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Smarter cities: socio-technical innovation towards sustainable urban transport futures. The case of re-establishing utility cycling as a mainstream mode in London

Smarter cities: socio-technical innovation towards sustainable urban transport futures. The case of re-establishing utility cycling as a mainstream mode in London

Paschek, Fanny (2017) Smarter cities: socio-technical innovation towards sustainable urban transport futures. The case of re-establishing utility cycling as a mainstream mode in London. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

Cities globally face pressing sustainability challenges. This is particularly evident in the urban transport sector, where increasing and increasingly frictionless mobility continues to be promoted as a key driver of local economic growth and development. There is, therefore, increasing pressure to mitigate against arising externalities through technological innovation. Evidence, however, suggests that technologically-induced efficiency gains in the transport sector are likely to be short-lived in the absence of simultaneous changes in mobility cultures and transport practices.
This thesis, therefore, argues that innovation towards more sustainable urban transport futures must take the form of strategic socio-technical innovation to foster transitions from dominant, yet unsustainable, urban transport systems to more sustainable ones. In doing so the thesis contributes to existing literatures on socio-technical innovation and sustainability transitions. Specifically, it articulates a crossover to a second literature, that of cultural political economy, to enable more coherent theorisation and empirical analysis of the role micro-level structure-agency interactions play in mediating socio-technical change or inertia observed at the macro-level.
Empirically, the thesis presents a case study of the ongoing efforts to re-establish utility cycling as a mainstream mode within the road transport system of London, UK. Analysis of the case proceeds in two steps. Findings suggest that, while the transition appears to be progressing well, as indicated by the rise of cycling on mainstream transport policy-making and practice agendas, prospects for a radical transition to more cycling in London are mixed: the mode remains perceived primarily as auxiliary, tasked with remedying the externalities of the motorised regime. The analysis further finds that cycling advocates, from campaigners to transport practitioners, continue to face strategic barriers impeding their efforts to press for more and better provision for cycling, though the thesis also presents compelling evidence of cycling advocates exercising agency to strategically exploit or subvert these barriers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban transport, socio-technical innovation, transitions, cycling
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Systems Management & Strategy
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 16:58
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/21328

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