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A Cable Laid Is a Cable Played: On the Hibernation Logic behind Urban Infrastructure Mines
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3137-1571
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2013 (English)In: The Journal of urban technology, ISSN 1063-0732, E-ISSN 1466-1853, Vol. 20, no 3, 85-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Our societies are reliant on metals to such an extent that the total amounts of some of them in the built environment are comparable in size to the remaining amounts in known mountain ores. Because of concerns about mineral scarcity, the United Nations has assessed alternative sources for metal extraction and targeted urban areas in general and infrastructure systems in particular, since these are large, spatially concentrated and rich in metals. Referring to the possibility of recovering these metal stocks, infrastructure systems constitute what material flow researchers has conceptually termed “urban mines.” While most urban infrastructure is in use, significant amounts of cables and pipes have been disconnected and remain in their subsurface locations; they are “hibernating.” In this article, we analyze the occurrence of such hibernation in the Swedish city of Norrköping's urban infrastructure mine where, we know from a previous study, that every fourth kilo of infrastructure is discarded. Our applied perspective is different from the logic of system expansion as a way to meet increased demand often found in the field of infrastructure studies since we are interested in how systems are disconnected and left behind. This enables us to offer a refined understanding of the concepts of infrastructure “decline” and infrastructure “cold spots.” We argue that to prevent the increase of dormant infrastructures and to engage in the urban mining of already dormant infrastructures, we must develop a sensibility to the materiality of derelict infrastructure components and the underlying causes for why they form different kinds of spatial patterns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2013. Vol. 20, no 3, 85-103 p.
Keyword [en]
Urban Mining; Urban Infrastructure; Infrastructure “Cold Spots;” Hibernation; Norrko¨ping
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-98054DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2013.809222ISI: 000324670300006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-98054DiVA: diva2:651624
Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Underneath Norrköping: An Urban Mine of Hibernating Infrastructure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Underneath Norrköping: An Urban Mine of Hibernating Infrastructure
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the subsurface infrastructure in the Swedish city of Norrköping from an urban mining perspective. Urban mining is a broadly defined term for different strategies that regard the built environment as a resource base for materials. In this study, the focus is on three base metals that exist in large quantities in infrastructure parts: iron, copper and aluminium. A special focus is given to the parts of Norrköping’s infrastructure that are not in-use and thus constitute a ”hibernating stock” that contains recyclable metals.

The main results of this study are twofold. First, a quantitative assessment of the hibernating stocks of urban infrastructure gives answers to how large the stocks are and where in Norrköping they are located. This was performed using a spatially informed Material Flow Analysis to arrive at a recycling potential in terms of weight and spatial concentration. Second, a qualitative assessment was made regarding how these hibernating stocks of urban infrastructure come into existence. An infrastructure studies perspective was used to outline three patterns with their own sets of ”hibernation” logics. These logics give rise to different prerequisites for the implementation of urban mining in practice.

A main argument of this study’s cover essay is that both of the above outlined kinds of knowledge are needed to engage in urban mining with confidence. Thus, the main focus of the cover essay text is to describe how the two different perspectives of Material Flow Analysis and infrastructure studies were combined into a coherent research approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 53 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1617
Keyword
Urban mining, infrastructure, hibernating stocks, Material Flow Analysis, infrastructure studies, Norrköping
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-98056 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-98056 (DOI)LIU-TEK-LIC-2013:51 (Local ID)978-91-7519-521-6 (ISBN)LIU-TEK-LIC-2013:51 (Archive number)LIU-TEK-LIC-2013:51 (OAI)
Presentation
2013-10-04, A30, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2013-12-19Bibliographically approved
2. The Urk World: Hibernating Infrastructures and the Quest for Urban Mining
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Urk World: Hibernating Infrastructures and the Quest for Urban Mining
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Urkarnas Värld : Infrastrukturer i dvala och staden som resursbas
Abstract [en]

This PhD thesis concerns urban mining, an umbrella term for different recycling strategies aimed to recover materials from the built environment. More specifically, it focuses on hibernating urban infrastructures, that is: cables and pipes that have been left behind in their subsurface location after they were disconnected. I term this subsurface urban realm of system rejects the “Urk World”. “Urk” is short for “urkopplad”, the Swedish word for “disconnected”, an abbreviation often found on old infrastructure maps denoting discarded system parts. Since urks contain high concentrations of copper, my normative stance is that the Urk World should be “mined” as a contribution towards diminishing the persistently wasteful handling of mineral resources in society.

The thesis has three focus areas. The first of these discusses how the Urk World has emerged, that is: how the creation of urks is sustained in sociotechnical processes related to infrastructure’s provision. The second concerns the potential of urk mining, how much copper the Urk World contains, where these quantities are located and by which implications they could be recovered. The third focus area is devoted to the politics of urks, and is concerned with the political embeddedness of infrastructure and where politics might intervene for the sake of increased urk recovery.

Five papers complete the thesis. The first paper investigates how much copper, aluminium and steel there is in the Urk World of the Swedish city of Norrköping, and how these quantities are spatially dispersed in the urban environment. The second paper is based on interviews with system owners and repair crews, and investigates how urks come into existence in relation to three different infrastructural processes: maintenance, larger installation projects and shutdown. The third paper describes how environmental systems analysis can be beneficially coupled with theories and methods from the social sciences to create knowledge useful to aid the development of urk recycling schemes. The fourth article makes use of the inherent ambiguities of urks to investigate a spectrum of locations where politics aimed for increased urk recovery can intervene as well as what is at stake there. The fifth and final paper investigates urks in Linköping’s power grid in spatial and weight terms, and analyses the implications of urk recovery from several different viewpoints.

In overall terms, the major contribution of the thesis is how it improves the knowledge of societal stocks of materials, thereby giving an increased recognition of the built environment as a resource base. In overall scientific terms, it sets an example of how a coherent interdisciplinary research design can provide knowledge useful for the implementation of urk recycling schemes as well as for political decision–making for increased urk recovery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 99 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1720
Keyword
urban mining; infrastructure; material flow analysis; hibernating stocks; copper
National Category
Social Sciences Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122758 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-122758 (DOI)978–91–7685–907–0 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-11, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council FormasVINNOVA
Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-20 Last updated: 2015-11-20Bibliographically approved

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Wallsten, BjörnJohansson, NilsKrook, Joakim

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