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Type: Thesis
Title: Green Urbanism in Contemporary Cities: A Socio-technical Transition Analysis
Author: Larbi, Martin
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Architecture and Built Environment
Abstract: Green Urbanism evokes a wide range of ideas, images, and perceptions about how cities should be planned, developed, and/or governed to create a balance between human activities and the natural environment. In recent decades, Green Urbanism has attracted considerable research interest; however, these studies are mostly focused on defining a set of criteria for its application to cities based on the experiences of Western countries. Thus, there is a lack of adequate understanding of how Green Urbanism applies to the developing world. In addition, although the whats (criteria) of Green Urbanism are extensively discussed, the hows (transition processes) have received little treatment. Therefore, this study makes two major contributions to the existing literature on Green Urbanism. Firstly, it examines how different socio-economic contexts and local dynamics influence how Green Urbanism is conceived and applied. Secondly, it assesses the drivers of and barriers to green urban transitions, and what factors in cities provide potential sources of leverage for a transition towards Green Urbanism. It will be shown that these processes are not in general linear or predictable pathways of progress, but are complex and multifactorial. The cases of Freiburg (developed country context) and Curitiba (developing country) are analysed. Lessons from this analysis are applied to Accra-Ghana (developing country) to identify potential levers for stimulating transitions towards Green Urbanism in a developing world city. The study is based on a review of literature, questionnaire surveys, key informant interviews, GIS mapping, site observations, and a review of government policies. The factors that present opportunities and/or barriers to green urban transitions are analysed through the lens of relevant transition theory, in this case the Multi-level Perspective. Findings from the study show that Green Urbanism is not only about the physical greening of cities, but also about urban sustainability. Moreover, through the theoretical lens of the MLP, it was found that contextual socio-economic factors, known as landscape pressures, are important for creating windows of opportunity for green urban transitions to unfold. However, they must be effectively articulated to generate the needed responses from social actors, and also coalesce with developments at the niche level. The study notes two potential governance models for transition, namely top down and bottom up and debates the strengths and weaknesses of both. Given that cities are different in their social, economic, political, technological, and physical characteristics etc., the study recommends that Green Urbanism needs to be responsive to the specific requirements of its application domain.
Advisor: Kellett, Jon
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Architecture & Built Environment, 2019
Keywords: Urban transitions
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