David Iwaniec’s works on climate change as a collaborator within the Urban Resilience to Extreme Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN). As part of this work he engages in urban resilience scenarios and positive future envisioning. He was recently featured in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) due to his expertise in this area and development of a model for visioning workshops focused on transformative futures.
A UREx workshop focuses on the long-term, out to 2080 or beyond, a time horizon that climate models usually work on. With climate change in mind, the initiative is meant to adapt and expand on urban planning strategies, accounting for synergies, trade-offs, and conflicts.
After choosing a city, the scientists send out surveys to various local professionals working in sustainability to understand their thinking on societal resilience to climate change. Participants analyze relevant plans (some cities have 20 to 30 different ones) and examine current policies. They then create various “business as usual” scenarios out to 2080 that are based on present-day policy choices in existing plans.
The model might incorporate flooding, heat, or population change. Next they start on their main task: a “visioning workshop” focused on transformative ideas.
You can check out more about Dr. Iwaniec’s work here.