Urban experimentation with nature-based innovations and infrastructures

Authors: Rob Raven*, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Harriet Bukleley, Durham University, Kes Mccornick, Lund University
Topics: Environment, Urban Geography
Keywords: Nature-based solutions, experimentation, infrastructures
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Nature-based solutions are increasingly touted as novel ways to enable urban sustainability. As such, a host of urban actors are increasingly experimenting with nature as an urban infrastructure next to more conventional infrastructures consisting of pipes and wires. This paper aims to explore if and how experimenting with nature-as-infrastructure is different from experimenting with technology-as-infrastructure. This is interesting as the bourgeoning literature on urban experimentation has focused on experimentation in conventional urban infrastructural domains such as energy and transport. The paper first establishes a generic framework of what current literature on experimentation beliefs to be critical. It then argues develops initial ideas of why experimenting with nature might be different, highlighting issues such as nature being more place-based then technology (depending on local climate conditions, for instance) and nature containing an ethical dimension (chopping trees versus clearing old concrete). The paper then draws on data collective as part of the EH-funded NATURVATION project, to explore these ideas in three case studies (Malmo, Utrecht, Newcastle) and generic patterns found in a large database consisting of almost 1000 NBS initiatives. The paper ends with setting out a future research agenda on experimenting with nature-as-infrastructure.

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