A fractal approach to sustainability transition of urban infrastructures

    Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractScientific

    Abstract

    Despite current political-economic debate on sustainability, which highlights topics such as resource efficiency, circular economy and decentralised production systems, in urban planning, tools and policies are lacking to put these prominent concepts into practice. We claim that one of the answers lies in the organisation of infrastructures. Infrastructure planning poses major, yet not fully uncovered potentials, which can help cities proceed toward sustainable transition. Infrastructures conduct human-natural resource flows and determine the degree of urban metabolia, and as such, lay the grounds for sustainability and resilience. Depending on their qualitative properties and production infrastructures either allow or hold back the emergence of more resource efficient, equally accessible practices and evolutionary behaviour. The resilient capacity of infrastructures to resist, sustain or enable systemic transition depends on their very persistence, the way they are organised, their configuration and governance.
    We address the role and future organisation of infrastructures by claiming, first, that we would need to consider decentralised infrastructures, which are also integrated and multifunctional. Second, this would imply introducing practices of collaborative governance and integration of bottom-up and top-down policies. We explore these two sustainability ideas with an empirical case study of the Hiedanranta urban regeneration project in Tampere, Finland. We start by conceptualizing the relationship between fractal thinking and the need to develop decentralized, integrated and multifunctional infrastructures. We suppose that fractality is potentially useful, because sustainability transition requires systemic change and multiscalar understanding. Fractal systems exhibit self-similarity across scales. Additionally, we use data from an envisioning project and stakeholder workshops dealing with Hiedanranta. We conclude by presenting central elements for further research on the relationship of fractality and infrastructures in the context of urban sustainability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages73
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017
    EventThe 13th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference: hopefulNESS - University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
    Duration: 6 Jun 20178 Jun 2017

    Conference

    ConferenceThe 13th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference
    CountryFinland
    CityTampere
    Period6/06/178/06/17

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