DEMOCLIM studies the development of new democratic forms of governance in response to climate protests in four Scandinavian cities: Oslo, Bergen, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
The starting point for the project is the sharpened conflict over climate policy solutions in cities around the world. The cities must cope with two new and apparently contradictory demands: (1) Movements that focus on the distributional effects of climate measures and raise value-related questions. The toll riot in autumn 2019 and resistance to densification are examples of such protests. (2) Movements that demand more radical climate policy. School strikes for climate inspired by Greta Thunberg and the organization "Extinction Rebellion" are examples of such protests. Both protest movements challenge the legitimacy of existing policies, and demand changes. But there is also a seed for change here, through experimentation and the development of new forms of democratic and efficient governance.
DEMOCLIM wants to contribute to democratic development by 1) developing new theoretical and empirical knowledge about co-creative forms of governance in Scandinavian cities; 2) facilitate effective and socially just climate transformation through close cooperation on the development of various forms of co-creation in all cities. The goal is joint learning and collaboration between science, decision-makers and social movements.
The project use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, and map institutions and organisations, the use of social media, the development of democratic management strategies, the use of interactive and co-creative arenas and digital platforms. We have carried out fieldwork in all four cities in several rounds. It has given us a rich data material. We have also organized six different co-creation events together with the cities.
The year 2022 has been characterized by data analysis, writing and dissemination. We have conducted joint data analysis, arranged three joint article seminars where draft articles have been discussed and commented on. Several articles have been submitted to international journals, and more are under development. In addition, several popular science publications have been published on the basis of Democlim data. Democlim was also one of several research communities that contributed to the FNI report "Who has power in climate policy", which was part of the scientific basis for the Norwegian Climate Panel. Last but not least, Democlim's research results have been communicated to professionals, researchers and decision-makers both at our own events and events we have been invited to (conferences, seminars, lectures). Particularly exciting was a panel we arranged in Arendalsuka where we put together different voices in the urban climate debate to discuss the scope for just and effective climate change transformation. Democlim has also laid the foundation for education at OsloMet (urban governance master course), and Stockholm university - master courses : Theoretical Perspectives on Planning (https://www.su.se/english/search-courses-and-programmes/kg7230-1.411838) och Planning Practices in Cities and Regions (https://www.su.se/english/search-courses-and-programmes/kg7231-1.411839).
DEMOCLIM investigates novel democratic governance approaches to the design and implementation of efficient and socially just climate policies in response to climate protests in four Scandinavian cities (Oslo & Bergen and Stockholm & Gothenburg). Although climate change is widely seen as “the defining issue of our time” (UN 2018), the past couple of years have seen a growing political backlash against core dimensions of more ambitious climate policies in Scandinavian cities and elsewhere in Europe. On the one hand, there have been protests that call into question distributive and justice effects of climate mitigation measures – such as higher toll ring prices and compact city development. On the other hand, there have been School strikes for climate inspired by Greta Thunberg and emergence of new radical climate movements, such as Extinction Rebellion, that use or threaten to use civil disobedience to further demand for more proactive climate policies. Thus, city governments must tackle two seemingly contradictory demands for justice.
DEMOCLIM combines theoretical approaches and several strains of literature in novel ways: research on climate change policies, contentious politics, cleavages, interactive governance and co-creation. The project contributes new knowledge on: a) the interface between climate/social protest movements and urban policy makers and governance; b) the conditions for enhancing the quality of democratic governance and approaches to climate policy implementation that are socially just and efficient at the city level; c) comparison of collaborative governance approaches of cities in the global forefront of climate policy implementation; d) the content and influence of experimental governance as a tool for socially just and inclusive climate transformation. The project contributes to joint learning and collaboration between research and key stakeholders by using interactive research methods.