The city as laboratory

The city as laboratory

Amanda Yates, 20 Sep 2022 | AUT News

In the aftermath of a series of earthquakes that devastated Ōtautahi Christchurch 12 years ago, impromptu and transitional organisations kickstarted the city’s recovery.

On the many vacant sites in the demolished city, they supported pop-up shops, installations and events to keep city life and urban wellbeing going during the slow post-quake rebuild.

Such transitional urban wellbeing efforts are just as relevant elsewhere as cities experience the impacts of climate chaos and wider ecological decline, and are subject to shocks, both acute and chronic.

Our research gathered key learnings on urban transition led by grassroots organisations.

Cities are under increasing pressure to shift to circular, zero-carbon and ecological living systems to support social, cultural and ecological wellbeing.

Researchers studying urban system change have identified key areas of action for holistic wellbeing. They emphasise the need for swift transitions in urban energy, economic and ecological infrastructures and transport and building systems to foster community and ecological wellbeing – all of which require people to collaborate, experiment and learn.