Co-creating Sustainable Urban Futures – An initial Taxonomy of Methods and Tools

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Submission Summary
There is an urgent need to address the global climate crisis. Urban areas are not only home to the majority of the world’s population. They also disproportionally contribute to the accelerating environmental decay, with the built environment and urban transportation sector constituting a significant part. Thus, a systemic change in how we plan, design, and manage urban areas is needed. We can observe such a system transition in Paris, a city that suffers from traffic congestion, air pollution, accidents, among many others. The concept of the 15-minute city represents the current urban development agenda. Underlying is the localisation, polycentricity, and creation of habitats—somewhat comparable with the Track’s title of Al-Waha, the oasis: A safe haven, a strategic centre, and a place to allow future generations to prosper. The accompanying visions, plans, and approaches strongly align with the global credo of co-creating sustainable urban futures. Many concepts and methods connect to this, ranging from Arnstein’s ladder of participation, Watson’s collaboration and co-production of knowledge, to digital approaches such as participatory GIS mapping or serious games created for decentralised co-creation of knowledge. Unfortunately, the multi-disciplinary and wide range can constitute a challenge for practitioners and policymakers to know what exists, which objectives can be met, and where strengths and weaknesses lie. Some of the various negative side-effects are the still widespread box-ticking participatory activities, the restricted reach of target groups, or practitioner's discontent with the contribution of co-creative practices. Thus, this paper attempts to compile and review existing frameworks, concepts, and methods from or contributing to the field of co-creating sustainable urban futures. Further, we will classify the collected materials and attempt to develop an initial taxonomy. The work is primarily following principles of a desk-based review, assembling its components based on theoretical foundations, with exemplary cases from the context of the sub-field of sustainable urban mobility futures. Complementary methodological elements are a bibliometric analysis and semi-structured expert interviews. Therefore, the paper aims at 1) providing an overview of what exists, 2) classifying its key components, and 3) proposing a simple framework for practical application in planning and policymaking as well as further extensions. It therefore can contribute to the Track’s goal of providing solutions and tools to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis by proposing a structured approach for co-creating place-based plans and policies for more resilient and sustainable urban futures. The paper is part of ongoing doctoral research on the topic of Urban Mobility Futures and rooted at the interface of transport and mobility research, urban studies, and design science.
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4: Resilience and adaptability. Al-Waha: promoting glocal solutions
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PhD Candidate
IRT SystemX / University Paris Saclay

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