World Congress on Risk 2015
19-23 July, 2015, Singapore

Online Program

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Monday 20-07-2015

An Integrative Approach to the Framing and Design of Sustainability Projects

Room: Breakthrough   16:00–17:30

Chair(s): Timothy Downs

1    Introducing an Integrative Approach to Framing and Designing Sustainability Projects: Water, Environment and Health in Mexico and Massachusetts. Downs TJ, Clark University    (234)

Abstract: This first presentation introduces the goal of the symposium: to describe an integrative framework and explore its application to framing and designing sustainability projects using case studies in diverse settings. The framework uses five dimensions: 1) Socio-Political System and Policy Landscape; 2) Issues, Topics, Sectors and Needs Landscape; 3) Knowledge Landscape; 4) Social and Technical Capacities Landscape; and 5) Information-based Networks of Sustainability Innovation. Two diverse settings - Mexico City and Suburban Massachusetts – are used to frame and design a fundamental set of sustainability projects that relate to water, environment and health, in which risk analysis and risk management play pivotal roles. We show that the social and technical complexity of sustainability challenges like those in Mexico and Massachusetts can be navigated and framed in a systematic way by considering the aforementioned ‘landscapes’ and dimensions, linked together by risk science, risk management, and sustainability science and policy. The emphasis of the approach is on building knowledge partnerships better able to grasp and respond to real-world scenarios that are messy and that defy traditional approaches too narrowly focused on scientific methods and technical solutions. Specifically, the Mexico case argues that a more sustainable water supply and sanitation system regionally and nationally could only be achieved through the creation of innovation networks that collectively build social and technical capacity. The Massachusetts case argues that legacy and existing pollution of aquifers used for drinking water threatens public health in ways that elude traditional surveillance and policy, but are revealed – and can be resolved - by an integrative, knowledge-partnership based sustainability approach.

2    University-Driven Stakeholder Platforms for Sustainability Innovation. Yarime M, University of Tokyo; Trencher G., Clark University    (237)

Abstract: In this session, we examine sustainability projects conducted through cross-sector platforms established by universities with diverse societal stakeholders from the aforementioned various dimensions. Cases highlighted are: the 2000 Watt Society Basel Pilot Region initiated by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich; Urban Reformation Program for the Realization of a Bright Low Carbon Society by the University of Tokyo; and the Phosphorus Recycling Promotion Council in Japan. They illustrate some of the important functions of university-driven stakeholder platforms in the context of sustainability. These include the creation of future visions based on science, setting of concrete targets, securing of participation and engagement of various stakeholders, development of new technologies and systems through socio-technical capacity building, provision of effective feedback to decision makers, incorporation into institutional design, legitimation of innovation in society and, potentially, up-scaling of experiences to trigger wider societal transformations. The cases hold valuable insights into ways forward for collaborative knowledge-creation projects, targets, and sustainability innovation within a transdisciplinary framework. However, in designing and implementing follow-up efforts and new projects in the future, challenges remain. For example, these include how to navigate differing motivations and facilitate serious engagement and fruitful collaboration among stakeholders, the types of joint initiatives and networking that contribute to identifying desirable goals and targets and developing complementary skills and capacities, and the type of factors and conditions required to promote their successful implementation.

4    The German Energy Transition: Lessons from the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS. Schweizer PJ, University of Stuttgart    (236)

Abstract: Germany is facing major challenges in the energy sector. The German government launched a new Energy Concept in 2010, which implies the restructuring of the German energy sector. By 2050, at least 80% of Germany\'s electricity is to be derived from renewable energy sources, requiring a comprehensive and accelerated extension of the electricity grid. As a result, the German energy transition will inevitably involve societal debates and controversies. Debatable issues include: questions of equity, such as how burdens (financial and otherwise) and benefits should be allocated across society; resolution of conflicts regarding values; and diverging societal preferences. The five dimensions of the proposed framework (the socio-political system and policy landscape; the knowledge landscape; the issues, topics, sectors and needs landscape; and the social and technical capacities landscape, as well as networks of innovation) will provide a new viewpoint on the complexities of the German energy transition. The presentation aims at drawing lessons from the application of this innovative analytical tool for facilitating the German energy transition.

5    Climate Change Governance in Malaysia: Insights from the Phronetics Approach. Mohamad Z; Arman E., University of Malaya    (235)

Abstract: This case study will apply the integrative framework to provide a more in-depth understanding of the evolution of climate change governance in Malaysia. Originally the study was based on phronetic research focusing on value-rationality and power. That research sought to clarify and deliberate the problems and risks that an industrializing country like Malaysia faces when dealing with the issue of climate change within a rich and sometimes conflicting landscape of dominant societal values. This landscape includes religious and ethnic perspectives influencing the macro-level distribution of power, and micro-level dominance of a technocratic approach to climate policy and left-wing politics in environmental advocacy. The integrative framework will provide a more nuanced picture of how this landscape of value rationality interplays with the four proposed landscapes in the framework (Socio-Political System and Policy Landscape; the Knowledge Landscape; the Issues, Topics, Sectors and Needs Landscape; and the Social and Technical Capacities Landscape) and its long-term impact on the overall socio-technical development of climate change policy. This improved framing will highlight the possible significance of “value rationality” as another key dimension that needs to be considered when understanding the challenges and opportunities for a sustainability transition in a developing country.

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