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A complexity approach to defining urban energy systems

  • Urban energy systems have been commonly considered to be socio-technical systems within the boundaries of an urban area. However, recent literature challenges this notion in that it urges researchers to look at the wider interactions and influences of urban energy systems wherein the socio-technical sphere is expanded to political, environmental and economic realms as well. In addition to the inter-sectoral linkages, the diverse agents and multilevel governance trends of energy sustainability in the dynamic environment of cities make the urban energy landscape a complex one. There is a strong case then for establishing a new conceptualisation of urban energy systems that builds upon these contemporary understandings of such systems. WeUrban energy systems have been commonly considered to be socio-technical systems within the boundaries of an urban area. However, recent literature challenges this notion in that it urges researchers to look at the wider interactions and influences of urban energy systems wherein the socio-technical sphere is expanded to political, environmental and economic realms as well. In addition to the inter-sectoral linkages, the diverse agents and multilevel governance trends of energy sustainability in the dynamic environment of cities make the urban energy landscape a complex one. There is a strong case then for establishing a new conceptualisation of urban energy systems that builds upon these contemporary understandings of such systems. We argue that the complex systems approach can be suitable for this. In this paper, we propose a pilot framework for understanding urban energy systems using complex systems theory as an integrating plane. We review the multiple streams of urban energy literature to identify the contemporary discussions and construct this framework that can serve as a common ontological understanding for the different scholarships studying urban energy systems. We conclude the paper by highlighting the ways in which the framework can serve some of the relevant communities.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Sumedha Basu, Catherine S. E. Bale, Timon Wehnert, Kilian Topp
Year of Publication:2019
Language:English
Source Title (English):Cities
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2019.05.027
Volume:95
Division:Zukünftige Energie- und Industriesysteme
Energie-, Verkehrs- und Klimapolitik
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Licence:License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International