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Situations of opportunity for infrasystems: understanding and pursuing change towards environmental sustainability
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Infrasystems are the large technical systems in society delivering water and electricity, making communications and transports possible, managing the gathering and treatment of refuse and sewage, and many other services. Infrasystems mean welfare, convenience and economic growth, but also considerable environmental impacts.

The overall aim of this thesis is to contribute to the development of aspects and prerequisites of infrasystem change in a sustainable direction, by way of elaborating conceptual knowledge. The first main point of departure is the concept of infrasystem, and the related approach Large Technical Systems (LTS), primarily associated the field of history of technology. A key feature is to highlight a socio-technical systems perspective, rather than separating technology from social and institutional aspects.

The second main point of departure is the change perspective Situations of Opportunity (SITOP), which is a draft theory developed within a research programme at the Royal Institute of Technology. SITOP set out from the notion that the possibility to implement changes in a sustainable direction is greater than average at certain moments in time. A situation of opportunity is associated with a prehistory, limiting the field of options for the actors utilising a formative moment.

When SITOP, LTS and other related socio-technical perspectives are cross-fertilised some directions of where to look for future situations of opportunity for infrasystem change in a sustainable direction can be pointed out, e.g. in connection with certain problems or crises in the systems’ development. On the one hand different aspects on how to widen the field of options are discussed, e.g. to promote inter-sectorial actor networks, to identify system synergies and social innovations (paper 1-3), and to highlight services and functions rather than sectors and technology (paper 2). On the other hand, in order to approach the great changes needed in the context of sustainable development, the socio-technical regimes of today have to undergo major alterations, which probably presupposes new sets of actors and actor networks. A more moderate view however, is to seek positive synergies between everyday decision- and policy-making and the long-term striving for sustainable development. Issues often considered as necessities, e.g. renovations of old buildings, or building more roads to moderate congestion – ‘what must be done’ – should be combined with ‘what should be done’, e.g. implementing energy saving solutions in the built environment, or reducing society’s transport dependency. The array of conceivable combinations widens the field of options.

The results also concern indirect effects of infrasystems, which might contribute to processes evaluating fields of options. Infrastructure investments affect activity patterns and the built environment (paper 4). Moreover infrasystems are associated with indirect energy use (paper 5).

The conceptual views presented in this thesis are no immediate means, ready to be used in concrete infrasystem management, but can in the steps that follow primary policy-making support the process of finding out when to implement change, and moreover assessing plausible solutions. In other words – identify situations of opportunity and explore the field of options.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , 122 p.
Series
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 06:10
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4145ISBN: 91-7178-465-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4145DiVA: diva2:10914
Public defence
2006-11-02, Sal F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2006-10-10 Created: 2006-10-10 Last updated: 2011-09-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Sustainable infrasystem synergies: A conceptual framework
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainable infrasystem synergies: A conceptual framework
2000 (English)In: The Journal of urban technology, ISSN 1063-0732, E-ISSN 1466-1853, Vol. 7, no 3, 81-104 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-20300 (URN)000166495400006 ()
Note
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-10 Created: 2010-08-10 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. The Nature of Infrasystem Services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Nature of Infrasystem Services
2005 (English)In: Journal of Infrastructure Systems, ISSN 1076-0342, E-ISSN 1943-555X, Vol. 11, no 1, 2-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13619 (URN)10.1061/(ASCE)1076-0342(2005)11:1(2) (DOI)000208358700002 ()2-s2.0-14844283141 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20100622

Available from: 2010-06-22 Created: 2010-06-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Integrating urban infrastructures of movement: a vision of sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrating urban infrastructures of movement: a vision of sustainability
2004 (English)In: Moving People, Goods, and Information in the Twenty-First Century: The Cutting-Edge Infrastructures of Networked Cities / [ed] Hanley, R., Routledge , 2004, 211-223 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2004
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13620 (URN)
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2010-06-22 Created: 2010-06-22 Last updated: 2011-09-01Bibliographically approved
4. Indirect effects to include in strategic environmental assessments of transport infrastructure investments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Indirect effects to include in strategic environmental assessments of transport infrastructure investments
2006 (English)In: Transport reviews, ISSN 0144-1647, E-ISSN 1464-5327, Vol. 26, no 2, 151-166 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Indirect effects are important considerations when making consequence analyses in general and in strategic environmental assessments in particular of potential transport solutions and infrastructure plans. The primary objective of this paper is to emphasize the need for a deeper understanding of the long-term system effects of investments in transport infrastructure with a focus on the structuring effects that roads and railways have on society, e. g. altered transport patterns, altered settlement structures and changes in use of the built environment. Special attention is given to the following potential indirect effects: increased total transport volume, increased share of private motorists and truck transport, increased urban sprawl, and increased energy use in buildings. The conditions that determine the power of the effects are discussed and a number of key factors to be considered in transport infrastructure planning, especially in strategic environmental assessments, are suggested. Since many indirect effects emerge over time, an extended time perspective is of essence. Therefore, scenario techniques may be useful when analysing indirect effects in transport planning processes.

Keyword
projects, travel
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-15356 (URN)10.1080/01441640500332406 (DOI)000234073600002 ()2-s2.0-31344446128 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
5. Indirect energy associated with swedish road transports
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Indirect energy associated with swedish road transports
2007 (English)In: European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, ISSN 1567-7133, Vol. 7, no 3Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Typically when transport systems are considered from an energy or environmental perspective it is primarily the energy use associated with the propulsion of vehicles that is addressed. There are however other significant energy categories associated with transport systems, labelled as indirect energy – construction, operation, maintenance and demolition of infrastructure; manufacturing, service and scrapping of vehicles; and fuel production. In this paper the indirect energy is calculated to slightly more than 45% of the total energy use in the Swedish road transport sector. In detail, infrastructural energy stands for approximately 22%, vehicular energy at least 14%, and fuel production about 9% of the total energy use. In conclusion, the insight into the significance of the indirect transport energy should have implications on transport policy, for example, the design of means of control to reduce energy use and environmental impact. Four scenarios involving energy-saving measures are tested, and even though direct energy use remains the single largest item, policy-makers concerned with reducing road sector CO2-emissions cannot focus exclusively on the consumption of petrol and diesel for propulsion, but should also give heed to the energy use associated with infrastructure and vehicles.

Keyword
energy, environment, roads, Sweden, transport
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13622 (URN)
Note

QC 20100622. Updated from submitted to published 20120327

Available from: 2010-06-22 Created: 2010-06-22 Last updated: 2013-04-10Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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