Building urban resilience through upgrading knowledge systems
What is the problem/challenge?
Urban resilience in the face of increasingly frequent and extreme weather events requires changes to the knowledge (data sources, expertise, decision-making processes, etc.) used in urban infrastructure design and planning for the following key reasons:
- OUTDATED DATA & CHANGING WEATHER. Not only are flood maps outdated, for example, but even accurate historical data can no longer predict future needs.
- KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS UPGRADES. It’s not just about getting the right data and expertise but also about putting them together systematically to reframe how cities think about extreme weather in more anticipatory ways.
- SCIENCE, DECISION-MAKING, & JUSTICE. Cities need knowledge systems that address environmental racism, green gentrification, and health issues from the perspective of underserved communities facing high risk in an uncertain climatic future.
In short, the challenge is to reimagine the core knowledge-making practices that can put cities on just and sustainable pathways toward meaningful and effective forms of urban resilience.
Addressing the problem/challenge
The Knowledge Systems Innovation Task Force has been working closely with the URExSRN to develop a suite of resources for upgrading the knowledge systems cities use to build resilience:
- SMART & CONNECTED COMMUNITIES. Our team has supported professionals and community organizers working together in building anticipatory capacity in San Juan, Miami, and Baltimore, using knowledge asset mapping and data visualization to develop an integrated online platform that can:
- identify knowledge gaps within and across cities
- showcase best practices and noteworthy innovations in a range of formats
- connect different types of experts, data, and knowhow.
- SPECIAL ISSUE. Our team led a special issue of the journal Environmental Science & Policy on Knowledge Systems for Urban Resilience.
- Featuring 17 new articles with case studies and innovative research approaches from within and beyond UREx cities.
- In Spring 2019, we hosted an online video conference for authors to present key themes and get to know each other’s work, while reflecting on ways to innovate academic knowledge systems.
- APPLIED CLIMATE ADAPTATION DECISION-MAKING. Actionable knowledge is not reducible to mere information-sharing but rather is part of building new social relations across different areas of expertise, to increase collective inquiry, action, and confidence in our capacity to transform institutional knowledge-making practices:
- In Spring 2017, members of our team led the Knowledge Systems Analysis and Application to Sustainability and Resilience Workshop with graduate students and professionals at the University of Puerto Rico.
- We have been actively circulating ideas in the popular press:
- Through a Knowledge Action System Analysis in UREx cities, we have mapped and analyzed key knowledge networks in San Juan,
Hermosillo, Valdivia, and Miami.
- Research on the Social Value of Adaptation and Resilience Projects documents case studies across the Americas for knowledge exchange of best practices.
Across this body of work we are uncovering and supporting how diverse city actors:
- build their own agency and voice in institutional decision-making
- upgrade urban knowledge systems through shifting power relations
- learn across cities and across scales, through a network of networks approach
- increase long- and short-term anticipatory capacity
- make climate knowledge more usable for policy and decision-making
Contact Clark Miller ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Tischa Muñoz-Erickson ( email@example.com ) to get involved with the group: Robert Hobbins, Changdeok Gim, Marissa Matsler, Matt Feagan, Erin Friedman, Molly Ramsey, Kaethe Selkirk, Eric Kennedy, Pani Pajouhesh, Thad Miller, David Iwaniec, Bill Soleki, Sara Meerow, Rebekah Breitzer, Alice Brawley-Chesworth, Kevin Dwyer, David Morrison, Jan Cordero, Chad Monfreda, Philip Gilbertson, Sean McAllister
● KSI website
KSI Resource List
Books, reports, and popular press
- Feagan M, Muñoz-Erickson T, Welty C, and Grove M. (2019). Baltimore Innovation Lab: Resilient Coastal Cities – Smart & Connected Communities, lab report April 13.
- Feagan M, Hobbins R, Muñoz-Erickson T, and Troxler T. (2018). Miami Innovation Lab: Resilient Coastal Cities – Smart & Connected Communities, lab report March 18.
- Grimm NB, Feagan M, Muñoz-Erickson T, Troxler T, and Welty C. (2019). Final Report to NSF: Resilient Coastal Cities – Smart & Connected Communities, August.
- Miller C and Muñoz-Erickson T. (2018). The Rightful Place of Science: Designing Knowledge . Tempe, AZ: Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes.
- Miller C, Miller TR, Muñoz-Erickson T, and the Knowledge Systems Innovation Group (Kennedy E, Hinrichs M, Gim C, Selkirk K, Pajouhesh P, Hobbins R, Feagan M). “Can cities get smarter about extreme weather? ” in The Conversation, United States Edition, Nov 13 2017.
- Miller C, Muñoz-Erickson T, Monfreda C. (2010). Knowledge Systems Analysis: A Report for the Advancing Conservation in a Social Context Project. #10-05. CSPO Arizona State University.
- Miller T, Chester M, Muñoz-Erickson T. (2018). Rethinking infrastructure in an area of unprecedented weather events. Issues in Science and Technology. (Winter), 47-58.
- Fastiggi, M., Meerow, S., and Miller, T.R., Under Review. “Institutionalizing Urban Resilience: Coordination Strategies within 20 North American City Governments.”
- Friedman, Erin, Rebekah Breitzer, and William Solecki. 2019. “Communicating Extreme Event Policy Windows: Discourses on Hurricane Sandy and Policy Change in Boston and New York City.” Environmental Science & Policy 100 (October): 55–65. ( link ).
- Gim, C., C.A. Miller, and P.W. Hirt. The Resilience Work of Institutions. Environmental Science & Policy. 97 (July 2019): 36-43. ( link )
- Hobbins, R., Muñoz-Erickson, T., Miller, C. (under review). Producing and communicating flood risk: A knowledge system analysis of FEMA flood maps in New York City. In Z. Hamstead, M. Berbés-Blázquez, E. Cook, D. Iwaniec, T. McPhearson, & T. Muñoz-Erickson (Eds.), Resilient Urban Futures. Springer.
- Matsler, A. M. 2019. “Making ‘Green’ Fit in a ‘Grey’ Accounting System: The Institutional Knowledge System Challenges of Valuing Urban Nature as Infrastructural Assets.” Environmental Science & Policy 99 (September): 160–68.( link )
- Meerow, S., Pajouhesh, P., & Miller, T. R. (2019). Social equity in urban resilience planning. Local Environment, 24(9), 793–808. (link)
- Miller CA and Wyborn C, “Co-Production in Global Sustainability: Histories and Theories.” Environmental Science & Policy . (link)