(R)urban Synergy vs. Climate Change: The Impact of ICT Networks on the Process of Adaptation and Mitigation

(R)urban Synergy vs. Climate Change: The Impact of ICT Networks on the Process of Adaptation and Mitigation

Aleksandra Stupar (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia), Vladimir Mihajlov (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia), and Ivan Simić (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9932-6.ch013
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The chapter provides an insight into the relationship between synergic (r)urban systems, information networks and climate change, discussing the emerging ideas, and concepts related to the increasing use of information networks in the process of climate adaptation and mitigation. Emphasizing the strategic role of both digital and material information flows, supported by ICT tools, the chapter focuses on two main domains of data exchange and knowledge transfer: the public communication of climate change and the connectivity and interaction within (r)urban hybrid systems. Underlining the issues of effectiveness, accessibility, and low-carbon outcomes of synergic (r)urban reactions to climate shift, recent environmental and technological trends are considered in accordance with the preferred spatio-functional flexibility of emerging (r)urban hybrid settlements. The chapter also identifies and analyses three areas of ICT applicability, targeting the role of information networks in the anticipated climate-friendly development: human behavior, ecological awareness, and general efficiency.
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The beginning of the 21st century has increased the global awareness of climate change, emphasizing a necessity of reducing GHG emissions (IPCC, 2007c, 2013). Adaptation to climate change, as the ability of environment to support change without creating hazardous situations (Giddens, 2009), has become an important ideological issue between the neoliberal and green perception of future development. The consequences of global warming have triggered a hyper-production of studies, discussions and theories, focused on a growing number of problems and challenges related to nature, mechanisms, causes and effects of this process. Although the emphasis has mostly been on mitigation, the importance of adaptation has been highlighted after the adoption of the Cancun Adaptation Framework (2010) which supports the development of national adaptation plans and strategies. The improvements, although limited, have been mostly noticed on the level of urban settlements (Stupar and Mihajlov, 2016), stimulating changes toward carbon-neutral environment, energy efficiency, green modes of living, sustainable mobility and urban systems (European Commission 2013a, 2013b).

Considering the contemporary urbo-centric comprehension of global(ized) activities, both the role and the character of rural areas have been significantly redefined. The decreasing share of agriculture in their overall economy has instigated their transformation, altering their traditional characteristics. Stressing the role of green urbanism and cohesion (via social and technical networks), the efficient relationship between urban settlements and their rural 'backup' is identified as a base for higher overall sustainability (Beatley, 2000; Pflieger and Rozenblat, 2010; Simić i Bajcetic, 2016; Wood, 2007). Simultaneously, the characteristics of (r)urban hybrid systems, such as diversity, sustainable transportation, density, land use, passive solar design, greening and compact form (Jabareen, 2006), represent important factors in achieving the necessary dynamic of urban-rural relationship.

The former dichotomy between urban and rural was based on differences in functional and physical characteristics of these two types of settlements. Rural settlements were defined as predominantly agricultural, both on the level of activities and the level of land use. The relationship between urban and rural settlements was based on a simple reciprocal exchange in which the rural counterpart was highly dependent on industrial and commercial products from cities. However, the rural settlements in Western Europe have been gradually developed and transformed, creating a complex and dynamic network of interdependencies and providing equal economic opportunities for their population. Agriculture is not their main function, since nowadays they include other activities, once inherent only to cities. On the other hand, urban and peri-urban areas are hosting an increasing number of diverse agricultural activities. Urban horticulture is particularly important within the framework of sustainable development, taking into account all the benefits it can bring to climate change adaptation, ecological stewardship, the development of green infrastructure and benefits for local community (Krasny and Tidball, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Capacity: Ability of one society or one of its section to learn, adapt, cope and progress under some specific changing conditions.

Mitigation: Wide range of actions aimed to mitigate the effects of climate change.

(R)urban Systems: Hybrid synergetic relationship between urban and rural environment.

ICT Networks: Various IT systems for networking groups and individuals through software and applications, web platforms, and services that use internet and mobile network as the primary infrastructure for information and communication flow.

Adaptation: Wide range of actions aimed to adapt natural or urban environment to inevitable effects of climate change.

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