Replication and Upscaling mechanisms are important from the point of view that pilot projects should not remain a “one-off” exercise. Aiming to ensure a successful implementation, there is no one size fits all approach. Local conditions can have a strong impact and expose a range of barriers as well as enablers. While numerous approaches and technologies address urban challenges, the processes of urban road-mapping and vision development remains complex. In many cases successfully implemented solutions that work in one urban context, fail dramatically when transferred in another urban setting. It is risky and not sufficient to attempt to copy-paste an existing solution from one to another urban environment, as diverse local factors may counteract the well-intended aims.
Therefore, it is necessary to follow a range of principles and guiding steps that are necessary to identify the most replicable urban solutions matching different urban contexts. The SITEE Replicability Methodology is a tool that enables the evaluation of replicability potentials.
SITEE is a decision support tool able to determine the replication potential of different urban solutions in a specific place, taking into account the full range of local factors that could influence their applicability, with the ambition to support cities in the selection of the most suitable solutions for their local context.
The approach is based on the analysis of 5 dimensions: Sociocultural; Institutional; Technological; Environmental and Economic – SITEE replicability tool.
SITEE relies on a mathematical approach that can be easily represented through cartesian diagrams built on variables dependent on:
According to those variables, every solution can be represented as a point in the diagram (See Figure 1).
The correlation with the replication potential, expressed on a scale 0-100%, is given by the intersection between the points representing the solutions and the iso-replicability lines (diagonal lines in the figure).
In SITEE, different Solution and Context variables are associated to every dimension (Table 1) and the general approach explained above is likewise applied to each of them.
The Context Variables are informed through questionnaires addressed to institutions, stakeholders, citizens from the city targeted for replication, while the Solution Variables should be elicited from the industrial/private entities and local administrations who implemented the solutions or, alternatively, can be obtained through desk research activities and experts’ estimations.
Once all variables are calculated, a Replicability Diagram can be obtained for each dimension and the five values of replication obtained are then averaged to estimate the Overall Replication Potential of the selected urban solutions in the specific context under assessment (e.g. city, district, etc.) (Figure 2).
Besides the Overall Replication Potential, a Replication Priority Index has been defined to rank solutions from the most to the least replicable. The Replication Priority Index is calculated by expanding the measurement scale of the Overall Replication Potential while keeping proportions and ratios among the different replication values unchanged. It is thus possible to detect and better visualize even minimal differences among solutions, therefore facilitating the analysis (Figure 3).
This multi-dimensional assessment allows for the identification of the most relevant factors that may limit or facilitate replication, supporting cities in the selection of those urban solutions that could be best replicated according to the socio-cultural, institutional, technological, environmental and economic aspects proper of their local context.
Key Words: replication, urban solutions; social; socio-cultural; institutional; environment; economic; technology; method; replication potential
SITEE adopts a bottom-up approach, as it deals with the replication of individual measures and, therefore, does not allow the replication potential of integrated policies to be directly evaluated. However, individual measures are analysed by explicitly considering the context in which they are embedded and can thus be seen as useful building blocks towards a more systemic appraisal. Moreover, it must be pointed out that this horizontal approach can be applied to a wide range of urban solutions, from nature-based, going through technology based, including those pursuing social inclusiveness.
Test activities in Wuhan
In order to validate the methodology, it was decided to test it in one of the Urban Living Labs of the project by engaging the city of Wuhan and CAS as local reference and contact point of the city.
The scope of the work was to estimate the replication potential of a set of European Urban Solutions in the city of Wuhan. The results of this test was relevant for the validation of this new method and for the identification of areas for further improvement of the whole process with the ambition to build a solid and robust approach for estimating replicability that could be extended to other Chinese cities.
The testing activities carried out in this experimentation provided for:
Key Findings and Conclusions
The analysis carried out provides a good basis for drawing general conclusions both on the method itself and on potential further applications in China.
A first important conclusion is that SITEE is not only a means of prioritization of urban measures in support of decision-making process but can provide valid suggestions for improvement whenever weaknesses, that could hinder the application of potentially winning solutions, are found in the local context.
Furthermore, the application of this methodology is well suited to the comparison between cities, as crucial aspects for replication can emerge more clearly from comparative assessments. (details on the results are reported in D2.3 and in Chapter 14 of the book Paolucci L. “Estimating the Replication Potential of Urban Solutions for Socially Integrative Cities”, Chapter 14 from the book “Towards Socially Integrative Cities”, Muller B. et al)
Potential application in China
The application of SITEE to the Chinese context might have interesting implications. The China’s city-tier classification system can be adapted to SITEE so as to broaden and maximize the results and the impacts that can be obtained for one city, leading to the identification of a group of solutions that can be a valid option for all the cities belonging to the same tier.
Identifying cities that have implemented solutions which, thanks to SITEE, turn out to be highly replicable and promising in other cities could offer ideas and inspiration, offering new opportunities that had never been considered before. In this regard, SITEE could support cities in the identification of similar local realities with whom making twinning, opening a dialogue and discussing potential collaborations. This exchange of knowledge and experiences is a fundamental step in the replication process.
SITEE is an experimental tool that was developed by ISINNOVA during the second year of the project TRANS URBAN EU CHINA.
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Loriana Paolucci (ISINNOVA)