New frontiers of climate governance: imagining the modern timber city

Image source: Sumimoto Forestry

On the 17th of November the Cemus research Forum had the pleasure of welcoming Bregje van Veelen. She gave a talk about the emergent imaginary of the ‘plyscraper, which is available below:

Bregje summarizes the talk as follows:

Climate governance must be a project of not only regulatory undertaking, but also of deep-rooted societal and spatial (re)imagination. But how do we re-imagine our world, who is involved, and what is left out? In this presentation, I explore these questions in relation to a still underexplored front of climate action: proposals for a revolution in low-carbon materials, that seek to establish a 21st century bio–economy. Specifically, I will do this through the emergent imaginary of the ‘plyscraper’, which put timber skyscrapers at the heart of the vision for low-carbon living of the future. While the use of wood in construction has long been practiced (as evidenced by the red timber houses that dot the Swedish country side), what makes the new timber imaginary different is that it positions itself as distinctly urban and modern. But how ‘green’ is it? How does the imaginary establish timber’s green qualities and with what effect? By exploring the jostling involved in bringing this imaginary into being, I consider a number of yet unresolved issues around establishing the green/low-carbon qualities of this new frontier of climate action, and the broader implications for climate governance

Helena Fornstedt, Coordinator CEMUS research Forum

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