Idil Gaziulusoy and Chris Ryan
Cities have become the locus of sociotechnical and socioecological transition processes aimed at achieving sustainability. Sustainability transitions are defined by structural changes unfolding across different phases with varying pace and a large number of diverse actor networks engaging over the long term. With these characteristics, transition projects are archetypal examples of wicked problems both during their conception and execution. The shift in transitions theory and practice from a sectoral focus to a focus on cities increased the systemic complexity that needs to be considered in transition projects with methodological implications. This paper reports and reflects on the design of a visioning process used in the front end of the Visions and Pathways 2040 project; a project that aimed at developing visions, scenarios and pathways for transitioning to low-carbon and resilient futures in Australian cities. Visions and Pathways 2040 adopted complex adaptive systems view of cities, avoiding considering city support systems in isolation from each other or from the built, social and natural environments they are embedded in. The visioning process engaged professionals, researchers and designers to build systemic visions in five iterative rounds in a half-day workshop. We discuss what we have achieved.
Keywords: urban transitions, systemic design, design for sustainability, Australia