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Barcelona Training School … a tasting of transdisciplinary research

By Chiara Zanetti

The Barcelona Training School on Inter and Transdisciplinary Urban Research was a very interesting, challenging and inspiring experience.

I went to Barcelona with many expectations: I was hoping that the school could be a learning opportunity, but above all an opportunity for international comparison with the paths and the studies of other researchers. Moreover, I was seeking a new useful perspective to analyze my case study and to provide a new analytical point of view. At the same time, I was looking for an inclusive theoretical framework for the several dynamics that take place in a public decision-making process.

The School has met my expectations: the learning environment developed was very dialogical and proactive. Indeed, we had many experts with strong experiences that introduce us to transdisciplinarity with a lot of point of view.

I appreciated the use of a series of case studies and practical exercises to address the issue of transdisciplinary research: this was certainly an added value of the Barcelona Training School. Indeed, it was useful to have an overview of the empirical problems that we can find when we approach a complex and manifold topic as the climate change. Moreover, the focus on the competencies for transdisciplinary research helped me to apply the suggestions of trainers from the theory to my case study.

Furthermore, I understand that this methodology favored a practical and empirical approach, at the expense of a more theoretical approach. In this sense, I think that the transdisciplinary researcher is more similar to a consultant involved in the “real life” rather than the purely academy. In the Barcelona Training School, we were challenged to a change in their approach of research, for which very important was the first conference on the theme of reflexivity. What we have received have been many ideas, and then each of us will have to develop them in his or her research context.

Moreover, another aspect that I appreciated in the School was the possibility to know what is Barcelona doing to face the challenges presented by climate change adaptation. In fact, facing this problem-matter, Barcelona proposes the design of the city as a key component in the adaptation to the current and expected urban climate change. For me it was very interesting to compare issues, methodologies and outcomes of Barcelona with the process developed by other cities that I have studied and in particular with my case study.

More concretely, what is the consequence of the Barcelona Training School on my case study and more in general on my research method? This training brought me to consider to adopt a more personal approach in the analysis of the case study in order to go more in deep in several aspects, as for example the quality of the participation of the various stakeholders to the decision making process. Therefore, in conclusion, Barcelona training school was an interesting tasting of transdisciplinary research: to try to apply what I learned in that days could be the challenge for my future research approach.

Chiara Zanetti Poster: Bologna and the BlueAp Project