Climate Change and Urban Transformations: Towards a “Climatisation” of the City?

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 15:15
Oral Presentation
Emiliano SCANU, Sociology Departement, Laval University, Canada, Centre Urbanisation Culture Société, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada
The quantitative and qualitative growth of urban climate actions represents probably one of the most concrete and promising efforts in the global fight against climate change. What is interesting about this phenomenon is not only its contribution to a resilient and low-carbon society, but also its reflexive impacts on the city itself. In fact, the climate issue is increasingly being institutionalized within urban planning and governance, and it is consequently transforming urban spaces and societies. In other words, the climate is changing, the city too. Starting from these considerations, this paper offers theoretical and empirical insights in order to understand the transformations taking place in cities and metropolises engaged in the fight against climate change. The results are based on field research in Canada and Italy, as well as on the extensive literature on cities and climate change. First, the paper situates urban climate action in a framework which combines a constructivist perspective on ecological issues with urban studies interested in governance and planning. Second, it develops a typology to grasp the nature and scope of current urban climate actions. Finally, the paper argues that a “climatisation” of the city is underway, and sketches the contours of the transformations and the implications it involves. Besides wanting to improve sociological understanding of urban climate action, this paper wishes to shed some light on how and why contemporary societies are being reconfigured in a context of global environmental change.