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SONYA attended the VUB-ULB research day on « Urban and Sustainable Transitions »

Published on September 21, 2022 Updated on October 3, 2022

SONYA (as a member of iiTSE) was one of the organisers of the research day that took place on 16/09/2022. Here we share with you a view on the programme and some details of the event.

Friday 16th of September, SONYA researchers participated in the joint VUB-ULB research day on “urban & sustainable transitions”. The research day was organised by the networks for urban studies and sustainable transitions research from the two universities: Brussels Centre for Urban Studies (BCUS), the Interfacultary Institute for the social and ecological transformations (iiTSE), the interdisciplinary network of Brussels studies of the ULB (EBxl), and the Brussels Research Open Lab (BROL).

Three ‘fishbowls’ sessions were held to discuss issues of :

  • Materiality: Shaping a sustainable city, what do urban transitions look like?  
  • Methods: Sustainable City as a subject, do our role and methods change together with the city?
  • Learning: Knowledge for a sustainable city, who actually learns and benefits?
The discussion of the day revealed, on the one hand, how interconnected is our own research independently of the discipline we sit in, on the other hand, how blurred are the lines between those questions. SONYA researchers were actively involved in the discussion.

Bonno Pel remarked that materiality is not just an issue of ‘bricks’ (for reuse within the same circular construction site) and referred to the ordinary materiality of our research practices (e.g., in the experimental seating arrangement in the fishbowl session).

Tom Bauler reframed the issue on learning in sustainability transitions as being a concern in the long run that involves transforming the disciplinary curriculums for students but also to think about what will happen with the knowledge (co-)produced by young researchers, many of whom will presumably not pursue an academic career.

During lunch, several thematic sessions were held on various subjects such as funding perspective, questions on the future Usquare site, interdisciplinary and methodological issues. SONYA researchers (Ela Callorda Fossati and Solène Sureau) organised a networking discussion on Exnovation: “future research agenda and collaborations”. Research on exnovation that frontally looks at ways of addressing lock-ins in unsustainable sociotechnical systems has encountered echoes from local researchers in fields such as urban mobility (e.g., unmaking car dependence or van dependency) or urban agriculture (e.g., the end of pesticides).

Posters were presented as well, offering a nice opportunity especially for PhD researchers to present their reflexion and progress.

Finally, the day was concluded with a reminder that in June 2023 the Brussel Urban Summit will be held in The Mont des Arts. This event will gather the Metropolis World Congress, the Eurocities Annual Congress and the OECD Champion Mayors and represents a huge opportunity for the urban and sustainability transitions research. 

Link : https://urbanstudies.brussels/news-events/vub-ulb-research-day-day-exchange-and-encounter

on the September 21, 2022