As the trend of urban climate experimentation continues, many accounts now seek to identify how it can be harnessed towards responses of sufficient scale and magnitude for the crises at hand. The imperative is to move beyond experimentation. Yet some authors now suggest that this may not be so straightforward for, they argue, we increasingly inhabit a condition of permanent experimentation. Taking its cue from this premise, this article explores where the condition of experimentation may have emerged from. I trace these roots to the limit points now encountered within ecologically modernist governance – the shifting dynamics of governing authority, the relation between knowledge and policy, how to address indeterminacy, and what progress or improvement looks like in the condition of a climate-changed socio-natural world. Viewed in this light, experimentation, I want to suggest, represents a significant and potentially paradigm-shifting break with established norms and practices concerning the nature of the climate problem. Fundamentally, this line of thought means that it may neither be possible nor even desirable to abandon experimentation and to return to more centralized, controlled, and certain responses for it is from within the difficulties of governing a climate-changing world through this paradigm that experimentation has arisen in the first place. The vital task is instead to understand the politics and possibilities of experimentation for progressive and just urban sustainability.
Bulkeley, H. (2023). The condition of urban climate experimentation. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 19(1), Article 2188726. https://doi.org/10.1080/15487733.2023.2188726