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URB-GEOG-FORUM  May 2007

URB-GEOG-FORUM May 2007

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Subject:

ESRC Seminar Series: Local action in the face of dangerous climate change

From:

Rebecca Edwards <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Urban Geography Discussion and Announcement Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 15 May 2007 17:52:05 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (125 lines)

Apologies for cross posting:

Please reply to  Dr Vicky Simpson: [log in to unmask] 

Local action in the face of dangerous climate change and resource constraints: a two year
ESRC-funded seminar series.

Seminar Three: "Reproducing City-Regions"
19th and 20th July in Manchester

Speakers include:
Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester, UK.
Andy Jonas, University of Hull, UK
Timothy W. Luke, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Anthony G. Bigio, The World Bank
Mark Goodwin, University of Exeter, UK
Harriet Bulkeley, University of Durham, UK

Rationale for the seminar series:

For the past twenty or thirty years local economies have been having to cope with long term
structural changes associated with the decline of manufacturing and the growth of the new service
and *knowledge* economies This restructuring process is now largely complete, and given that
there has been a long period of uninterrupted economic growth in the UK since the mid-1990s,
seemingly there is a consensus about the way forward for local economies. The current *taken for
granted* local economic development paradigm focuses on:

place marketing, events and festivals (Manchester Olympics, Liverpool Capital of Culture): 
infrastructure and communications development; developing the local economy*s specific advantage
within the global division of labour (generally in the UK, within the *knowledge* economy); and
focussing on culture and the *creative classes* as the new drivers for growth.  

However, this new consensus, while a refreshing alternative to backward looking approaches that
seemed to want to preserve a romanticised past based on often exploitative and environmentally
unsustainable manufacturing, nevertheless pays too little attention to either social justice or
sustainability.  The consensus seems utopian in its prescriptions for what can be achieved through
the globalised knowledge economy. 

This as yet uncontested paradigm takes no cognisance of two of the major threats that all local
economies will have to deal with over the next twenty years: 

climate change, leading to extremes of and greater instabilities of weather, or economic activities
which fit current climatic conditions becoming no longer viable; 

the end of the era of cheap and plentiful oil, with the knock on that will have for carbon-fuelled
economies, cheap transport, less long-distance tourism, and the need to focus more on local
production of that which can be produced locally.  

Rationale for the third seminar:

Contemporary city-regions are the predominant sites of resource consumption and the production of
waste. Complex socio-technical networks provide the sinews through which cities *metabolise*
essential resources in production systems, communications and logistics networks and consumption in
buildings. But the metabolism of the city-region - its wider political ecologies and the relations
with essential production and consumption systems - have not been a focus for mainstream urban
studies. Instead debates about the economy and governance of the city have largely been separate
from debates about the ecology and technology of the city. Yet a period of rapid climate change and
increasing resource constraint now means that we must look at the relations between ecology,
economy, governance, society and technology in new ways. The challenge is to critically and
reflexively examine how ecological constraints may re-shape our own conceptual understanding of the
city and what this understanding might means for the practices and priorities of urban studies and
the future development of the city-region.  There are three key themes:

1. Securing the *Material* Reproduction of the City-Region? 

The first theme focuses on how major-regions can materially ensure their future in a period of
climate change and resource constraint. Key questions How do cities ensure they have sufficient and
reliable access to powe
r and water? How can city-regions reshape their socio-technical networks to
mitigate against climate change? What can cities do to adapt themselves to change climate, flooding
and vulnerability? Do cities become more autonomous and self-reliant or do they become more
externally dependent and trade carbon? 

2. Guaranteeing the *Socio-Economic* Reproduction of the City-Regions?

The second theme focuses on the issues involved in the socio-economic reproduction of city-regions
within new resource constraints.  Key questions include: How does the concept of the economy change
with greater focus on resource constraint? Can cities maintain existing economies alternatively are
limits placed on growth or is green growth prioritised? How do urban/regional leaders see the future
in terms of sustainability fixes?  Where is experimentation happening and why (and what's not
happening and why)?  What might 'entrepreneurial' city-region management look like in an era of
resource constraint?  What do these fixes mean for social justice? Are new forms of uneven spatial
development created go-ahead city-regions go it alone?  

3. Reproducing the *Uneven Development* of City-Regions?

The final theme focuses on city-regions differential capacity and adaptability to these challenges.
Key questions include: Does an ecologically informed division of labour emerge that challenges the
established urban hierarchy? Are some cities more able to gather resources and technology to
guarantee their futures? Can certain city-regions go it alone, going beyond national regulation and
disembedding themselves from the constraints of national/regional modes of regulation?  What
difference does the national regulatory context make?  How do city-regions develop the capacity to
act? What's the balance between collaboration and competition in terms of the partnerships needed
for experimentation?  

The seminar is free, but places are limited. Please book by returning the booking form at:

http://www.liv.ac.uk/geography/seminars/seminarthree.htm 

A limited number of travel bursaries is available for postgraduates, post-docs without their own
sources of support, and the community and voluntary sectors. Available on a first come, first served
basis. 


Peter North
Department of Geography
University of Liverpool


Rebecca Edwards
Research Associate
Regeneration Institute
Cardiff University
Glamorgan Building
King Edward VII Avenue
Cardiff CF10 3WA
+ 44 (0)29 208 76014
www.cardiff.ac.uk/cplan/ri

_______________________________________________________
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List Archives: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/URB-GEOG-FORUM
Maintained by: RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research Group
UGRG Home Page: http://www.urban-geography.org.uk

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