Full Program »
Social Input for Environmental Quality Assessment: Insights of the tool design process supporting the quadruple helix´ integration in the Littoral Besòs.
The assessment of urban environmental quality could consider the social input, to frame the existing challenges within the specificities of its contextual meaning. Theoretically, the Quadruple Helix as a conceptual model aim for a collaborative frame for urban sustainability. Under the circular economy approach, supporting environmental quality assessments, for technical innovation development, call for a comprehensive understanding on the multifaceted social networks and the links emerging in the inter-relational model of a city as a socio-technical system. The development of this tool is a mean to analyse the myriad complexity of open interchange of perceptions and information; and could be related to the public awareness on the city performance and conflictual matters, as environmental degradation. Methodologically, through a case study in Barcelona Metropolitan Area, the exploration started on the quantitative and qualitative examination of the Littoral Besòs´ environmental quality. Evident conflictual issues, related to pollution and social discomfort have emerged, where the known causes were related to the location of industrial sites in the past and the active presence of urban metabolism infrastructure. The next step has been the definition of strategic guidelines to link environmental quality topics of the territory, where three drivers have been taken into account: Innovation, Urban Flows and Climate Change. Since the issues are being regarded by different actors (Academia – Industry – Government and Civic society), a qualitative research has been appoint, to make visible the multiple understandings through causal processes (Cause - Effect). As a work in progress, a long-term goal is the facilitation of the urban environmental´ systemic analysis for problem-solving and decision making; to enable the integration of the socio-technical systems. In terms of advances on studying the environmental quality of the territory, the outcome is a schematic version of a Socio-technical system in a Mediterranean urbanized environment. The contribution of this research is to regard within a Smart Specialization Strategy, the social and meaningful context of the Triple Helix of Innovation: a highly vulnerable territory. As a step towards overcoming one main critic of Smart Cities initiatives; the generic user and focusing on efficiency and optimization; so that urbanization challenges and pressures on resources could be tackled through technological development. In other words, this tool supports the environmental awareness on the quantitative performance, opening an exchange among the actors. Also, around the multiple understandings of the environmental issues´ significance in the territory, a tailor-made dialogue could facilitate the multi-stakeholder integration. Finally, this initial advance stimulate an articulated effort to understand the structural challenges of a strategic territory for urban metabolism at a Metropolitan scale. This tool could support the awareness on the quantitative environmental performance, and a tailor-made dialogue on its social significance. Further explorations on environmental quality and socio-technical innovations, could continue detecting its meanings and concerns through an exchange among the actors for monitoring, as an opportunity for linking human activities´ deployment with a collective learning processes about low-carbon impacts, while promoting a multi-stakeholder integration and long-term partnerships.