Hansen, Ole Erik2; Søndergård, Bent2; Stærdahl, Jens1; Gyldenkærne, Hans Jacob2
1 The Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University2 Environment, Energy, Transport - Regulation, Innovation, and Climate Policy, Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University
The article suggests that deliberate planning for sustainability demands a focus on the transition of socio-technical systems in order to establish robust and more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. This implies the necessity of a new perspective for environmental planning and policy. Deliberate planning for sustainability becomes a question of addressing governance structures of socio-technical systems, calling attention to how such governance structures emerge, stabilize and become dominant, which functions governance structures have to serve to become efficient, and how they can be made subject to deliberate and purposeful shaping and transition. It is not possible for government or others in detail to decide what future practices are the most sustainable. Government, however, has an important role in order to stimulate reflexive processes in actor networks in existing or developing socio-technical systems in order to integrate the concept of sustainability as a driver for the deliberate and purposeful shaping and transition. The article discusses the requirements to effective governance networks and governing of governance networks. Research within innovation systems, transition management and technology systems combined with planning and experimental activities provides both a theoretical and empirical body of knowledge of such governance processes. The article discusses how this perspective can be used in relation to the process of developing bio-fuel systems for transportation and defines a range of research questions that have to be addressed in order to examine how government can stimulate an effective governance of environmental transition of socio-technical systems.