Mr Joe Ravetz

Research Fellow

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Joe Ravetz is Co-Director of the Collaboratory for Urban Resilience & Energy at the Manchester Urban Institute, University of Manchester.  He has pioneered the art of strategic thinking for sustainable cities and regions, which brings together environment-climate policy, urban planning and design, new economics and governance, innovation and futures studies, systems thinking and complexity science. With a background as an architect, planner and development manager, he is also a creative graphic facilitator and foresight trainer.  His main publications are ‘City-Region 2020: integrated planning for a sustainable environment’: ‘Environment and City’:  and the forthcoming ‘Deeper City: collective intelligence and the pathways from smart to wise’ (Earthscan / Routledge).  He is on the editorial boards of Foresight Journal, International Journal of Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Mediterranean Construction; coordinator of the Greater Manchester Policy Exchange;  Principal at the non-profit SAMI Consulting; policy advisor currently to Metropolitan Region of Naples. He also delivers training, seminars, consultancy, keynotes and reviews in many countries.


Current position: as of January 2019,

- the major monograph 'Deeper City' is finally with Routledge, after much editing of text and visual material.

- 2 co-authored papers are near to submission. 2 single authored papers are in writing, each reflecting one of the recent research projects & the agenda of the Synergistics program.

- a new grant award under the ‘Towards A Sustainable Earth’ scheme (700k), is a larger demonstration of the synergistic program. The PERI-CENE (Peri-Urbanization & Climate-Environment Change)will provide a comprehensive assessment of global peri-urbanisation and its climate impacts, risks and vulnerabilities. It develops synergistic pathways in a Policy Lab with 24 city-regions from around the world, with in-depth case studies in India and UK, and knowledge transfer via ICLEI, UN Habitat and UN Global Compact for Cities.

- various other demonstrations, tests & presentations of the Synergistics program continue, e.g. in Thesssaloniki, Bangkok, Mexicali, Naples etc: each one is also linked to the international partnership of the PERICENE project.



In all this the over-arching theme is about inter-connection: the reality of cities, not as boxes labelled ‘economics’ or ‘environment’, but rather as whole systems which evolve and interact. To respond to this we need new kinds of whole-system thinking. The CURE programs have to date included spatial development, resource modelling, environmental policy & management, energy / climate change studies, land / landscape studies, policy evaluation and participation. But the strategic agenda is more about the inter-connections between them: this can be explored via complexity science, transition and innovation studies, futures and foresight methods.   These and similar methods have informed a 2-decade intellectual journey, which began with exploration of the ‘inter-connectedness of things’, and ended with the landmark publication City-Region 2020.  Experience from practice then shifted the focus towards the ‘inter-connectedness of thinking’: the process of multiple value-generation between multiple stakeholders, and the potential for ‘creative synergy and urban intelligence’ in response to global challenges. All this is set out in the forthcoming book ‘Deeper City: collective intelligence and the pathways from smart to wise' (Routledge / Earthscan).



Further information

Main website:

Pursuits: visual thinking and drawing, running & tennis, camping, music.

Media availability: generally available for national / regional media. Contact or (+44)(0)7719 233115

Experience: various press interviews, ranging from Guardian to Big Issue:

Expertise: future studies: climate change: One Planet agenda: sustainable cities and regions: sustainable regeneration, economic development: community participation, housing, transport, energy, waste issues.

External positions

Principal , SAMI Consulting

1 Jan 2010 → …

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