(a preliminary menu for debate & investigation)
Bio-regional urban-rural linkages
Urban & rural areas are highly inter-dependent, in resources, infrastructure, housing, travel, leisure, ecosystems services etc. The peri-urban adds another dimension to that mix. The aim of the ‘PURL’ is to maximize opportunities and minimize negative impacts on each kind of territory. ‘Sprawl repair’ & similar ideas aim to mobilize the local synergies wherever possible.
Climate pathways: heat / drought / fire adaptation
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.
For extreme heat, a growing agenda for building eco-design, social welfare, health & safety, adaptation of livelihoods etc.
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.
peri-urban 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 practical question is how can businesses invest and create jobs from these peri-urban ‘climate-wise’ transitions and pathways. 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
As the peri-urban agenda crosses many boundaries & involves many sectors, 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.