Ahead of that, we’ve put some questions to its co-director Joe Ravetz…
1) Name changes and rebrandings are usually a sign that something has gone wrong… what went wrong with the centre for urban and regional ecology?
The concept of urban & regional ecology (as in “CURE1”) will continue as a fascinating and essential line of enquiry, for anyone who is interested in the possibility that humankind could inhabit this one planet without wrecking it.
But these things have a kind of life cycle, not only in the ideas and research results, but in the people who bring them to life. CURE1 was originated in 1999 by John Handley, former director of the world’s first Groundwork Trust, and Joe Ravetz, author of ‘City-Region 2020: integrated planning for a sustainable environment’. John retired in 2010 (although very active on other fronts), and Joe has since developed a next generation of theory and practice as in ‘Urban 3.0 – creative synergy and shared intelligence for the one planet century’ (Earthscan, 2014)
So it was very timely that Stefan Bouzarovski arrived in time to be the incoming director of the Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy (“CURE2”) – whose agenda of resilience, vulnerability, transitions, social learning, institutional analysis etc, fits very well with the current wave of thinking both in Manchester and generally.
2) What will the new CURE do that the old CURE didn’t?
CURE2 has a specific focus on energy poverty and vulnerability in housing, which is at the moment very topical and controversial. This has both a technical strand, and a political / ethical edge, which I think is essential in these days of austerity (for some) and the emerging internal contradictions of the system.
Other CURE-type programs will continue, such as climate adaptation and climate mitigation, public participation, spatial development etc. These are increasingly oriented towards the above agendas of transitions, resilience, institutional change, social intelligence etc. There is also much greater awareness of social media and communications, as on the website.
3) How will the people (present and future) of Manchester benefit from the new CURE?
As you know most academic work is basically aimed at the world stage. But CURE has always formed very strong collaborations with its context, whether that is Manchester, GM, the Northwest, UK or EU. We expect positive interactions between research and policy in each of the areas above.
4) How will we know in a year’s time that the new CURE is making the planned impact?
We are aiming at a series of open events, and so the results in late 2014 should be there to see and discuss.
6) Anything else you’d like to say?
Watch this space…