Infrastructures and action situations: converging ideas in science and technology studies and institutional analysis to study urban resilience to climate extremes

Authors: Allain Barnett*, Florida International University, Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Clark University, Kevin Grove, Florida International University, Guy Hydrick, Clark University, Evelyn Gaiser, Florida International University, John Kominoski, Florida International University, Matt Smith, Florida International University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Urban Geography, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: infrastructure, institutional analysis, vulnerability, urban resilience, climate change
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Grand Chenier, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Sea level rise and extreme climate events pose significant challenges to coastal cities. City governments faced with these challenges are developing plans and innovations using green and grey infrastructure to enhance urban resilience to such extremes. This paper integrates converging insights from institutional analysis and science and technology studies (STS) to develop a place-based understanding of the (infra)structural underpinnings of urban resilience or vulnerabilities. Some institutional analysis scholars have argued for increased attention to the action situations that emerge where different types of infrastructure interact. Science and technology studies emphasizes attention to the risk perceptions, values, narratives, and framings that influence planning and decision-making when potential future outcomes are ambiguous or uncertain. We examine decision-making under uncertainty and indeterminacy, and the impact of institutions on the built environment of cities as action situations, using the case of Miami, Florida’s ongoing efforts in climate resiliency planning, and within the context of a large, NSF collaborative research network. This approach allows for the characterization of configurations of social, institutional, and biophysical, infrastructures that generate dilemmas, and the actors and interactions that influence outcomes. This approach can extend on the institutional analysis approach to developing design principles, with added space for understanding the values, creativity, and innovations that can contribute to diverse and flexible innovations for urban resilience and reduced social vulnerability to extreme events.

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