The 151th RIHN seminar

Date: December 12th, 2017 (Tuesday) 10:00 - 12:00
Place: Seminar Rooms 3 & 4, RIHN( → Access)
Lecturer: Prof. Stephanie Princetl (Director, California Center for Sustainable Communities, Invited Scholar)
Title: Cities as Complex Systems in the Anthropocene: The Roles of Hard and Soft Infrastructure toward Urban Sustainability
Language: English

Cities are a major characteristic of the “Anthropocene.” The coupled rise of capitalism and the harnessing of hydrocarbon energy propelled unprecedented urbanization and earth systems transformations. New infrastructures of pipes, wires, rails and roads emerged, governed by new rules, regulations, codes and conventions. Together they have formed hard and soft infrastructures that both govern how cities are built and also create lock-in and path dependency – hard infrastructures are difficult to remove once they appear, and rules about their performance reinforce that difficulty.

To enhance resilience of these complex urban systems in the face of uncertainties engendered by climate and other bio-physical changes, new urban management regimes must emerge that involve designing with nature and the reduction of resource intensity. At the same time, cities are constrained in their autonomy, part of vast webs of relationships with their nation states, provinces and subtle ‘soft’ infrastructures of regulations, codes, conventions, and treaties that affect their pathways. But as the ‘new homes of humanity’ addressing how cities evolve is critical. I suggest it may also mean that the function of cities themselves must evolve away from a primarily economic one, to one that encompasses other values like creativity, innovation, livability and community.

Contact: OTOGAWA Mari E-mail