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The Incongruities of Sustainable Sociotechnical Transitions Maurie J. Cohen Graduate Program in Environmental Policy Studies New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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Presentation on theme: "The Incongruities of Sustainable Sociotechnical Transitions Maurie J. Cohen Graduate Program in Environmental Policy Studies New Jersey Institute of Technology."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Incongruities of Sustainable Sociotechnical Transitions Maurie J. Cohen Graduate Program in Environmental Policy Studies New Jersey Institute of Technology University Heights Newark, NJ

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9 Regime Macro Meso Micro Transition Management—A Multilevel Perspective

10 Landscape Macro-scale, external conditions characterized by slowly changing features (e.g., culture, social values, geopolitics). Regime

11 Niche Protected areas where non-mainstream values can co-exist with conventional practices. Regime

12 Trajectory/Regime Meso-scale includes technologies, user practices, social networks, regulations, infrastructure, and technoscientific knowledge. Regime

13 “Advocates of sustainable transition management do not always appreciate the deep ambivalence of sustainability as a category and its power as legitimizing discourse…Arguably equally important and largely neglected in the management literature are those transitions which appear to be heading in exactly the opposite direction, which emerge from left field “managed” by actors whose interest are not part of the consensus vision and whose “malignant” priorities lie elsewhere…How should those concerned with sustainability respond to the increasingly rapid, powerful, and expertly orchestrated diffusion of unsustainable technologies, practices, and images?” Elizabeth Shove and Gordon Walker, Environment and Planning A (2007)

14 “[I]n the context of sustainable development…[g]oals are vague, ambivalent, or conflicted. We are plagued by uncertainties and ignorance, and power is distributed among many actors and across many subsystems. In other words, we are not sure, or we cannot agree, exactly, where we want to go. We do not fully understand complex, evolving, and interlinked natural and social systems, and power is so broadly dispersed that policy-makers lack the ability to make things happen.” James Meadowcroft, Environment and Planning A (2007)

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16 Daedalus and Icarus

17 Leonardo DaVinci’s Conceptions of Air Flight

18 Charles Ritchel’s Flying Machine (1878) Norman Bel Geddes' Flying Car (1945) Contemporary Concepts of Autonomous Air Flight

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25 NASA aims to improve the mobility of U.S. citizens by reducing travel time for both short and long journeys. This requires a wide range of innovations and improvements. For example, NASA is working on methods to integrate small aircraft and public use landing facilities into the National Air Transportation System to significantly reduce travel time into and out of every community. —NASA, Strategic Plan, 2000

26 Photo courtesy NASA Artist concept of SATS aircraft Small Aircraft Transportation System

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29 One vision of the future from 1932.

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36 Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard’s solar powered airplane


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