(notes on discussion in 2021 around and at the Policy lab workshops.
We start with 4 challenges:
- CHALLENGE 1: Brutal Mobility - Origins/Destinations: Lack of centralities
- CHALLENGE 2: Agricultural Territory Without Success - Loss of Significance
- CHALLENGE 3: Landscape Will Be Definitely Forgotten
- CHALLENGE 4: Health Problems Generalized
Then follow practical applications to the challenges of climate-wise peri-urban development:
- Landscape strategy for Andalusia - starts with the watersheds: water system with large dams.
Water scarcity problems: reducing water demand for agriculture? or artifical snow for ski stations. So, water around the city & peri-urban is at risk: aquifers are at risk: using groundwater from middle ages:
- air pollution, traffic etc: some new responses: new metro: local council plans: green belt of
trees: not edible forest? better to increase forest land on hills & around the bio-region: climate change plans not really effecting pollution so far. proposals - new mobility strategies: new agri-ecology networks: heritage land protection: sustainable urban drainage systems proposals
- pathway 1: co-learning pathways to create a culture?? maybe at meso level governance: e.g. province of Granada. experience in Colombia - integration of technical expertise with civil society meetings (urban acupuncture)
- pathway 2: local municipalities, e.g. orchard planting at grassroots level - agro-forestry - also ecological markets
- pathway 3: confront & critique mainstream old-fashoned urban planning
This forms a 3-leg combination: expert / political / civil society (multiple helix). Practical applications to agro-forestry needs pilot examples. Are there general principles for this example:
- ecological complexity & diversity = resilience & adaptive capacity
- social complexity & diversity = resilience & adaptive capacity
- economic complexity & diversity = resilience & adaptive capacity
- governance complexity & diversity = resilience & adaptive capacity
For the challenge of social integration in the peri-urban: beyond gated communities (is this the same as social complexity & resilience??). For public transport in a car dependent peri-urban - more autonomous centres? retrofitting the peri-urban. For control of expansion & sprawl - start with older towns?
Example of Chile system: strong at national & at community level: regional is a gap (from dictatorship years)
Climate pathways: heat / drought adaptation
Arid climate adaptation, calls for multi-level governance. Short term: arid zone water management in buildings and land: fire defence via forest breaks and natural fire cycle management. Longer term: (in some areas) we need to rethink – where are the settlements, what kind of forms & surroundings, how can low impact eco-design manage a transformation towards a drought / fire-friendly co-existence.
Agro-ecology & food democracy
Agro-ecology may be the most important pathway: first by challenging the chemical-intensive industrial production of global agri-business, and its disruption / depletion of ecosystems & adaptive capacity. Then it aims to rethink the relations of producers, markets and the ecosystems resilience in a changing climate. With the dimension of ‘food democracy’ it can mobilize social / cooperative enterprise on a large scale, which then fits with the adaptive pathways for landscape, soil, water, local livelihoods etc.
New demographics & eco-housing
While much peri-urban expansion is in middle-upper income suburbs & gated communities, some areas see an influx of alternative lifestyle, ex-urban small-holders, local eco-entrepreneurs etc. This bring new opportunities for co-housing, housing with small-holdings, low impact development etc. This can change the social mix & increase the local diversity & resilience.
Eco-real estate markets
Climate change brings a major rethink in the insurance industry, which now calculates the cost / benefit of adaptation as (global average) 7:1 net positive. Such principles can then feed into the real estate market, via green finance and the concept of ‘positive insurance’, which is re-invested to reduce risks & increase resilience.
Circular economy & eco-livelihood
The peri-urban can be a vital part of a city-region circular economy, with a continuous flow of re-use recycling & recovery. This may include shift from mainstream business models, towards cooperative, mutual or similar forms of social-eco business. These can then work in sectors such as food & forestry, biodiversity & ecosystems, education & health, leisure & well-being of all kinds.
Collaborative governance, civil partnerships
Livelihood-based pathways: civil society / grassroots action / cooperatives (e.g. indigenous groups): new forms of civil society partnerships, networks, forums, dialogues can emerge. These may be based on water catchments, bio-regions, or terrestrial eco-regions, as well as economic zones, commuting patterns etc. Government can enable these with round table structures, deliberative processes, core subsidies, rules for transparency & accountability.