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Digitalization and Environmental Aims in Municipalities
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Strategic Sustainability Studies.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Strategic Sustainability Studies.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Strategic Sustainability Studies.
Ericsson.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many municipalities express a wish to use digital technologies to reach environmental aims. However, there is still a need for better understandings of how this should practically be done, both among municipalities and among ICT developers. We have used workshops and literature studies to formulate technological abilities of digitalization. We use two EU directives that are relevant for municipal environmental goals, and combine the activities that these directives indicate, in order to formulate practical implementations of digital technology to help these activities and reach the directives’ goals. We suggest that this method can be used for any municipal goal, as follows: 1. Identify the objective (in our case set by the EU-directives); 2. Identify what activities these points will require or generate; 3a. From a municipal viewpoint: Based on the results of 1 and 2, formulate and structure ideas of how digitalization can support the objectives, and how those ideas can be implemented; 3b. From a provider´s viewpoint: Investigate what digital solutions supporting 1 and 2 exist, or how existing services can be tweaked to support the objectives, and explore how new digital solutions supporting 1 and 2 can be developed.

Keywords [en]
European Union, EU directives, municipalities, environmental aims, environmental goals, smart city, smart sustainable city, digitalization, ICT4S
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-223742OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-223742DiVA, id: diva2:1187097
Note

QC 20180302

Available from: 2018-03-02 Created: 2018-03-02 Last updated: 2018-03-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. How municipalities can work with digitalisation for environmental aims
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How municipalities can work with digitalisation for environmental aims
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humanity is facing big environmental challenges. Apart from the climate changes, there is also an ongoing depletion of the natural resources necessary for our survival in general, and for highly electronics-dependant lifestyles especially. At the same time, both urbanisation and digitalisation are progressing at a rapid pace. Digitalisation holds a potential to decrease environmental impact from cities and urban lifestyles, and many cities want to increase their use of digital technologies and services. This is often at least partially motivated by environmental concerns. In these cases, it is often the municipality that is responsible for strategies and support of increased digitalisation.

This dissertation places itself in the Smart Sustainable City field, but more specifically aims to support municipalities’ work with digitalisation for environmental goals. The results are structured around three parts. The first part accounts for six cities’ promising digital solutions with possible environmental benefits, and of possible digital tools to support two EU directives that can affect municipalities’ environmental work. The second part suggests how municipalities can work with digitalisation for environmental goals, and especially stresses evaluation and strategic investments. The third part looks at possible long-term societal changes in relation to digitalisation, and the risks with a city depending on electronics: It is important that a city can remain adequately functional, even in the case of a short- or long term shortage of resources and/or energy.

Finally, I discuss some of the uncertainties in digitalisation for environmental goals. There are uncertainties regarding digitalisation’s actual effects, which can make it harder to know what investments to make. Implementing digital technologies for municipal aims often demands cooperation between actors with different interests, but if the municipality relates its decision to environmental goals, it facilitates demanding that digital services and tools have environmental benefits.

Abstract [sv]

Mänskligheten står inför stora utmaningar på miljöområdet. Utöver klimatförändringar sker en utarmning av de naturresurser som krävs både för vår allmänna fortlevnad och för livsstilar med hög användning av elektronik. Samtidigt pågår både en snabb urbanisering och en snabb digitalisering. Digitaliseringen har potential för att minska miljöpåverkan från städer och urbana livsstilar, och många städer uttalar en vilja till ökat nyttjande av digitala tekniker och tjänster, oftast åtminstone delvis motiverat av omsorg om miljön. Ofta är det då kommunen som står för strategier och stöd för ökad digitalisering.

Den här avhandlingen placerar sig i det fält som berör den smarta hållbara staden, men syftar mer specifikt till att hjälpa kommuner i deras arbete med digitalisering för att nå miljömål. Avhandlingens resultat är uppdelade i tre delar. Den första delen redovisar några lovande digitala tjänster med möjliga miljöfördelar, respektive möjliga digitala stöd för två EU-direktiv som påverkar kommuners miljöarbete. Den andra delen ger förslag på hur kommuner kan lägga upp sin arbetsgång för att rikta digitaliseringsarbetet mer mot miljöfördelar och miljömål, och rekommenderar särskilt att följa upp arbetet med utvärderingar och mer strategiska investeringar. Den tredje delen går in på möjliga långsiktiga förändringar av samhället i relation till digitalisering, samt riskerna med att en stad blir beroende av elektronik: Det är viktigt att en stad kan bevara huvuddelen av sin funktionalitet, även vid kort- eller långvarig strypning av resurser och/eller energi.

Slutligen diskuterar jag något av osäkerheten i digitalisering för miljömål. Det finns stora osäkerheter kring vad de verkliga effekterna blir, vilket kan göra det svårt att veta vilka investeringar som ska göras. Att införa digitala tekniker och tjänster för att nå kommunala mål kräver samverkan från aktörer med olika intressen, men om kommunen tydligt kopplar till miljömål underlättar det för att kräva att de digitala tjänsterna och verktygen gör nytta på miljöområdet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018. p. 25
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 181
Keywords
sustainability, municipalities, environmental aims, environmental goals, smart city, smart sustainable city, digitalisation, ICT4S
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-223749 (URN)978-91-7729-695-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2018-03-26, L52, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
ICT for Urban Sustainability
Note

QC 20180302

Available from: 2018-03-02 Created: 2018-03-02 Last updated: 2018-03-02Bibliographically approved

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