This paper presents findings from the study of a Swedish municipality, Norrköping. The empirical focus of the study is on the role of transport in municipal planning and transport’s potential contribution to urban sustainability in the municipality. The case study highlights a problem familiar to many municipalities – a transport sector largely dependent on fossil fuelled private vehicles generates significant impacts on the climate and environment, along with other economic and social costs. However, despite awareness of these negative impacts, it is difficult to generate consensus and implement measures to reduce use of private vehicles and enable transition towards a sustainable transport sector.
In Sweden, municipalities have exclusive planning monopolies and an extensive range of other powers. Despite this, many Swedish municipalities are struggling to reduce car dependency and enable sustainable mobility. This paper uses perspectives from different disciplines to explore why, presenting results from a document study, survey, workshops and scenarios. The paper questions the extent to which the municipality and its governance processes are capable of contributing toward sustainable development, both locally and globally, in the absence of radical measures to promote sustainable urban development.
In particular, the paper addresses a challenging question: why, despite having adopted objectives to promote sustainable mobility, does the municipality fail to implement measures enabling sustainable mobility? Why is there a difference between words and actions? Moreover, the study identifies comparable municipalities in other European countries with substantially higher performance in sustainable mobility than Norrköping, and considers, what would happen if Norrköping adopted similar targets and policies?
This presentation seeks to inform an international audience about the contested nature of transportation in Swedish urban sustainability debates, and seeks input to help develop the paper and future research on this theme.
Climate Change Research in Practice – Tyndall PhD Conference 2014, University of Manchester, 23-25 April