Vanesa Castan Broto: Inaugural Lecture

Changing Cities in a Changing Climate

Wednesday 20th March at 17:30 in the Diamond Lecture Theatre 2

Debates around the need for urgent, radical action have brought cities to the centre of debates about climate change politics. Technology optimists have portrayed cities as sites of technological innovation, where new ideas about human relationships with resources and the environment can be essayed. At the same time, the discussion of possibilities and recommendations for action has posited cities as sites where new forms of climate change governance are imagined and appropriated. The result is that changing discourses of governing climate change cannot be understood without examining the practical responses that emerge from cities- from transport systems to new models of energy provision.

In my research, I have sought to engage simultaneously with the governance of climate change in cities, and the ways in which climate change is already driving urban change. The result is an outlook of research that sits uncomfortably between looking for practical responses to climate change and examining them with scepticism. One theme pervasive in this research has been the tension between strategic attempts at bringing about an urban transition as an orchestrated, well-managed event, and the realities of urban change as it emerges from people’s everyday life.

In this lecture, I will examine my own role, as a researcher, in advancing a progressive agenda that responds to an urgent climate change challenge. I will explore the tensions between experimental forms of action-research, policy-oriented research, and curiosity-led research and the way in which these different forms of thinking have shaped my research agenda as I have attempted to respond to what I believe is the most important challenge of our times: enabling life in a climate changed future.

A celebratory wine reception will take place after the Lecture in the ICOSS Foyer.

Register here: