Conveners: Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä (Aalto University) & Niclas Sandström (University of Helsinki)
In short: By presenting and discussing views on the potential of participatory extreme context, we wish to co-explore and learn a way towards a common path where more focus and dedication is given to the creation of novel sustainable solutions regarding SDG #9 and #11. "Participation is shapeshifting the way we see power and engagement. Out of extreme grows the most magnificent innovation."
Recent times have seen shifts to more unstable institutional environments, raising new challenges for SDG #9 promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation and for SDG #11 making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Natural disasters, ever increasing pollution, war, political controversy, the very nature of fragility of our planet becomes ever more apparent, more extreme.
What is extreme? We define extreme by following Hällgren et al. (2018) “where one or more extreme events are occurring or are likely to occur that may result in an extensive physical, psychological, or material consequences to physical or psycho-social proximity to organisation members”. Extreme is often associated with misery. However, in this session we argue extreme can yield hidden unexplored potential, particularly within the domain of participatory environment where individuals do not act as consumers but also contributors, co-creators (Jenkins, 2012; Timms & Heimans, 2018). Following this, well-cited research has demonstrated that dramatic, positive changes can occur in individuals as a direct result of experiences in extreme environments and call this post-traumatic growth, a personal transformation (Peterson et al, 2008). A sense of contribution (Eccles, 2008) can be created through meaningful participation, a claim we wish to prove true also in the proposed session.
By building on this, a positive transformative human potential related to participatory extreme environments, we wish to present two cases in relation to SDG#9 and SDG11 to foster the discussion for co-creating social innovations, together with science and practice, within the domain of Sustainable Science Days topics at Aalto University and University of Helsinki. For SDG #9, the case is WTSUP!, a co-created education platform, aimed to foster women's empowerment and volunteerism culture, located in extreme environment of crisis-torn Lebanon (YLE, 2019). The aim for the cross-cultural platform is to promote industrialization and foster innovation where for 2020 WTSUP! event in Beirut, the overarching theme is sustainability. For SDG #11, for more inclusive and sustainable urban planning, we present a participatory culture laboratory of Burning Man, especially the temporary 70,000 participant Black Rock City, BRC (American Planning Association, 2016 & BRCMUP, 2016). The potential of this case lies particularly within the temporary nature, city with less bureaucracy and power play (Stanford News, 2018). The radical nature of BRC may therefore provide insights into organizational processes of adaptation and prioritization, resilience, that could support cities in their tasks to become more sustainable. Ultimately, through these two novel topics, we wish to answer the surging scientific interest on extreme contexts, open a scholarly venue to study the previously unknown. On the practical front, by presenting and discussing views on the potential of participatory extreme context, that may support individual transformation, we wish to co-explore and learn a way towards a common path where more focus and dedication is given to the creation of novel sustainable solutions regarding SDG #9 and #11 (Sandström, Nevgi & Nenonen, 2019; Sandström & Nenonen, 2018). "Participation is shapeshifting the way we see power and engagement. Out of extreme grows the most magnificent innovation. "
We welcome abstracts that address issues related to this theme on participatory cultures, extreme environments and urban planning. We also welcome novel artistic approaches. The session will be arranged so that the previous two cases will shortly open the session, which is followed by other topics presented, with a comment and discussion.