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Making Futures: On Targets, Measures and Governance in Backcasting and Planning
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies. KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5191-9250
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about the making of futures – in the sense of planning, through which the world of tomorrow is crafted, and in the sense of images of the future, developed through the futures studies approach of backcasting. The point of departure for the thesis is that more visionary and strategic forms of planning are needed if the challenges of sustainable development are to be met, and that backcasting, through its long-term, integrative and normative character, can be a helpful tool towards this end.

The thesis explores how backcasting can be used when planning for sustainability by looking into three areas of problems and possibilities. The first of these concerns target setting, for which was found that both backcasting and planning tend to use targets that are elusive, rendering it difficult to understand what is included in the target and what is omitted. As a way to rectify this, a framework of methodological considerations for target setting is presented (Paper I). There is also a need for further methodological development on how to set targets for environmental aspects other than energy and GHG gases.

The second area concerns the identification of measures and actors, where both backcasting and planning were found to have the problem of being techno-biased and/or taking a rather superficial approach to ‘the social’ which means that the socio-technical complexity of everyday life is left unattended (Paper II). This has consequences in terms of delimiting the scope of measures identified and proposed and of the potential of these to result in intended changes. Two approaches are suggested to deal with this: a methodology for developing socio-technical scenarios, in which an iterative identification of objects and agents of change is a central trait (Paper III), and a service-orientated energy efficiency analysis, in which the social logic of energy use is highlighted (Paper IV).

The third area concerns how backcasting can be used in a more explorative approach to the governance of change, instead of leaving this unaddressed and/or unaltered (Paper V). In relation to this, the institutional and political dimensions of planning for sustainability are emphasised, with the focus on path dependency, discursive power and critical junctures (Paper VI).

The connection described between the fields of backcasting and planning for sustainability study and practice is thus beneficial for planning by showing how this could be made more visionary and strategic, while also contributing to the theoretical and methodological advancement of backcasting. One of the main contributions of the thesis is the exploration of how backcasting studies could benefit from including the question of ‘Who?’: Who could make the changes happen? Who should change (whose) lifestyle? Who (what group/s in society) benefits and who loses from the images of the future that are developed? And who is invited to take part in the making of futures and whose futures are being heard? Including the question of ‘who’ highlights the normative character of sustainable development and makes issues of environmental justice and equity visible.

The formulation of images of the future is also a question of resources and ultimately of power. In relation to this there is a need for groups of society besides those in power to be encouraged to develop their images of the (sustainable, desired) future, and to give room for these in policy-making and planning. The openness of the future renders desirability and ethics, and not probability, the basis on which the feasibility of images of the future must be assessed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. , 101 p.
Series
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2012-09
Keyword [en]
futures studies, backcasting, planning, governance, sustainable development
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-94151ISBN: 978-91-7501-361-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-94151DiVA: diva2:525527
Public defence
2012-06-05, E2, Lindstedtsvägen 3, KTH, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
SitCitICT as a motor for transition
Note

QC 20120514

Available from: 2012-05-14 Created: 2012-05-08 Last updated: 2013-05-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Elusive targets: Methodological considerations for cities' climate targets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elusive targets: Methodological considerations for cities' climate targets
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Cities’ climate targets are dependent on system boundaries and methods of calculations. This article identify, explore and present an overview of methodological considerations of importance in order to facilitate understanding, comparing and setting targets for green house gas emissions and energy use in cities. A survey on how eight European cities set their climate targets is presented. A framework of methodological considerations that are of importance when setting targets for cities is presented. A review of existing GHG accounting protocols, three major sustainable city frameworks and a selection of scientific papers reporting on accounting methodologies was used as a basis for developing the methodological considerations. Four main categories were identified, temporal scope, object for target setting, unit of target, and range of target. For each category there is an in-depth discussion of them in relation to targets for cities. The survey of the European cities showed that there is quite a little awareness of what is, or could be, included in the targets. This makes comparison and benchmarking almost impossible today. It also shows the need for comprehensive and consistent accounting protocols and methodologies.

Keyword
climate, greenhouse gases, city, urban, targets
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-94148 (URN)
Note

QS 2012

Available from: 2012-05-08 Created: 2012-05-08 Last updated: 2014-03-31Bibliographically approved
2. Exploring social structures and agency in backcasting studies for sustainable development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring social structures and agency in backcasting studies for sustainable development
2011 (English)In: Technological forecasting & social change, ISSN 0040-1625, E-ISSN 1873-5509, Vol. 78, no 5, 872-882 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines how social structures and agency have been included in backcasting studies for sustainable development. For this purpose an analytical framework was developed, based on what objects of change (whats), measures (hows) and change agents (whos) are included in the scenario, and to which extent these are approached in an explorative way. Through reviewing a number of backcasting studies it was found that these typically are built upon and elaborated with a predominant focus on the questions of what and how physical/technical aspects could change. Social objects of change and explicit representation or analysis of the question of who could change is rarely included in the analysis. This unbalance brings a number of implications. Firstly, not including social structures and agency obstructs developing socio-technically consistent and comprehensive scenarios. Secondly, through not addressing the questions of how to change and change by whom in an explicit and explorative way, social structures and agency become represented only implicitly and/or are maintained according to the status quo.

Keyword
Backcasting, Socio-technical, Social; Agency, Change agent
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-35107 (URN)10.1016/j.techfore.2011.03.007 (DOI)000291139100009 ()2-s2.0-79955473406 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20110701Available from: 2011-07-01 Created: 2011-06-20 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. Goal-based socio-technical scenarios: Greening the mobility practices in the Stockholm City District of Bromma, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Goal-based socio-technical scenarios: Greening the mobility practices in the Stockholm City District of Bromma, Sweden
2013 (English)In: Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies, ISSN 0016-3287, E-ISSN 1873-6378, Vol. 47, 79-92 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a new five-part method for developing goal-based socio-technical scenarios. In the first part, Scenario 'Seeds' are identified or created. The Scenario Content part focuses on the question of what could be changed and by whom, a fundamental element being iterative identification of objects and actors of change. Scenario Outcome focuses on the question of how to assess the potential contribution of these changes, estimated through modelling the scenario in terms of energy usage systems. Scenario Process explores the question of how to develop and represent a scenario in terms of a process of governance. Scenario Content, Outcome and Process are then combined into a Final Scenario which is further assessed and evaluated using qualitative methods. The development of Scenario Content is tested and exemplified in this paper through a scenario study of green mobility in the district of Bromma in Stockholm, Sweden. Preliminary findings indicate that by supporting explicit inclusion of actors and 'the social' aspect, the what-who iteration in Scenario Content also helps identify opportunities and obstacles of a social character, thus contributing to creation of socio-technically more consistent and comprehensive scenarios.

Keyword
socio-technical, scenario, situations of opportunity, backcasting, methodology, mobility
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-94147 (URN)10.1016/j.futures.2013.01.005 (DOI)000317160600009 ()2-s2.0-84873904549 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20130508. Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

Available from: 2012-05-08 Created: 2012-05-08 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Energy at your service: highlighting energy usage systems in the context of energy efficiency analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy at your service: highlighting energy usage systems in the context of energy efficiency analysis
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2011 (English)In: Energy Efficiency, ISSN 1570-646X, E-ISSN 1570-6478, Vol. 4, no 3, 355-369 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Increasing energy efficiency has for a long time been identified as an important means of mitigating climate change. However, the full potential for technical energy efficiency has seldom been fully exploited. The traditional approach in energy systems analysis and policy is still largely supply-orientated, i.e. focusing on the management of energy conversion, production and distribution, and final use of energy in the form of energy carriers. This paper contributes to previous discussions on how to highlight and explore the user side in the analysis of energy systems in an efficiency context. The energy usage systems approach, including end-use technologies and the production of service demanded by a human activity system, is used to promote a dynamic bottom-up perspective on energy. In determining the possible potential for change by increasing energy efficiency, the demand for energy should not be considered synonymous with the demand for neither energy carriers, nor the measurable service volumes (such as kilometres travelled, square metre conditioned space, etc.), without considering the sociocultural context in which the service is being used or called upon. In summary, the predominant paradigm dealing with the energy system as a technical system managing resources and providing energy carriers should thus be complemented with the view of a socio-technical system facilitating and/or managing the services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2011
Keyword
Energy system, Efficiency, Energy services
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-37543 (URN)10.1007/s12053-010-9103-5 (DOI)000293068600003 ()2-s2.0-79957627689 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20110816

Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-08-15 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. Change by whom?: Four ways of adding actors and governance in backcasting studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Change by whom?: Four ways of adding actors and governance in backcasting studies
2011 (English)In: Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies, ISSN 0016-3287, E-ISSN 1873-6378, Vol. 43, no 8, 880-889 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a lack of actors and governance in backcasting studies. Given that such studies typically are used to explore and promote change, the absence of change agents and their institutions is a shortcoming. This paper presents four approaches to include actors and governance as objects of study in backcasting studies; the stakeholder analysis approach, the social network approach, the governance model approach, and the policy and change approach. In the paper a scenario study of the greening of private transport in Bromma, Stockholm is used as example.

Keyword
Backcasting, Scenario, Governance; Actor
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-43423 (URN)10.1016/j.futures.2011.06.012 (DOI)000295072100016 ()2-s2.0-80051561258 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20111017Available from: 2011-10-17 Created: 2011-10-17 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
6. Compromise and Learning when Negotiating Sustainabilities: the brownfield development of Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Compromise and Learning when Negotiating Sustainabilities: the brownfield development of Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, ISSN 1946-3138, 141-155 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the environmental management of Stockholm's large brownfield development Hammarby Sjöstad through the concept of negotiating sustainabilities. An Environmental Programme injected exceptional aims into an ongoing, ordinary planning process involving developers, consultants, contractors and other stakeholders. In parallel, a project team was established and given the task of realising aims through governing, networking, negotiation and persuasion. Discourse theory is used to analyse the epistemological disagreement between actors on how to operationalise the aims. Theories on governance networks and meta-governance facilitate the understanding of the project team's role in negotiations. The analysis is divided into two parts: ‘Playing the game’ focuses on the aim contents and how these were negotiated between actors, while ‘… but the game was staged’ highlights how negotiations were conditioned from the outside. The results indicate that negotiations on, for example, development contracts were circumscribed by a prehistory of institutional and interactive positioning, thus leaving only a small imprint on the actual outcome. Negotiations during events unburdened by path dependency affected outcomes more. Staging of the project team's activities was initially strong, but gradually waned. Learning within the team was rapid and gradually resulted in a higher level of aim fulfilment. After 10 years, learning is clearly discernible in other Stockholm developments too, such as the Royal Seaport. International interest, as manifested through study visits to the area, remains high. The main general lessons learned include the need for introducing exceptional aims and project organisations early in the project, and the potentially positive effects of active networking to increase actor collaboration and thus the project's field of options.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-73953 (URN)10.1080/19463138.2011.620959 (DOI)
Note

QC 20120203

Available from: 2012-02-02 Created: 2012-02-02 Last updated: 2012-10-12Bibliographically approved

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