Stephan Hügel

“Persuasive”: C-SMART (Climate-SMart Adaptable citizens)

The overarching objective of C-SMArt is to develop and test a novel smart-technology-based approach to increasing citizen engagement in strategic planning for climate change adaptation in the Smart Docklands area of Dublin, Ireland. This is a particularly urgent topic given the recently- released IPCC 2018 special report, and its implications for the 1.5° C warming goal.
The main challenge in this type of project is that citizen engagement remains a so-called wicked problem – again and again, initiatives under-estimate or simply ignore the difficulties inherent in engaging communities2. In the face of an ever-increasing likelihood of extreme climate events, this abdication increases the risk of already-vulnerable publics, particularly those who have not traditionally had access to the tools and affordances provided by smart city programmes. This is particularly problematic with regard to the so-called mainstreaming of climate-change adaptation at the local level, where behaviour change is considered to have the greatest impact.
One of the dominant visions for what our urban environments will look like in the future is the Smart City. While precise definitions of the Smart City remain contested, they can concretely be said to incorporate advances in sensor and wireless networking technology, making data available both to those charged with its operation, and to its inhabitants on an unprecedented scale, in order to create cleaner, safer, more efficient cities. One variant of the Smart City paradigm is the “Resilient City”, in which technology is used to mitigate, cope with, and recover from disruptions, in particular, those caused by climate events. At the same time, these cities’ infrastructures and their inhabitants are increasingly at risk of disruption as a result of climate change. This risk is particularly acute in coastal cities, in which rising sea levels contribute to greatly-increased likelihood of flood events.