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Social Adapting & Sustainability

By alisa - Posted on 11 August 2011

Abstract from paper: There is considerable discussion about the need for humankind to adapt to the realities of climate change and, as a result, the necessary transition from unsustainable to sustainable development. Yet, how to accomplish this is unclear. What does it mean to adapt? What is required for adaptation? And what can be done to assist human systems (e.g. households, communities, regions, etc.) in our process of adaptation? In 2009, a new initiative was launched in the City of Portland to catalyze the city’s transition process to sustainable development. Called the EcoDistricts Initiative, it is based on a premise that a city district is the right scale at which households and businesses can be empowered to achieve meaningful change. The same year, five districts in the City of Portland were designated as ecodistrict pilots in order to test the approach. This study is the first in a new research initiative that aims to identify, document, and understand the actual conditions, drivers, and processes that influence a district’s ability to adapt. Some studies in this research initiative will be district-specific, while other studies will be comparative and will search for potential universalities among the districts. In order to introduce both approaches, this first study includes an element of each.