Online-Workshop: Transformative Research in Cities - November 29th 2022 - First Results

The Urban Systems Group was proud host of an early career researchers workshop in the context of the 4th KoMet-Tag 2022, which continues to be great inspiration! As a team, we extend a big vote of thanks to the University Alliance Ruhr KoMet-Tag organisers for their valuable sponsorship, and to our honourable speakers for their thought-provoking presentations: 

  Prof. Dr. Derk Loorbach (DRIFT, Rotterdam),
     Topic: ‘Transition Research and Complexity Science’;

  Katharina J.F. Schiller (Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe & Sustainability Transition Research Network),
     Topic: ‘Sustainability transitions in the Global South and North’;

  Sean Goodwin (BC3 Basque Center for Climate Change, University of Almería),
     Topic: ‘Assessment of the transformative capacity of nature based solutions to climate change adaptation;

  ▶  Dr. Sarah Wolf (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, FU Berlin),
     Topic: ‘Simulation, Visualization, and Discussion: Decision Theatre;

   ▶  Rico Herzog (City Science Lab, HafenCity Universität Hamburg),
      Topic: ‘Merging the digital and the analogue: Transformative research in digital urban twins’;

   ▶  Ass. Prof. Dr. Kristina Bogner (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University),
     Topic: ‘Transformative Research: Increased agency in times of increased complexity’. 

A big vote of thanks goes out to all participants of the workshop, whose attendance and active engagement in discussions certainly enriched the workshop.

First results of the workshop are, in summary:

Transitions South and North: Critical space for reflection is needed to decolonise the western-eurocentric approach to transformative research in a global context, in the sense of attitutes and approaches towards diverse forms of knowledge and social, informal, institutional forms of organisation existing in the world. This is further enabled through robust social participation iin the sense of social equity, questioning established power-structures and promoting emancipatory processes, and acknowledging informal organisational structures that have grown in response to local everyday challenges.

Transition Methods: Modelling can be a tool for data-based storytelling about future scenarios, without substantial loss of complexity. This enables transdisciplinary and co-productive work  - between science, business, NGOs, politics and public administration. In this context, Agent-based modelling carries high potential for participants identifying themselves with the model, as they find themselves and their life-world represented, including otherwise marginalised groups, such as care workers. Challenges are gathering, preparing and giving access to data, as well as having the time, money and interdisciplinary teams needed to realise the potential of these tools.

Transition Researchers: Early-career researchers are at the end of the academic food-chain, a cause for high levels of frustration and exhaustion in a system that is slow and resistant to change, accentuated by the difficulty researchers have with acknowledging the factor emotions have for rational decisions. Potential is that the academic system allows the cration of spaces for transition researchers who want to work in a transformative manner - in the form of seminars, workshops, conferences, and to thus honour the contribution to sustainability transformation made by transitions research.

This as a first summary of the rich content shared by the presenters, and certainly not the final version. Next steps are to be discussed in 2023 when the Urban Systems Group reconvenes to build on these results. Please contact Dr. Julia-Lena Reinermann (julia.reinermann_at_fernuni-hagen.de) to be notified of their next meeting.

You can download the presentations HERE (26MB).

The presented slides of the results at the KoMet Tag (01.12.2022) can be viewed HERE  (6MB).