Multispecies Cities: Challenging anthropocentrism through more-than-human speculative fiction, public health and transdisciplinarity

Dr Christoph Rupprecht1

1Research Institute For Humanity And Nature, Kyoto, Japan

 

Cities are built entirely around human needs, including harnessing non-humans for ecosystem services in the form of green infrastructure. This anthropocentrism extends to the concept of sustainability itself and may lie at the roots of why urban sustainability initiatives are failing. Drawing on multispecies and more-than-human geographies, we develop a concept of multispecies sustainability and attempt to rethink cities through this lens. For this purpose, we present a proposal and call for collaboration for a 5-year project on cities of multispecies well-being. Specifically, the project looks at three different urban lifeworlds: mental (ideas of how cities ought to be), linked (people-animal-plant networks linked by internal and external microbiomes), and physical (co-inhabited built environment), examined through three work packages.

WP1 generates positive futures of multispecies cities with creative professionals. Planned outputs include a general audience fiction book series on sustainable futures and exhibitions. WP2 grounds WP1 futures by developing care-based guidelines for multispecies public health policy recommendations through co-research on the environment-microbiome-brain axis, based on a conceptual framework of multispecies public health & sustainability. WP3 experiments with WP1/2 futures across cities/sites through game-based participatory planning workshops featuring multispecies stakeholders, developing a multispecies transdisciplinarity method+toolkit.


Biography:

Christoph D. D. Rupprecht is a Senior Researcher with the FEAST project at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto. He received his PhD in urban geography, planning and ecology from Griffith University in 2015. His work focuses on more-than-human approaches to sustainability, in particular around issues of urban planning and design, food, and agriculture. Recent endeavors include combining speculative literature and gaming with sustainability studies to overcome anthropocentrism and envision desirable degrowth futures.

Email: crupprecht@chikyu.ac.jp

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