Infrastructure networks and Climate Public Seminar

26th November, 2020

Professor Vanesa Castán Broto of the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield, delivered a public seminar on ‘Infrastructure networks and Climate’ as part of The Human Geography and Environmental Social Science Seminar Series at the University of Kent.  

Hosted by Dr Anika Haque, Lecturer in Human Geography, Kent, Vanesa explained that despite numerous calls for action, scientific reports and increasing public support, the international climate regime has struggled to deliver a coordinated global response to climate change, one sufficient to address the challenge of keeping average temperature changes within 1.5 degrees Celsius. The 2015 Paris Agreement consolidated the trend towards voluntarism as a trend in international climate policy. We see increasing evidence that addressing climate change depends on delivering place-based action, addressing climate-change concerns alongside broader sustainable development co-benefits.

Infrastructure systems open up multiple opportunities to address climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, what is less evident in climate change responses is the realisation that reconfiguring infrastructure networks is perhaps the most effective way to address climate change. Off-grid systems provide adaptable and resilience services in areas previously excluded from centralised networks. Off-grid systems are already a reality of life in most cities, where formal and informal infrastructure systems coexist. A post-networked infrastructure landscape (Coutard and Rutherford, 2016) should be part of any climate change response in urban areas.