The Second Low Carbon City Develop World Forum, organized by the World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities, took place in Beijing 14-15th of May. Hanken’s Eco-Urban Living research team, Dr. Timo Vuori and PhD students Olga Novikova and Veronika Bashtovaya took part in this meeting. They had various conversations with the participants and took detailed notes throughout the event. Now, two weeks after the event, the researchers have taken a moment to reflect on the meeting and share some thoughts with us.

PhD students Olga Novikova and Veronika Bashtovaya at the Forum

PhD students Olga Novikova and Veronika Bashtovaya at the Forum

The most central aspect of the meeting was, from our point of view, the vast enthusiasm of various organizations and actors from many countries. Several actors are actively trying to make sense of what the low-carbon world of tomorrow will look like and what their role in this world will be. This active sensemaking process was visible in the various presentations that discussed different ways of making greener business for tomorrow. Examples ranged from applications for calculating the most efficient combinations of various means of transportation (Gomi’s presentation from Japan) to development legislation (Chinese authorities) and technical innovation (e.g., Kone).

In addition to serving as evidence of continuous sensemaking, the presentations are also a means for sensegiving. The forms of future low-carbon ecosystems are still uncertain and actors are naturally trying to shape the developments. From a research point of view it was interesting to see the immediate responses to these influencing attempts. It seems that a delicate balance of positive enthusiasm and cold analytical realism is needed for making an impact – and that the optimal balance between the two can vary from one target of influence to another one. Only the accumulation of further empirical evidence over time will show which forms of sensemaking and sensegiving turn out to be the most effective.

We’ll be posting more material from the Second Low Carbon City Development World Forum in the coming weeks here on the website. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@EUL_Finland) and Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/ecourbanliving) to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in Eco Urban Living!