'Calculating the Climate: Assembling Practices for Adaptation'

SITE (Science, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship)

Speaker:Prof. David L Levy, University of Massachusetts Boston
Date: Friday 23 October 2020
Time: 15:00

Further details

Calculating the Climate: Assembling Practices for Adaptation Online talk by Prof David L. Levy (University of Massachusetts Boston) Friday, 23 October 2020, 3-4 pm (UK time) Registration is essential at: Abstract: Climate adaptation is an effort to assess and manage the vulnerability of ecological, economic and social systems by estimating future climate risks and generating response strategies. This qualitative study examines the organizational processes of adaptation in the high-risk coastal city of Boston, Massachusetts, and the political and economic implications. We describe how an assemblage of actors including municipal and state authorities, technical experts and consultants, and civil society organizations, generate risk constructs in particular ways that configure possible response strategies, with notable implications for equity and participation. We find that adaptation processes are constituted of calculative practices – algorithms, instruments, models, market devices and experts – that are not neutral or objective, and that tend to privilege the interests of municipalities, property developers, and financial institutions, while marginalizing concerns of communities of color and low-income groups. These calculative practices are performative and political, and tend to render climate risks as manageable within technocratic frameworks, facilitating the continuation of 'business as usual'. The climate impacts were translated into narrow focal points that neglected more extreme outcomes, because of institutionalized risk management processes and various financial and political pressures. David L. Levy is Professor of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and was a co-founder of the Sustainable Solutions Lab there. David, an Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Award Winner, conducts research on corporate and societal responses to climate change, with a recent focus on urban climate adaptation. His work explores strategic contestation over the governance and finance of controversial issues engaging business, governments, and NGOs, such as climate change and sustainability standards. David has spoken and published widely on these topics, for both academic and practitioner audiences. David holds a DBA from Harvard University, an MBA from Tel Aviv University, and a B.Sc. from Manchester University. Web: Google Scholar profile: