Cities are complex and dynamic social-ecological systems; both human and ecological systems are in mutual interaction. As a social-ecological system, a city’s form and structure can change over time. The transcendence and durability of cities is in fact due to their continuous change. Major transformations are often viewed as technological or socio-technological transitions, such as how transport, communication, and housing are fulfilled, and include changes to user practices, regulations, networks, infrastructure, and symbolic meaning. Theories of sustainability transitions investigate the processes by which innovations in socio-technical systems, arising in niches, displace existing dominant or mainstream technologies. Research to date has focused on applying the theories to sustainability transitions in energy systems, water systems, and zero emission housing. These systems all fit easily within a ‘socio-technical’ conceptual framework. How can theories of sustainability transitions apply to innovations in social-ecological systems?
The purpose of this paper is to propose viewing transitions and transformations through the perspective of an ecological worldview. An ecological worldview sees humans as active participants in the co-creation of the living systems we inhabit, and understands that living systems are characterized by change, and therefore by uncertainty and unpredictability. A resilience thinking epistemology, one that is marked by complex relationships, along with transitions and transformations, is used to guide the research. Here, resilience thinking helps us to understand that the world is not mechanical and reasonably predictable, helping us to further grasp the concept of an ecological worldview.
This paper develops a new framework for analysing the transition process of policy innovations that links sustainability transitions and an ecological worldview. This framework is applied to San Francisco, Oakland, and Vancouver using live/work policies to explore new ways of theorizing innovations in complex and dynamic social-ecological systems.
Rapid global urbanization and the increase of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect make urban cooling a necessity as well as an opportunity to increase the liveability and amenity of cities. This review is a scoping study of the relevant worldwide UHI mitigation/adaptation...Read more
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
Financing the upfront costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in buildings can be a significant barrier to the expansion of sustainable, low carbon buildings, despite this being a low-cost option on the carbon abatement curve. Systematic literature on...Read more
This book focuses on the challenge that Australia faces in transitioning to renewable energy and regenerating its cities via a transformation of its built environment. It identifies innovative and effective pathways for decarbonising the built environment from applied research undertaken by the Co-Operative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living.
Urban green space provides multiple benefits to city dwellers— both human and non-human. These ‘nature-based solutions’ include mitigating urban heat and stormwater runoff, providing biodiversity habitat and contributing to human health and wellbeing, and social and cultural processes, which are key elements in creating ecological cities.
As cities grapple with the impacts of heatwaves, exacerbated by the urban heat island effect and progressively amplified by climate change impacts, green spaces can cool urban areas, as well as providing many other functions and benefits to city dwellers’ health and wellbeing, and habitat for urban biodiversity.