This was originally posted 05/31/2016
We have been busy over the last five months, analyzing the mental models, data sets, and developing the quantitative models that are the foundation of MEGADAPT. Now the next step is the integration: representing mental models in a GIS platform, and creating a simple agent-based model that will integrate the essential inputs and outputs of the biophysical and social system drivers. After our annual meeting in May 5-7 2016, we began to compile all the inputs that play critical roles in driving vulnerability in the city, including mental model for select agents, data sets for Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF model), and the underground and surface water models.
We had a successful annual meeting, where all of the teams presented advances and progress. The health team has begun to estimate the probability of diseases (gastrointestinal) using a model that integrates biophysical infrastructure, climate and hydrological dynamics, and socio-economic determinants of gastrointestinal diseases in Mexico City. Their efforts will result in a quantitative measure of risk using health data sets from the Public Health secretary (Secretaría de Salud). This effort includes a spatial analysis and a first draft of a scientific paper. The LULC team (Land cover change) started to identify political and institutional agents that affect the expansion of urbanization in Mexico City. They identified three agents: residents who expand housing in the watershed and urban core, Delegations, who facilitate or constrain urban expansion, and city-level urban authorities. Using this information the team will explore the relationship between population density and hydrological risk in Mexico City. In terms of water infrastructure, key agents are represented by SACMEX (water management authority in Mexico City), OCVAM (Organismo de Cuenca Aguas del Valle de México) and residents who autonomously manage flooding and water scarcity challenges. Our challenge now is to accurately represent the essence of how these diverse actors perceive the water problems and how those perceptions affect their actions in the city via representing mental models in a geospatial context. We are basing our analysis on 75 interviews, 12 focus groups and 11 participatory workshops, and feel very fortunate that so many actors in the city have shared their perspectives with us.
At the same time, we have been exploring approaches to sustainability science and transdisciplinary in others institutions and projects. The MEGADAPT project is now part of an international network of organizations fostering innovative approaches to sustainable transformation, funded by the ISSC and coordinated by the STEPS Centre (www.steps-centre.org) as part of the North American Hub (http://steps-centre.org/about/global/; http://steps-centre.org/2016/blog/seeking-sustainable-transformations-around-the-world/?referralDomain=) This relationship provided the opportunity for some members of the team to participate in the STEPS summer school at the University of Sussex in the UK, where they learned new methods for analyzing sustainability challenges. Furthermore, this experience permitted the creation of a new network for sharing experience, challenges and knowledge with colleagues from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. We will be exploring some of these new methods to our ongoing interactions with diverse stakeholders in Mexico City with the aim of creating opportunities for socio-ecological transformations.
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.