Urban climate change is a crossroads in two very different senses. One is historical. With the world now more than half urban, and given the ecological consequences of the world's high-consumption urban centers, we are at an ecological crossroad. We either head off the worst of ecological collapse through concerted and forward-looking action, or we face a 'Mad Max future' of dystopia, violence, and upheaval. The second crossroad is intellectual. Our individual disciplines are unable to grasp the magnitude of the economic-ecological challenges ahead. For that we need to work holistically, calling on the knowledge of climatologists, engineers, sociologists, economists, public health specialist, designers, architects, community organizers, and more. The intellectual crossroad is nothing less than a new intellectual field of Sustainable Development. Based on a major international forum held in Rome in 2008, this volume brings together leading climate change experts to engage with the climate change discourse as it shifts from mitigation to adaptation, with particular attention to the urban environment. In doing so, it provides important insights into how to deal with the first crossroad, by achieving the second. It represents a new generation of thinking involving not only science, but the broad array of fields that must be called upon to effectively address the global climate crisis: from ecological science to political science; from economics to philosophy to architecture; and from public health to public art. It is a pioneering effort to broaden the discursive field, and is likely to remain a landmark study on the subject for a generation.
'Readers will be stimulated, perplexed and challenged throughout. They will take a new energy and commitment from the volume. And most important, they will understand that the task of sustainable urban development is one of the world's greatest challenges, with our generation at a world-shaping crossroad.' Jeffrey D. Sachs (taken from the Introduction) 'Urban Climate Change Crossroads is a thought- provoking volume that underscores the need for a holistic approach to urban climate change.' Journal of Urban History 'What is interesting about this book is that it looks beyond the physico-technical aspects of sustainable cities. It shows that mitigation and adaptation to climate changes necessitate more than a transition to sustainable energy use, smart grids and carbon neutrality. It is equally - if not more - about merging ecology and economics, about integrating technology, spatial analysis, community participation, perception and a deep appreciation of ecology. It is about real interdisciplinarity and holism, appealing to economists, public health experts, designers. architects, and community organisers. The book focuses on an underemphasised dimension of the climate changes discourse.' International Journal of Environment and Pollution 'The book is well-structured, with clear themes to each collection of papers and figures illustrating each chapter’s message. The book is complemented with a collection of participants’ commentaries, contributing to the feeling of open discussion… the book succeeds in conveying a sense of urgency for climate change action, while underlining the need for a holistic approach to sustainable urban development as a means of effectively addressing the global climate change crisis…' Austral Ecology
Contents: Introduction, Jeffrey D. Sachs; Part 1 Intersections: The design equation, Richard Plunz; The question of environmental justice, Julie Sze; Five health concerns, Bettina Menne. Part 2 Beyond Mitigation: Cities and governance, Harriett Bulkeley; Taking action, Cynthia Rosenzweig; The adaptation imperative, Richenda Connell. Part 3 The Urban Psyche: Urban competitiveness, Matteo Caroli; What if … New York, David Burney; Toponymical Rome, Lorenzo Bellicini. Part 4 Communication Challenges: Communicating the safe city, Antonio Cianciullo; Real people, urban places, Matthew C. Nisbet; Governance and consensus building, Marianella Sclavi. Part 5 Post-Warming: The Mad Max phase, Lieven De Cauter; The sociology of disaster, Bruna De Marchi; The Antarctica project, Jorge Orta. Part 6 The Resistance Factor: A vicious circle, Cinzia Abbate; Uncertainties, Alessandro Lanza; Out of alternative explanations, Antonio Navarra; Bibliography; Index.