The need for positive thinking in times of crisis: co-producing sustainable future scenarios and nature-based solutions for cities

Nancy B. Grimm, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA Iberian Association of Limnology Meeting, Keynote (virtual)

We are in a time of accelerating global crises, and nowhere is this more evident than in cities. Because they concentrate people and infrastructure and are often found along coasts and rivers or in arid areas, cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of extreme, weather-related events. Population aggregation provides many benefits to society, including enhanced collective creativity and economies of scale, but among the detriments is rampant spread of disease, as illustrated by the current coronavirus pandemic. Facing this reality, building resilience for our cities requires diverse strategies that integrate social (S), ecological (E), and technological/built (T) components in a systems (S) approach. It also requires outside-the-box thinking and an emphasis on positive futures. I will present a conceptual framework for SETS integration and an approach for co-creating positive future visions (scenarios) developed and applied in nine North and Latin American cities. Examples from the scenario development process will highlight diverse strategies that address unique challenges across the cities. Closer examination of strategies for flooding will show common approaches across diverse cities.  And finally, emergent themes, goals, and strategies will be examined in the context of the pandemic, asking how social, ecological, and technological systems respond and fare under this very different type of threat.