Unlocking transformative capacity in developing cities for sustainable development

Event Name Unlocking transformative capacity in developing cities for sustainable development
Start Date 19 Jun 2019 1:00 pm
End Date 19 Jun 2019 2:00 pm
Duration 1 hour

Wikke Novalia, Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Social Sciences, Monash University.

The trend in developing cities is for mainstream infrastructure investment to be driven by an aspiration to emulate large-scale and resource-intensive solutions found in advanced western societies. Sustainability science, however, cautions us against overreliance on these conventional solutions. Despite their proven benefits for fulfilling basic societal needs, they’re not well-equipped to address increased uncertainty and vulnerability associated with global climate change and population pressures . In this talk, Wikke will explore how urban actors can steer and direct contemporary infrastructure investment, with examples from two Indonesian cities. Practice and institutional theories are employed to diagnose actors’ capacity to deliberately and creatively shape ongoing governance contexts by constructing narratives, establishing norms, and mobilising resources. The transformative capacity behind Surabaya’s successful green city initiatives is contrasted with constrained capacity behind Jakarta’s reproduction of conventional flood defence solutions. The insight drawn advances a key debate in sustainability transitions research by clarifying the ways in which micro-level transformation dynamics might unfold in non-western urban contexts.

About Doctor Novalia

Wikke Novalia is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University, Australia. She is a social scientist specialised in urban governance with past professional engineering and research experience in the water industry across Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, the Netherlands and Australia. Her current research investigates the interplay of technology and society in the context of improving the quality of city governance and urban infrastructure planning for realising sustainable development outcomes. She focuses on understanding the role of transformative action, urban politics, institutional innovation and hybrid governance, particularly in developing cities. More recently she has also put her interdisciplinary strength to use as a facilitator and researcher in collaborative partnerships between Indonesia and Australia in two urban water research programs.