Taiteen tohtori, arkkitehti Hernberg Hella

166000 €

Capabilities of care: Mediating the regenerative use of vacant spaces

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

This post-doctoral research proposal aims to advance regenerative approaches to reusing and adapting vacant properties and spaces as part of socio-ecologically sustainable urban development. Enhancing the use of existing spaces is recognised as one of the key means to reducing CO2 emissions and the use of natural resources in the built environment. However, the prevailing conventions in urban development favour demolition and new-build. Enabling the ‘regenerative use’ of vacant spaces calls for a paradigm change in land use and urban development. This research introduces the notion of ‘care’ as a lens through which to articulate various dimensions of regenerative use and to shift focus away from dominant narratives. Care, as discussed in social sciences (e.g. Mason, 1996) and feminist research (Fisher and Tronto, 1990), opens up diverse emotional, social and political dimensions relevant to regenerative use. In addition, the research further investigates ‘mediation’ practice in advancing the understanding and capabilities of care among the multiple stakeholder groups involved in urban redevelopment. Urban sustainability transitions scholars broadly recognise mediation as necessary in steering and managing complex transitions processes (e.g. Kivimaa, 2014) This research builds on and deepens my recent doctoral research (Hernberg, 2022), which investigated the roles of mediators in the reuse of vacant spaces, including the building of collaborative capabilities among different actor groups. The research also benefits from my professional experience of 14 years as an architect in this field. The methodological approach is grounded in qualitative, practice-based research. It integrates knowledge from different academic disciplines and engages multiple stakeholders from two case sites in Finland. The research outcomes will be targeted to both academic and practitioner audiences, aiming to advance knowledge of regenerative use also in practice.