Industrial ecology for sustainableurban development- the case of Hammarby Sjöstad

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Sammanfattning: Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities largely dependent on resources and ecosystem services from outside their physical boundaries. Correspondingly, urban resource needs and waste generation have serious worldwide ecological consequences, and urban areas have become a primary driver of environmental change. In response, various sustainable urban developments have been initiated worldwide. Quite a few of these rely on strategies giving urban areas the characteristics of ecosystems, i.e., fostering urban symbiosis by integrating infrastructural systems to optimise the environmental performance of the system as a whole.Whether or not the strategy of urban symbiosis actually contributes to sustainable urban development is, however, debated. It may support only short-term system optimisation, hindering the implementation of new technology crucial for the longterm environmental improvement of society, as that might require no symbiosis but substitution. Or it might actually support a complete transition to sustainable urban development.Consequently, this thesis explores the research question “How can urban symbiosis contribute to sustainable urban development?” using the implementation of urban symbiosis strategies in Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm, Sweden, as a single-case study. The choice of a single-case study approach was an attractive approach as the sustainable development strategy implemented in Hammarby Sjöstad was clear and consistent: the approach aimed at sustainable urban development by using innovative technical solutions such as urban symbiosis, and not by changing the behaviour of the inhabitants of the district. This fortuitous “natural experiment” was useful, as strategies for sustainable development are often difficult to evaluate since they are often not very clearly or consistently applied.Using results based on literature reviews, in-depth interviews, discussions with focus groups, and quantitative data, this thesis concludes that urban symbiosis strategies do not directly respond to path dependence, and that such strategies are as dependent on radical behavioural change as are transition management strategies. In addition, urban symbiosis strategies can optimise existing infrastructural systems and advance the planning of the sustainable urban district.