Urbanisation is fast…so are we!
‘Dialogues of Sustainable Urbanization: Social Science Research and Transitions to Urban Contexts’ is a book of blogs, a collection of works from over 80 researchers across the world. All of them have something important to say about something important to say about the way in which our world is changing and how we can strive towards a more sustainable future.
The book emerged from an International Social Science Council (ISSC) meeting in November 2014 of early career researchers, who gathered in Taiwan to discuss transitions to urban contexts from a social science perspective. The seminar involved weeklong discussions about sustainable urbanisation and the contribution of social science research to sustainable urban futures. Yet a week was not long enough to hear the diverse perspectives within the room, let alone incorporate the plethora of viewpoints beyond it. The transitions to urban contexts taking place, and those that are anticipated within our futures, were characterised in terms of their plurality, diversity, fluidity, and change. This book embraces such uncertainty by welcoming dialogues, rather than a monologue, on the urbanisation processes taking place across the world and what to do about the places we build, and the impacts of human activity on the environment, health and climate.
I feel extremely privileged to work with all those who have contributed their ideas and research findings to this book. Being part of the International Social Science Council as a World Social Science Fellow created this invaluable opportunity to bring this diverse collection of work together and share it widely. In this project, we have embraced an emerging trend for alternative publishing formats to enable as many voices as possible to be heard, and to engage and connect with those interested in urban issues, ideas, and developments across the world. We made this book happen in a short space of time. The book of blogs was curated and edited in seven months, which really captures our initial aim to keep up with urbanization, which is fast and so are we. I really hope to see more projects like this, which aim to go against the grain of traditional publishing formats and change the ways in which researchers disseminate knowledge and carry out their work. Urban social researchers need a way to share their research with others and the book of blogs aims to facilitate new dialogues and collaborations in the century of the city.
The strength of this book and the interest in this area is highlighted by the overwhelming response received in relation to the call for contributors. This book includes the work of over 80 researchers from all over the world. It has led to an eclectic mix of articles that cover aspects of sustainable urbanisation globally and in relation to a huge variety of topics. There is something for everyone in this book. The book is organised into the following sections: definitions of sustainability, urban governance, engaged citizens, urban divides, movement and mobilities, China, making places, environment, low carbon futures, alternative economies, and digital futures. There is something for everyone in this book.
I would like to thank Dr Anna Mary Cooper (University of Salford, UK), who co-edited the book of blogs with me. Without her, this book would not have been possible. I would also like to thank all those that contributed to the book, the International Social Science Council for their continued support, the foreword writers, and Kandy Woodfield, editor of the New Social Media, New Social Science book of blogs for her guidance and advice.
The book is open access and available free to download in pdf format and will also be available in print at a cost.
Please help spread the word about this collection of works from across the world. Join the conversation here #ISSCBookofBlogs – let’s keep the dialogues going.