The Power of Language in Feedback Metaphors: A Response to Kennedy
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Kennedy (2012) makes an impassioned plea that urban metabolism (UM) research makes worthy contributions. Here we can agree: Material and energy flow accounting (MEFA) is a commendable activity. The merit of accounting for the resource consumption of cities—delineating their inflows and outflows—is not being questioned. Rather, precisely because it is a useful tool, it is important to understand what it does—and does not—offer to the interdisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners interested in understanding socio-ecological systems and finding sustainable solutions to global environmental change.
Where we part ways is the extent of its usefulness. The language chosen to convey ideas, and the science and theory underpinning them, matter for both the researchers engaged in the generation of knowledge and those who consume it. The way a community contextualizes its subject affects its investigations and interpretations (Larson 2011). Once adopted, such ideas have staying...
KeywordsRiparian Vegetation Urban System Global Environmental Change Urban Ecosystem Ecological Concept
Larson’s work on the resonance of cultural values in scientific language (2011) first introduced me to the idea of feedback metaphors. I appreciate Dr. Söderström’s invitation to respond to Kennedy’s comment.
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