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Infrastructures, lock-in, and sustainable urban development. The case of waste incineration in the Göteborg Metropolitan Area

Journal article
Authors Hervé Corvellec
María José Zapata Campos
Patrik Zapata
Published in Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume 50
Pages 32-39
ISSN 0959-6526
Publication year 2013
Published at School of Public Administration
Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 32-39
Language en
Keywords Infrastructure, Waste management, Incineration, Urban governance, Sweden
Subject categories Sociology, Public Administration Studies


This article explains how infrastructures with a sustainability record may evolve over time into a lock-in that slows the emergence of more sustainable urban infrastructures. A study of waste incineration in the Göteborg Metropolitan Area, Sweden, serves as an illustrative case. Taking leads from Unruh (2000, 2002), four rationales of lock-in are identified in the case: institutional, technical, cultural, and material. The article describes how these rationales, one by one and in collaboration, lock-in waste handling in the Göteborg Metropolitan Area to incineration. The article also suggests that these four rationales could serve as a program to unlock urban infrastructures. Asking the question “Are we in a lock-in?” is featured as a practical starting point for planning changes in urban infrastructure governance that contribute to sustainability.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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