San Diego pathways

Adaptive pathways

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.

peri-urban stewardship of land & commons

Many peri-urban territories include large areas of leftover ‘lost space’, and much of this (in some countries) is in common / public ownership. The community based stewardship of marginal land on edges or corridors, can be a powerful way to generate social synergies, e.g. by local food democracy, which can then manage ecosystems for resilience and adaptive capacity.

Peri-urban infrastructure : roads, airports, industrial zones etc

Large facilities in the peri-urban can cause disruption & depletion – or, contribute to positive transformation of the peri-urban as a zone of diversity, local-global linkages, and socio-ecological resilience. Airports, major roads or industrial plants can be designed as green corridors with built in adaptation capacity.

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) a rethink of where are the settlements, what kind of forms, 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.

demographic shifts & new forms of 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, insurance

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.

Radical governance, grassroots networks

Emerging forms of radical ecological democracy & the ‘pluriverse’: these are beginning to show real alternatives to the mainstream top-down neo-liberal consensus on development & livelihood. The peri-urban can be host to many creative variations on agro-ecology, local livelihoods, grassroots self-help, social mutual aid, stewardship of the commons etc.

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