The role of mundane innovations in experimental governance – Examples from Rapidly Urbanizing Areas

Feb. 2, 2023, 19:00 – 20:30  (Beijing Time)
Feb. 2, 2023, 11:00 – 12:30  (London Time)
Feb. 2, 2023, 04:00 – 05:30  (Phoenix Time)

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Vanesa Castan Broto is Professor of Climate Urbanism at the University of Sheffield. She is the PI of the projects Low Carbon Action in Ordinary Cities (funded by the European Research Council) and Community Energy and Sustainable Transitions in Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique (funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund and the Economic and Social Research Council). She has published widely on environmental governance in urban areas from a feminist perspective. Her latest books are Climate Urbanism (2021, Palgrave) and Inclusive Urban Development in the Global South (2021, Routledge). In 2021 she received the AXA Prize for Climate Science. Vanesa served as Lead Author for the Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, during the 6th Assessment Report.

Calls for urgent responses to both challenges of climate change and the global biodiversity crisis demand transformative action and a just transition, assuming the centrality of experimental governance to facilitate impactful responses. This presentation will explore two questions.

The first question relates to the realisation that many urban innovations emerge within quotidian settings associated with life practices around urban infrastructure. How do these mundane innovations interact with different forms of experimental governance? For example, is experimental governance a result of these mundane innovations, or is it, on the contrary, an external imposition that reduces their potential?

The second question explores the extent to which the articulation of experimental governance in international climate policy matches the potential and resources of mundane innovations on the ground. To what extent does international policy match the requirements to deliver place-based action and take advantage of mundane innovations? Do mundane innovations support efforts towards a just transition?

To answer these two questions, I will present the insights of the ERC project LoAct, Low Carbon Action in Ordinary Cities. The presentation will focus on the combined insights of an analysis of existing policy narratives of climate change action in urban areas and the actual projects that take place on the ground. The analysis shows the potential of mundane innovations to create locally adapted forms of experimental governance but also shows that mundane innovations are either ignored or misunderstood in climate change policy.