housing pressures, economic and social segregation, urban-rural disconnections, fragmented climate-environment governance. There is also massive uncertainty on the implications of the Brexit, along with possible opportunities.


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