Transformative climate governance capacities in Port Cities: The case of Santos (Brazil)
Prof. Dr. Marc Wolfram, Prof. Dr. Jochen Schanze, Prof. Dr. Susan Wagenknecht, Technische Universität Dresden
IOER Research area:
Modern cities have been producing and reproducing climate change risks through the perpetuation of unsustainable systems and patterns of living. Unequally distributed throughout the world and inside municipalities, climate risks constitute an existential threat for many coastal cities and pervade different sectors, levels and agendas, constituting a transversal issue that challenges modernist parameters in urban planning. As it is acknowledged that expert-centered and incremental urban planning logics are not suited for dealing with climate risks, there is increasing relevance of practice-based research focused in identifying which governance capacities could drive sustainable transformations in cities.
Key capacities relate to institutional sustainability foresight in the sense of creating collective visions that inspire, negotiate normative priorities, generate consensus and clearly state the speed of measures to be taken in order to achieve a desirable climate future. The focus on desirable futures and normative dimensions has been constituting a significant shift from traditional foresight activities focused on predicting risks and elaborating probability scenarios, with new approaches emphasizing more collaborative and experiential practices, such as those related to real world labs, transdisciplinary envisioning workshops and participatory futuring with local communities.
However, relatively little research has been focused on understanding the processes through which the underlying materiality, meanings and knowledge travel through international networks of specialists and are then ordered and integrated in particular ways through their enactment in situated social contexts. This project seeks to address this gap by tracing these elements and exploring the following dimensions of institutional foresight practices: the underlying ontological approaches to vulnerability, uncertainty and the future; the characterization of the relations between the actors; and the materiality of the settings involved.
This project seeks to trace these elements as institutional foresight practices are enacted in the climate governance process in the coastal Port city of Santos (Brazil), especially in the moments of workshops, conferences and seminars in which scientists, policymakers and residents meet for the continuous revision of the city’s Climate Change Action Plan, which has embodied both more traditional scenario-building practices and novel participatory co-production initiatives with the involvement of vulnerable communities. The preferential methods are qualitative, with interviews and participant observation constituting the center of this contribution.