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Community foresight for urban sustainability: insights from the Citizens Science for Sustainability (SuScit) project

Eames, Malcolm and Egmose, Jonas 2011. Community foresight for urban sustainability: insights from the Citizens Science for Sustainability (SuScit) project. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 78 (5) , pp. 769-784. 10.1016/j.techfore.2010.09.002

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A key strength of backcasting is arguably the emphasis it places upon envisaging longer-term distant futures, allowing participants and users to think beyond incremental changes in their current lived experience and to embrace the more radical and disruptive socio-technical changes which may be necessary to deliver sustainability. In so doing, however, backcasting may run the risk of obscuring significant differences in current lived experience, negating alternative problem framings and normatively derived views of what constitutes sustainability. This paper reports an innovative UK attempt to develop an inclusive ‘bottom-up’ community foresight process for urban sustainability research. Unlike most backcasting studies, the methodology was initially grounded in an exploration of the community participants' current lived experience and understandings of sustainability. Given the particular purpose of the study the primary outcome from the work was structured around the articulation of a ‘community-led’ agenda for urban sustainability research, rather than an explicit normative vision and transition pathway. However, the methodology could easily be adapted for use in other contexts, and showed potential to contribute to the formation of local ‘transition arenas’: facilitating network formation and building capacity for local sustainability initiatives and experiments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community foresight; Citizens' science; Urban sustainability; Transition management; Up-stream engagement
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0040-1625
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 02:10

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