Browsing by Author "Swilling, Mark"
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- ItemAfrica's game changers and the catalysts of social and system innovation(Resilience Alliance, 2016) Swilling, MarkIt is widely recognized that many African economies are being transformed by rapid economic growth driven largely by rising demand for the abundant natural resources scattered across the African continent. I critically review the mainstream game-changing dynamics driving this process, with special reference to a set of influential policy-oriented documents. This is followed by an analysis of less-recognized game-changing dynamics that have, in turn, been affected by the mainstream game-changing dynamics. These less-recognized game-changing dynamics include energy infrastructure challenges in a context of climate change, securing access to water, access to arable soils, slum urbanism, and food security responses. These mainstream and less-recognized game-changing dynamics provide the context for analyzing a range of African actor networks engaged in social and system innovations. I use a transdisciplinary framework to discuss these actor networks and how they construct their understanding of the game changers affecting their programs and actions. Based on a case study of the iShack initiative in Stellenbosch, South Africa, I conclude that social and system innovations will need to be driven by transformation knowledge co-produced by researchers and social actors who can actively link game-changing dynamics that operate at multiple scales with local-level innovations with potential societal impacts.
- ItemDecoupling : natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth(United Nations Environment Programme, 2011-05) Fischer-Kowalski, Marina; Swilling, Mark; Von Weizsacker, Ernst Ulrich; Ren, Yong; Moriguchi, Yuichi; Crane, Wendy; Krausmann, Fridolin Krausmann; Eisenmenger, Nina; Giljum, Stefan; Hennicke, Peter; Kemp, Rene; Romero Lankao, Paty; Siriban Manalang, Anna Bella; Sewerin, SebastianBy 2050, humanity could devour an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year – three times its current appetite – unless the economic growth rate is “decoupled” from the rate of natural resource consumption. Developed countries citizens consume an average of 16 tons of those four key resources per capita (ranging up to 40 or more tons per person in some developed countries). By comparison, the average person in India today consumes four tons per year. With the growth of both population and prosperity, especially in developing countries, the prospect of much higher resource consumption levels is “far beyond what is likely sustainable” if realized at all given finite world resources, warns this report by UNEP’s International Resource Panel. Already the world is running out of cheap and high quality sources of some essential materials such as oil, copper and gold, the supplies of which, in turn, require ever-rising volumes of fossil fuels and freshwater to produce. Improving the rate of resource productivity (“doing more with less”) faster than the economic growth rate is the notion behind “decoupling,” the panel says. That goal, however, demands an urgent rethink of the links between resource use and economic prosperity, buttressed by a massive investment in technological, financial and social innovation, to at least freeze per capita consumption in wealthy countries and help developing nations follow a more sustainable path. - Source: http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/Publications/Decoupling/tabid/56048/Default.aspx
- ItemDesigning for informal contexts : a case study of Enkanini sanitation intervention(Chinese Institute of Design, 2016) Ambole, Lorraine Amollo; Swilling, Mark; M’Rithaa, Mugendi K.ENGLISH SUMMARY : Increasing social agency in the design profession corresponds to the call for greater participation of science in solving complex social problems. We analyse the complex problem of informal urban sanitation in the Enkanini informal settlement in South Africa to articulate the facilitatory role of design in the collaborative effort to improve sanitation in the settlement. More specifically, an in-depth understanding of the multi-stakeholder collaboration in the case offers solutions for designing in complex social contexts. In the discussion, we expound on the methodological concerns of designing in an informal settlement context by analysing the role of the design ethnographer and articulating core design competencies. This leads to the conceptualisation of infrastructuring as an open-ended model for design facilitation in informal contexts, in which challenges and inconsistencies have to be dealt with. We also contrast the open-ended, multidisciplinary approach of infrastructuring with the more design-centred participatory approaches that are better suited to literate participants. In the Enkanini case, we had to adopt a narrative-style participatory approach to capture the rich tacit knowledge of participants. The paper thus answers to the need for both technological and social innovation while contributing to the methodological understanding of design as a collaborative, long-term process.
- ItemDeterminants of quality of shared sanitation facilities in informal settlements : case study of Kisumu, Kenya(BioMed Central, 2017) Simiyu, Sheillah; Swilling, Mark; Cairncross, Sandy; Rheingans, RichardENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Shared facilities are not recognised as improved sanitation due to challenges of maintenance as they easily can be avenues for the spread of diseases. Thus there is need to evaluate the quality of shared facilities, especially in informal settlements, where they are commonly used. A shared facility can be equated to a common good whose management depends on the users. If users do not work collectively towards keeping the facility clean, it is likely that the quality may depreciate due to lack of maintenance. This study examined the quality of shared sanitation facilities and used the common pool resource (CPR) management principles to examine the determinants of shared sanitation quality in the informal settlements of Kisumu, Kenya. Methods: Using a multiple case study design, the study employed both quantitative and qualitative methods. In both phases, users of shared sanitation facilities were interviewed, while shared sanitation facilities were inspected. Shared sanitation quality was a score which was the dependent variable in a regression analysis. Interviews during the qualitative stage were aimed at understanding management practices of shared sanitation users. Qualitative data was analysed thematically by following the CPR principles. Results: Shared facilities, most of which were dirty, were shared by an average of eight households, and their quality decreased with an increase in the number of households sharing. The effect of numbers on quality is explained by behaviour reflected in the CPR principles, as it was easier to define boundaries of shared facilities when there were fewer users who cooperated towards improving their shared sanitation facility. Other factors, such as defined management systems, cooperation, collective decision making, and social norms, also played a role in influencing the behaviour of users towards keeping shared facilities clean and functional. Conclusion: Apart from hardware factors, quality of shared sanitation is largely due to group behaviour of users. The CPR principles form a crucial lens through which the dynamics of shared sanitation facilities in informal settlements can be understood. Development and policy efforts should incorporate group behaviour as they determine the quality of shared sanitation facilities.
- ItemEstimating the cost and payment for sanitation in the informal settlements of Kisumu, Kenya : a cross sectional study(MDPI, 2017) Simiyu, Sheillah; Swilling, Mark; Rheingans, Richard; Cairncross, SandyLack of sanitation facilities is a common occurrence in informal settlements that are common in most developing countries. One challenge with sanitation provision in these settlements is the cost and financing of sanitation. This study aimed at estimating the cost of sanitation, and investigating the social and economic dynamics within Kisumu’s informal settlements that hinder provision and uptake of sanitation facilities. Primary data was collected from residents of the settlements, and using logistic and hedonic regression analysis, we identify characteristics of residents with sanitation facilities, and estimate the cost of sanitation as revealed in rental prices. Our study finds that sanitation constitutes approximately 54% of the rent paid in the settlements; and dynamics such as landlords and tenants preferences, and sharing of sanitation facilities influence provision and payment for sanitation. This study contributes to general development by estimating the cost of sanitation, and further identifies barriers and opportunities for improvement including the interplay between landlords and tenants. Provision of sanitation in informal settlements is intertwined in social and economic dynamics, and development approaches should target both landlords and tenants, while also engaging various stakeholders to work together to identify affordable and appropriate sanitation technologies.
- ItemGovernance of urban transitions : towards sustainable resource efficient urban infrastructures(IOP Publishing, 2017) Swilling, Mark; Hajer, MaartenThe transition to sustainable resource efficient cities calls for new governance arrangements. The awareness that the doubling of the global urban population will result in unsustainable levels of demand for natural resources requires changes in the existing socio-technical systems. Domestic material consumption could go up from 40 billion tons in 2010, to 89 billion tons by 2050. While there are a number of socio-technical alternatives that could result in significant improvements in the resource efficiency of urban systems in developed and developing countries (specifically bus-rapid transit, district energy systems and green buildings), we need to rethink the urban governance arrangements to get to this alternative pathway. We note modes of urban governance have changed over the past century as economic and urban development paradigms have shifted at the national and global levels. This time round we identify cities as leading actors in the transition to more sustainable modes of production and consumption as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. This has resulted in a surge of urban experimentation across all world regions, both North and South. Building on this empirically observable trend we suggest this can also be seen as a building block of a new urban governance paradigm. An 'entrepreneurial urban governance' is proposed that envisages an active and goal-setting role for the state, but in ways that allows broader coalitions of urban 'agents of change' to emerge. This entrepreneurial urban governance fosters and promotes experimentation rather than suppressing the myriad of such initiatives across the globe, and connects to global city networks for systemic learning between cities. Experimentation needs to result in a contextually appropriate balance between economic, social, technological and sustainable development.
- ItemThe guiding logics and principles for designing emergent transdisciplinary research processes : learning experiences and reflections from a transdisciplinary urban case study in Enkanini informal settlement, South Africa(Springer Verlag, 2018) Van Breda, John; Swilling, MarkTransdisciplinarity is not a new science per se, but a new methodology for doing science with society. A particular challenge in doing science with society is the engagement with non-academic actors to enable joint problem formulation, analysis and transformation. How this is achieved differs between contexts. The premise of this paper is that transdisciplinary research (TDR) methodologies designed for developed world contexts cannot merely be replicated and transferred to developing world contexts. Thus a new approach is needed for conducting TDR in contexts characterised by high levels of complexity, conflict and social fluidity. To that end, this paper introduces a new approach to TDR titled emergent transdisciplinary design research (ETDR). A core element of this approach is that the research process is designed as it unfolds, that is, it transforms as it emerges from and within the fluid context. The ETDR outlined in this paper emerged through a case study in the informal settlement (slum) of Enkanini in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This case study demonstrates the context from and within which the ETDR approach and identifies a set of guiding logics that can be used to guide ETDR approaches in other contexts. The study demonstrates that the new logics and guiding principles were not simply derived from the TDR literature, but rather emerged from constant interacting dynamics between theory and practice. Learning how to co-design the research process through co-producing transformative knowledge and then implementing strategic interventions to bring about incremental social change is key to theory development in ways that are informed by local contextual dynamics. There are, however, risks when undertaking such TDR processes such as under-valuing disciplinary knowledge, transferring risks onto a society, and suppressing ‘truth-to-power’.
- ItemMulti-scale governance of sustainable natural resource use—challenges and opportunities for monitoring and institutional development at the national and global level(MDPI, 2016) Bringezu, Stefan; Potocnik, Janez; Schandl, Heinz; Lu, Yonglong; Ramaswami, Anu; Swilling, Mark; Suh, SangwonIn a globalized economy, the use of natural resources is determined by the demand of modern production and consumption systems, and by infrastructure development. Sustainable natural resource use will require good governance and management based on sound scientific information, data and indicators. There is a rich literature on natural resource management, yet the national and global scale and macro-economic policy making has been underrepresented. We provide an overview of the scholarly literature on multi-scale governance of natural resources, focusing on the information required by relevant actors from local to global scale. Global natural resource use is largely determined by national, regional, and local policies. We observe that in recent decades, the development of public policies of natural resource use has been fostered by an “inspiration cycle” between the research, policy and statistics community, fostering social learning. Effective natural resource policies require adequate monitoring tools, in particular indicators for the use of materials, energy, land, and water as well as waste and GHG emissions of national economies. We summarize the state-of-the-art of the application of accounting methods and data sources for national material flow accounts and indicators, including territorial and product-life-cycle based approaches. We show how accounts on natural resource use can inform the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and argue that information on natural resource use, and in particular footprint indicators, will be indispensable for a consistent implementation of the SDGs. We recognize that improving the knowledge base for global natural resource use will require further institutional development including at national and international levels, for which we outline options
- ItemRethinking the science–policy interface in South Africa : experiments in knowledge co-production(Academy of Science of South Africa, 2014) Swilling, MarkThis article contributes to the increasingly significant discussion about the science–policy interface. The challenge therein is that such a discussion tends to revolve around two seemingly mutually exclusive approaches: the reflexive approach inspired by Maarten Hajer’s work that deconstructs the discourses of participatory policymaking, and the more normative transdisciplinary approaches that legitimise researchers as active change agents. With reference to a discussion of three South African case studies characterised by practical involvement of researchers in change processes, it is concluded that both approaches have merit and can improve the other: the reflexive approach could benefit from a better understanding of appropriate research methods for facilitating authentic engagement and participation, and the transdisciplinary approach could benefit from some reflexive caution about the change agent roles of researchers. The dynamics of the case studies and conclusions are significant in light of the fact that the South African research community is being influenced by re-alignments in the global scientific research community, resulting in an increasing emphasis on the need to do transdisciplinary research. For example, the adoption by some of the most significant global scientific associations in the natural and social sciences of the Future Earth platform at the Rio+20 conference in 2012 reflects most clearly this re-alignment. Researchers would be well advised to critically engage this agenda rather than presume it means little more than a rewording of traditional interdisciplinary approaches.
- ItemSo what is so unsustainable about the global economy?(Health and Medical Publications Group (HMPG), 2012-03) Swilling, MarkIn 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development published Our Common Future. This report attempted to reconcile the ecological ‘limits to growth’, articulated by the northern green movement since the early 1970s, with the need for growth to eliminate poverty, as articulated by developing countries in the south, many of whom had recently broken free from colonial control. The most frequently quoted definition of sustainable development originated in this report: ‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’