The knowledge politics of urban sustainable energy experiments

In this breakfast seminar in the Cities and Societies series, Professor Harald Rohracher from Linköping University will give a presentation based upon  material from three Swedish cities which have set up ‘smart city’ experiments and pilot projects.

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Photo: Colourbox

Breakfast is served from 08:30 and the lecture starts at 08:45.

Experiments, pilot and demonstration projects have increasingly become a strategy in governing an urban low-carbon transition. While most of these experiments claim to include a broad range of social actors, they may differ significantly in practice – the socio-technical configurations and models of low-carbon energy systems they propagate and the kind of knowledge they produce. In this presentation I draw on material from three Swedish cities which have set up ‘smart city’ experiments and pilot projects in different arrangements. Based on these case studies I will ask to which degree these projects actually comply with the discourses of openness, change, and learning they are embedded in, or whether they are caught in a demonstration logic and are mainly expected to create legitimacy for the ecological intentions of established actors in the energy sector and cement their dominant position, to confirm the doability of the envisaged changes and to guarantee further resource flows and political support for certain ideas in favor of others. The presentation will ask to which extent the different constellations of smart city experiments also represent different kinds of knowledge politics and thus for different types of knowledge which is produced, different ways of spreading it, and different types of actors who are able to appropriate the knowledge generated in these publicly supported experiments.


Portrait Harald Rohracher
Photo: Linkøping University

Harald Rohracher is Professor of Technology and Social Change at Linköping University since 2012 and head of Tema Technology and Social Change 2015-17. He has been co-founder and director of the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ), Graz, Austria (1999-2007), Joseph A. Schumpeter Fellow at Harvard University (2009-10) and Simon Visiting Professor at Manchester University (2013). He is Associate Editor of the journal ‘Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions’. In his research he is interested in innovation policy, urban energy transitions and more broadly the governance of socio-technical change. Particular focus is put on the role of users and civil society in innovation processes as well as the role of ICT in the transformation of infrastructures. See employee web page at Linkøping University


The seminar is financed by UiO:Energy.



Cities and Society and Include
Published Mar. 2, 2020 1:02 PM - Last modified Mar. 2, 2020 1:44 PM