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The needs of society: A new understanding of transitions, sustainability and liveability

Listed author(s):
  • de Haan, Fjalar J.
  • Ferguson, Briony C.
  • Adamowicz, Rachelle C.
  • Johnstone, Phillip
  • Brown, Rebekah R.
  • Wong, Tony H.F.
Registered author(s):

    Transitions studies have long been concerned with sustainability and, more recently, liveability. Throughout its growth into a research field in its own right, transitions have been suggested as essential in overcoming the socio-technical lock-ins that make many of today's infrastructural solutions and servicing systems untenable. Likely for that reason, transitions and the systems in need of them are often described in terms of change in infrastructure and services in those societal systems. This article proposes a different point of view of societal systems and transitions, where societal systems are considered to be systems that have evolved to meet societal needs. Using established theory from social psychology a framework of societal needs is developed that allows a more encompassing and systematic description of societal systems and, moreover, has an intrinsic facility to address matters like sustainability and liveability. Rather than discarding the current concepts of transitions studies this viewpoint enables a more flexible underpinning that broadens the scope of theoretical tools. This framework is further elaborated in this article for transitions in urban water servicing and illustrated by an Australian vision for sustainable urban water systems: Water Sensitive Cities.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162513002345
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

    Volume (Year): 85 (2014)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 121-132

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:85:y:2014:i:c:p:121-132
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.09.005
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00401625

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