- University of Exeter, UK
- University of Exeter, UK King’s College London, UK iShack, South Africa University of Cape Town, South Africa University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
The New Urban Agenda sets out a unifying vision for urban sustainability, while its implementation calls for context-specific and localised solutions. Likewise, the Sustainable Development Goals prompt us to learn from small-scale experiments in technology, human behaviour and governance processes. But what is urban 'experimentation', where is the 'urban laboratory', and what can urban experiments do for us? This session provokes discussion on how local experiments in sustainability can support the transformative change envisioned by the New Urban Agenda.
An interactive session will consider the opportunities and challenges of implementing the New Urban Agenda through what might be called 'governance by experiment'. Under what conditions have urban experiments led to transformational change? When do 'failures' present opportunities for social learning? Should wealthy administrations be approaching innovation differently to less prosperous ones? How do we measure the achievements of experiments that are successfully scaled-up or replicated elsewhere? Who is being experimented on in the urban laboratory? And what challenges to transformational change are presented by starting small?
Brief portraits of experimentation in South Africa, China and Europe will be provided, including clean and affordable energy solutions for low income settlements, and re-designing 'smart' and 'eco' cities from the bottom-up. The audience will then be invited to share their own examples and thoughts on the conditions that allow local innovations to be 'scaled up' in transformative and inclusive ways.