Citizens are key stakeholders when striving for “socio-technical system change”. Therefore, we brought together community representatives, our MOTION partners from the SuSMo and SATURN projects and Professor Johan Schot as sustainability transitions experts to discuss the barriers and opportunities for a transition to greener living and sustainable communities.
The need for a sustainability transition is omnipresent. One approach that continues to gain traction is so-called “socio-technical system change”, in which our systems of provision, e.g. the transport and healthcare system but also food and electricity provision, are reconsidered entirely, with sustainability as the defining factor. “Socio-technical” relates to the assumption that technological innovation, like the electric car, can only lead to long-term impact if connected with wider social and behavioural change, like letting go of the car as the dominant mode of transport and vice versa. In other words, innovation and social change need to go hand in hand to achieve a true transition to sustainable living.
As part of the MOTION project, we’re collaborating with three partner projects that offer alternative and more sustainable solutions for providing societal needs and thus strive to contribute to socio-technical system change. Together, the MOTION team and the partner projects co-construct what we call a Theory of Change – a clear definition of each projects’ long term transformative goals and how to reach them. In the following phase of MOTION, a framework for monitoring, evaluation and learning is set up to continuously review the transformative change process.
The MOTION partner projects take initiative to overhaul unsustainable practices in different societal systems. SuSMo does so by delivering a vision for cities to lead the way in decarbonising our transport systems. It introduces sustainable shared mobility solutions that can rapidly reduce transport carbon emissions, improve air quality and enable a better, more user-centric travel systems. The SATURN project aims at transforming the way urban land is used and managed. It proposes framing nature and landscapes within one holistic vision in which the interdependencies of social, economic and planetary well-being are noted. Hereby, a systemic and sustainable approach to connecting urban and rural landscapes is to be established.
SuSMo and SATURN are two of many emerging initiatives that strive for socio-technical system change by contributing to more sustainable communities and cities. Which barriers are they facing? Which opportunities do they offer for long-term sustainable living? And what is our role as citizens in all this? How can we contribute to breaking down barriers for more sustainable communities?