The current and the next decades promise to be difficult ones. Long-anticipated resource scarcity, pollution, and global warming are all likely to become increasingly tangible, with the potential to drastically change the world as we know it, including cities and what nourishes them from the outside. Supply shortages, extreme weather, new health emergencies, and geopolitical tensions may depict uncertain scenarios that, however, cannot be waited for and just labelled as black swan events. Present evidence and scientific forecasts about climate change and its tipping points have recently led even United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to make desperate pleas for urgent actions, since the very future of humanity is at stake. Discourses on sustainability and resilience have multiplied in recent times, yet with frequently different meanings of these concepts and often with local or sectorial applications. We may argue that the present and upcoming challenges demand more when thinking of urban and regional futures: understanding how secure livelihood supply can be in an at least partly de-globalised scenario, and what its consequences are in town-and-country planning and/or spontaneous transformations to enter a new era. Starting from food, energy, water up to maybe different forms of healthcare and transportation, material, physical changes may be matched with immaterial, governance ones, in which current power relations may be either maintained, amplified, or diminished. Resorting to systems thinking and urban and regional metabolism, some preliminary thoughts and possible scenarios are brought here for an open discussion, necessarily subject to debate, criticism, and further elaboration.

Human settlements in a tough century: some thoughts on urban and regional livelihood supply, morphologies, governance, and power.

Cristiano, S.
2022-01-01

Abstract

The current and the next decades promise to be difficult ones. Long-anticipated resource scarcity, pollution, and global warming are all likely to become increasingly tangible, with the potential to drastically change the world as we know it, including cities and what nourishes them from the outside. Supply shortages, extreme weather, new health emergencies, and geopolitical tensions may depict uncertain scenarios that, however, cannot be waited for and just labelled as black swan events. Present evidence and scientific forecasts about climate change and its tipping points have recently led even United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to make desperate pleas for urgent actions, since the very future of humanity is at stake. Discourses on sustainability and resilience have multiplied in recent times, yet with frequently different meanings of these concepts and often with local or sectorial applications. We may argue that the present and upcoming challenges demand more when thinking of urban and regional futures: understanding how secure livelihood supply can be in an at least partly de-globalised scenario, and what its consequences are in town-and-country planning and/or spontaneous transformations to enter a new era. Starting from food, energy, water up to maybe different forms of healthcare and transportation, material, physical changes may be matched with immaterial, governance ones, in which current power relations may be either maintained, amplified, or diminished. Resorting to systems thinking and urban and regional metabolism, some preliminary thoughts and possible scenarios are brought here for an open discussion, necessarily subject to debate, criticism, and further elaboration.
XIII Giornata internazionale di studi INU “Oltre il futuro: emergenze, rischi, sfide, transizioni, opportunità” – 13th INU international study day “Beyond the future: emergencies, risks, challenges, transitions, and opportunities”
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5010380
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