Journal article

Energy transition in the nebular city: connecting transition thinking, metabolism studies, and urban design

25 Mar 2018
Description

Transforming urban infrastructures is an essential part of creating more sustainable urban regions. But rethinking these complex systems requires a better understanding of their spatial dimensions and their relation with urban morphology and spatial structure. This paper addresses that gap by examining different conceptualizations of technical infrastructure and space in science, technology and society studies (STS), transition thinking, urban metabolism studies, and urban political ecology, and draws connections with the spatial perspective of urban planning and design. It illustrates and tests these concepts through the case of energy transition in the Flemish region of Belgium. Transport and supply networks have played a crucial role in facilitating, structuring, and reproducing the region’s characteristic dispersed and energy-intensive urban landscape. Bringing different disciplinary perspectives together, the research broadens the conceptualization of the spatial dimension in transition thinking, and identifies useful concepts and design parameters for urban design to engage with the technical and socio-political complexity of transforming urban infrastructure. It reveals the energy transition as an inherently spatial project, and explores the spatially and socio-politically transformative potential of the transition towards a new energy system. 

Identifiers: 
doi: 
10.3390/su10040955
Volume: 
10
Issue: 
4
License Type: 
CC BY
Language: 
English
Peer Reviewed: 
Yes
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