IMAGINE Adaptation at The Nature of the Cities Festival

Ana Terra Amorim-Maia
William Lewis
May 2, 2024
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Our session “Imagining Adaptation to Climate Change through Art” explored how the intersection of science and the arts can catalyse alternative imaginaries of climate adaptation in urban environments.

On Monday, April 22nd, our team hosted an engaging online session as part of The Nature of the Cities Festival. Titled “Imagining Adaptation to Climate Change through Art,” the session explored how the intersection of science and the arts can catalyse alternative imaginaries of climate adaptation in urban environments.

During the session, our team explained how differing perspectives on adaptation can profoundly impact climate initiatives in cities. We emphasized the role of art, particularly visual art, in rendering adaptation strategies more tangible and pertinent within local contexts.

To kick off the interactive segment, we encouraged participants to sketch their cities as they currently saw them. These drawings served as a springboard for discussions on participants’ preferences and concerns regarding their urban environments.

Following this initial exercise, participants were tasked with envisioning their cities adapting to climate change. Using their original sketches as a foundation, they creatively integrated modifications to address climate-related risks. Subsequent discussions centered on how these adaptations strengthened urban resilience while also acknowledging constraints imposed by their original drawings.

In a final activity, participants were encouraged to sketch their vision of an ideal city on fresh sheets of paper. Here, amidst creative reflections, attendees shared their aspirations for cities effectively addressing climate challenges without imposed constraints.

We concluded the session reflecting on our collaborative efforts with a professional illustrator to depict 31 adaptation concepts. We shared challenges such as catering to diverse audiences, achieving a balance between simplicity and detail, and employing symbolic elements to convey key messages. We presented some of the illustrations produced showcasing adaptation strategies in cities and offering visual examples of adaptation in action.

The session provided a refreshing and innovative approach to creating alternative imaginaries of urban adaptation. We were privileged to exchange ideas with a diverse cohort of international creatives, each contributing unique perspectives to the discourse.

Thank you to everyone who participated, in particular those that kindly shared their amazing illustrations with us!

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© All rights reserved. Illustrations used in this study are the property of BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change - IMAGINE adaptation (ERC, IMAGINE adaptation, 101039429). Author Josune Urrutia.
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