Book

The politics of urban sustainability transitions (2019)

knowledge, power and governance

in: Routledge Research in Sustainable Urbanism

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Abstract

Cities, the world over, are increasingly recognised to be both a principal source of the environmental and social sustainability challenges facing contemporary society and a critical site for addressing these challenges. Socio-technical systems are at the heart of these challenges as they configure central aspects of urban life: from mobility and energy infrastructures to leisure activities and patterns of mobility. This observation has led to substantial interest in how societies might initiate and actively steer radical transitions in these systems in the pursuit of sustainable urban futures. This book contributes to emerging debates on the politics of urban transitions by examining the intimate interlinkages between knowledge, power and governance. Drawing upon real-world examples of urban governance, the authors explore the strategies, struggles and controversies involved in configuring knowledge and how knowledge constructions influence governance by rendering some concerns and issues visible and valuable, while obscuring others. The book draws attention to how novel ways of conceptualising, knowing and observing socio-technical systems may be harnessed productively in redefining the power relationships underpinning unsustainable practices. Understanding these dynamics can ultimately inform and enable new approaches to support much-needed urban transitions. This book provides a compelling examination of urban knowledge politics for the twenty-first century that will be of great value to academics, policy-makers and practitioners working in the social sciences, urban studies, geography, urban governance or sustainability transitions.