Imagine A Regenerative City
Six key recommendations on how to enable a local regenerative transition are highlighted in the new report Imagine A Regenerative City.
The report paints the vision of a regenerative city and outlines the building blocks we need to get there. It summarises the expert debates arising from the Future of Cities Forum 2014, a collaboration between the World Future Council, Energy Cities and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany.
1) Adopt local solutions that engage citizens and encourage democratic participation
- Complex, large scale issues can be solved more easily when broken down into smaller scale problems that can be tackled at the local and regional level.
- While a national framework is important in facilitate a move towards tangible local targets, citizen participation and community engagement are necessary in ensuring an inclusive, fair and democratic process.
- A community-based approach goes hand–in-hand with the idea that we need to create more regenerative communities which are more reliant on their own means and regional resources.
2) Work together with diverse actors and communicate effectively
- A broad alliance of different actors and interest groups at the local level helps make sure diverse needs are taking into consideration in the decision-making process. Each stakeholder group has a unique role to play in the regenerative transition, and certain individuals can also act as multipliers.
- Approach issues in an accessible way and emphasise solutions. Positive communication is more likely to motivate a people to become active and be supportive. ‘Seeing is believing’ is sometimes the most effective way of getting a message across. Interactive, responsive and transparent communication helps build trust and buy-in.
3) Adopt targets and indicators that reflect our values and real needs
- Targets such as continuous economic growth – measured with indicators such as GDP – need to be replaced. New indicators that reflect what we value as individuals and as a society, as well as the long-term impact of our actions, should be adopted to measure real individual and societal well-being.
4) Set a clear long-term vision
- A long-term vision creates a shared objective that inspires, streamlines and channels various individual efforts towards the implementation of a common regenerative future.
- Coordination is essential given the variety of the multiple actors involved in the transition and demands clear political leadership.
5) Reconcile policymaking and research
- Timing is everything: Policymakers and researchers should begin dialogue early on in the process in order to establish common goals of the collaboration. This helps target research towards solving concrete problems and ensures results are used in local development decisions.
6) Change behaviour through dialogue, education and awareness-raising
- Small individual changes add up and can shape a collective outcome with a much greater impact. Local and national authorities are responsible to deliver conditions enabling citizens to adopt environment friendly habits. They can also help educating citizens to make them aware not only of the true impact of their actions, but how a change in their behaviour can improve their own quality of life. A sound and honest dialogue between public authorities and actors and citizens has to be established.
Given the urgency of the problems that we currently face, we cannot responsibly postpone action any longer. Ideas need to be translated into tangible solutions. We need to foster a social, economic and political environment which promotes local initiatives and community-based projects, which prompts people to undertake real action and which facilitates pro-activeness and engagement from all possible actors. An inclusive action-focused approach is the ultimate key that will allow us to move from imagining a regenerative vision to making it a reality.
Read the full report as a PDF here.
Monday, February 2nd, 2015