Cities & Climate: Rethink, Revolutionize, Survive

This event is part of the RECET History and Social Sciences Festival "Green Transformations"

Venue: Campus of the University of Vienna („Altes AKH“), festival tent in Hof 1

Position of the tent:

Roundtable discussion with Nina Abrahamczik (City of Vienna), Janet Sanz (Barcelona en Comú), Yvonne Franz (Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna), Michał Czepkiewicz (University of Poznań), moderated by Agata Zysiak (RECET)

Over 70% of Europeans live in cities. In cities, where population density is intertwined with increasing consumption of shrinking resources. In cities, where temperatures rise faster because of concrete and lacking green spaces and where heavy rainfall becomes catastrophic because of sealed surfaces, climate disasters have the biggest impact. Yet cities can also be places to think of efficient answers to the climate crisis that can be implemented on a local level. In this search for solutions, community can be thought anew. It is in cities that our future can be decided. This panel joins scholars with practitioners of urban planning and climate transformation to discuss local perspectives and solutions for a global problem.

Nina Abrahamczik studied Political Science at the University of Vienna. Since 2015, she has been a member of the Viennese City Council and the Provincial Parliament. She is Chair of the Committee for Climate, Environment, Democracy and Personnel.

Janet Sanz lives in the Poble-sec neighborhood of Barcelona and has a degree in Law and Political Sciences and in Administration from Universidad Pompeu Fabra. She is currently a councilor in Barcelona for the Barcelona en Comú municipal group and Vice President of Climate Action and Strategic Planning for the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. In the last 8 years she has worked as Deputy Mayor of Ecology, Urbanism, Infrastructure and Mobility of Barcelona City Council, from where she has promoted the green and sustainable transformation of the city with projects such as Superblock Barcelona, Let’s protect the Schools, the Declaration of climate emergency, the transformation of Avenida Meridiana and Via Laietana and the implementation of the Diagonal tramway, the Low Emissions Zone and the Climate Plan, among others. She has also promoted action against real estate speculation by closing down illegal tourist apartments and regulating all tourist accommodation in the city (PEUAT). Most of her associative activity has been dedicated to the ecological, feminist and youth movements. She is a member of Ecologistas en Acción, SOS Racismo and the CCOO union.

Yvonne Franz is a Postdoc Researcher & Lecturer at the University of Vienna. She is the Scientific Director of the Postgraduate Programme “Cooperative Urban and Regional Development” at the Postgraduate Center at University of Vienna. As an urban geographer, she provides theoretical and empirical expertise on urban revitalisation, gentrification, super-diversity and social innovation by using a comparative approach. Currently, she is working on participation and enhancing governance from a comparative perspective in Vienna, Berlin, Bologna and Ljubljana in the INTERREG Central Europe project “GEtCoheSive”.

Michał Czepkiewicz is a geographer working at the University of Warsaw (EUROREG) and the Faculty of Sociology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He deals with the relationships between urban planning, mobility, greenhouse gas emissions, and the well-being of urban residents. His work combines qualitative and quantitative methods from geography, geoinformation and sociology. He leads a research project on the mobility of inhabitants of Polish cities and its impacts on climate change. He collaborates with the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, where he studies greenhouse gas emissions related to the lifestyles of urban residents. He cooperates with local governments in Poland in spatial policy, sustainable mobility and social participation.

Agata Zysiak PhD, is a researcher at RECET and adjunct at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Łódź in Poland. Her research interests include historical sociology and urban studies. She is also a local activist in the Topografie Association in Lodz, an NGO popularizing local history, gathering oral histories, and running the social archive