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Households as infrastructure junctions in urban sustainability transitions: The case of hot water metering
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3945-0183
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2019 (English)In: Urban Studies, ISSN 0042-0980, E-ISSN 1360-063X, Vol. 56, no 11, p. 2372-2386Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The integration of infrastructure domains and resource flows such as electricity, heat, water and waste increasingly gains currency in strategies to achieve more resource-efficient, smart and resilient cities. While widely discussed concepts of a nexus of resource systems, such as energy-water-food, aim at a more optimised and integrative management of resource flows, this article investigates how infrastructure integration is accomplished through the establishment of new interfaces and junctions between formerly separated systems. In particular, it focuses on households as an arena where different urban infrastructures intersect and different kinds of sometimes contradicting demands are imposed to co-manage these infrastructures, such as in the case of own electricity generation from photovoltaics along with the charging of electric cars and the management of household energy consumption. The installation of meters and the constant monitoring of resource use and consumption feedback to household members is regarded as a crucial element in such a transition towards more sustainable urban infrastructures. Empirically, the article studies the introduction of hot tap water meters in urban households in Sweden and the resistance and reactions of these households to such a metering regime. Our study shows how meters as new junctions between energy suppliers and users but also between separate infrastructures of electricity, hot tap water and room heating become contested political terrains which are linked to broader socio-political questions of urban change. In contrast to system management perspectives, such an inside-out approach rather lends itself to context-sensitive and navigational governance approaches of infrastructure integration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD , 2019. Vol. 56, no 11, p. 2372-2386
Keywords [en]
built environment; consumption; environment; sustainability; resource efficiency; technology; Smart Cities; urban infrastructure
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-159233DOI: 10.1177/0042098018815618ISI: 000476527400011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-159233DiVA, id: diva2:1341862
Available from: 2019-08-12 Created: 2019-08-12 Last updated: 2019-08-12

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