,Though the water-related challenges of Mexico City have been apparent to residents for decades, they are receiving increased amounts of global recognition. The issues- scarcity, subsidence, flooding, water quality, etc- are clear, but the drivers are not. A recent piece in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico-city-sinking.html?_r=0) provided an elaboration on the challenges posed by subsidence and the exacerbation of existing problems due to climate change. In fact, the New York Times will be writing an entire series dedicated to understanding how different global cities are responding, or not responding, to climate threats. Mexico City seems trapped on a trajectory towards worsening hydrological scenarios and, although the problems are evident and the unrest is increasing, the system dynamics of a city are of such complexity that insertion points and interventions are unclear. Sustainability science, the interdisciplinary field from which the MEGADAPT project arose, is attempting to find novel, integrated perspectives from which to view these systems. When the present is plagued by complexity and the future with uncertainty, novel research approaches are vital. However, that which will result from these approaches is uncertain. With MEGADAPT we are learning with greater clarity the challenge of modeling the social and environmental complexity of a megacity- in order to model, we have to simplify. Yet, we believe that we can approach simplification not as reductionists and not as an "end all-be all" box and arrow diagram with a straightforward solution, but we approach it as a learning tool. What can we learn from a simplified* demystified attempt to conceptualize reality? What can we learn through the conversations we have with stakeholders to model it? What does it offer as a reflective tool for governance and a boundary object for stakeholder communication? What can academia offer as an institution to start hopeful, productive conversations of change rather than tales of woe? We hope to find out.
*note: technically this is a very complicated project, but nothing can capture the true complexity of reality
A collaborative project seeking to improve capacities for risk management in Mexico City and to serve as a model for climate-change adaptation in developing countries.