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The governing of nature has been an essential part of the story of urbanization. Whether through the conversion of rivers for transportation, the creation of urban drainage systems for wastewater removal or the installation of parks for their recreational and aesthetic value (Gandy, 2004; Gleeson and Low, 2000; Rydin, 1998), nature has played a critical role in urban development. Yet, conservationist thinking, which has dominated environmental governance and policy, has tended to equate the environment as belonging to either “rural” or “wilderness” places that needed to be protected from the encroachment of (urban) society (Owens, 1992). As a result, much of the governance of biodiversity at the urban scale during the twentieth century was focused on the designation and enforcement of protected areas (Vaccaro et al., 2013).
Based on an interdisciplinary investigation of future visions, scenarios, and case-studies of low carbon innovation taking place across economic domains, Decarbonising Economies analyses the ways in which questions of agency, power, geography and materiality shape the conditions of possibility for a low carbon future. It explores how and why the challenge of changing our economies are variously ascribed to a lack of finance, a lack of technology, a lack of policy and a lack of public engagement, and shows how the realities constraining change are more fundamentally tied to the inertia of our existing high carbon society and limited visions for what a future low carbon world might become. Through showcasing the first seeds of innovation seeking to enable transformative change, Decarbonising Economies will also chart a course for future research and policy action towards our climate goals. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Since the 1990s, a burgeoning literature has emerged on the politics and governance of urban climate. It is now evident that urban responses to climate change involve a diverse range of actors as well as forms of agency that cross traditional boundaries, and which have diverse consequences for (dis)empowering different social groups. This book provides an overview of the forms of agency in urban climate politics, discussing the friction and power dynamics between them. Written by renowned scholars, it critically assesses the advantages and limitations of increasing agency in urban climate governance. In doing so, it sheds critical new light on the existing literature, advances the state of knowledge of urban climate governance and discusses ways to accelerate urban climate action. With chapters building on case studies from across the world, it is ideal for scholars and practitioners working in the area of urban climate politics and governance.This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. For more publications, see www.cambridge.org/earth-system-governance.
This chapter explores climate experiments and governance innovations in the context of the institutionalisation of practices of public participation in climate governance, drawing from approaches in STS (science and technology studies) and political science. It does this by drawing on in-depth ethnographic work on institutionalised approaches to public participation in the UK Government, namely the ‘public dialogue’ processes supported by Government-funded expert body Sciencewise around different science policy issues related to climate governance. Sciencewise’s public dialogues are studied as one particular ‘democratic innovation’ in climate governance, characterising a set of governance and democratic practices, materials and procedures which have developed and become standardised over time.
Recent criticisms of institutionalised practices of public participation have characterised these processes as laboratory experiments, closely framed and controlled in order to produce legitimate and acceptable outcomes. However, work on the histories, philosophies and geographies of scientific experimentation continually draws attention to the continual overflowing of laboratory experiments; showing that they are always social, and always have the potential break out of their narrow framings and controlled settings.