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  • 1.
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Cornell, Sarah
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Öhman, Marcus C.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Daw, Tim
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Moberg, Fredrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Norström, Albert
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Persson, Åsa
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute.
    Peterson, Garry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Rockström, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schultz, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Hermansson Török, Ellika
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Global sustainability & human prosperity: contribution to the Post-2015 agenda and the development of Sustainable Development Goals2014Report (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stockholm Univ, Stockholm Resilience Ctr, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Siri, José
    Andersson, Erik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Anderson, Pippin
    Bai, Xuemei
    Das, Pranab Kishore
    Gatere, Tatu
    Gonzalez, Andrew
    Goodness, Julie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Handel, Steven N.
    Hermansson Török, Ellika
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Kavonic, Jessica
    Kronenberg, Jakub
    Lindgren, Elisabet
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Maddox, David
    Maher, Raymond
    Mbow, Cheikh
    McPhearson, Timon
    Mulligan, Joe
    Nordenson, Guy
    Spires, Meggan
    Stenkula, Ulrika
    Takeuchi, Kazuhiko
    Vogel, Coleen
    Urban tinkering2018In: Sustainability Science, ISSN 1862-4065, E-ISSN 1862-4057, Vol. 13, no 6, p. 1549-1564Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Cities are currently experiencing serious, multifaceted impacts from global environmental change, especially climate change, and the degree to which they will need to cope with and adapt to such challenges will continue to increase. A complex systems approach inspired by evolutionary theory can inform strategies for policies and interventions to deal with growing urban vulnerabilities. Such an approach would guide the design of new (and redesign of existing) urban structures, while promoting innovative integration of grey, green and blue infrastructure in service of environmental and health objectives. Moreover, it would contribute to more flexible, effective policies for urban management and the use of urban space. Four decades ago, in a seminal paper in Science, the French evolutionary biologist and philosopher Francois Jacob noted that evolution differs significantly in its characteristic modes of action from processes that are designed and engineered de novo (Jacob in Science 196(4295):1161-1166, 1977). He labeled the evolutionary process tinkering, recognizing its foundation in the modification and molding of existing traits and forms, with occasional dramatic shifts in function in the context of changing conditions. This contrasts greatly with conventional engineering and design approaches that apply tailor-made materials and tools to achieve well-defined functions that are specified a priori. We here propose that urban tinkering is the application of evolutionary thinking to urban design, engineering, ecological restoration, management and governance. We define urban tinkering as:<disp-quote>A mode of operation, encompassing policy, planning and management processes, that seeks to transform the use of existing and design of new urban systems in ways that diversify their functions, anticipate new uses and enhance adaptability, to better meet the social, economic and ecological needs of cities under conditions of deep uncertainty about the future.</disp-quote>This approach has the potential to substantially complement and augment conventional urban development, replacing predictability, linearity and monofunctional design with anticipation of uncertainty and non-linearity and design for multiple, potentially shifting functions. Urban tinkering can function by promoting a diversity of small-scale urban experiments that, in aggregate, lead to large-scale often playful innovative solutions to the problems of sustainable development. Moreover, the tinkering approach is naturally suited to exploring multi-functional uses and approaches (e.g., bricolage) for new and existing urban structures and policies through collaborative engagement and analysis. It is thus well worth exploring as a means of delivering co-benefits for environment and human health and wellbeing. Indeed, urban tinkering has close ties to systems approaches, which often are recognized as critical to sustainable development. We believe this concept can help forge much-closer, much-needed ties among engineers, architects, evolutionary ecologists, health specialists, and numerous other urban stakeholders in developing innovative, widely beneficial solutions for society and contribute to successful implementation of SDG11 and the New Urban Agenda.

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