The Industrial Ecology of the Göteborg City Region — a first appraisal


An infrastructure system – here, the industrial ecology of Gothenburg — is more important for society than we usually credit it for (cf. Technology is society made durable, Latour 1990) and is taken for granted by most inhabitants. Gothenburg is an unusually well-developed and interconnected infrastructure system. The first district heating facility was put in operation in 1952. Soon enough, waste was re-used and recycled into energy, into both electricity and heat. With time, more varied materials and sources became integrated into the system to also produce biogas and compost. The project makes a historiographic description of how the industrial ecology of the Gothenburg city region developed since the Gothenburg technical environmental flow system is unique in size, age, diversity of flows and functions. The study describes environmental flows and their actors in a networked organization. The focus on interconnectivity of the different actors, flows and sectors of Gothenburg requires the combination of several theoretical fields. Such theoretical fields include Networked Learning, which takes a relational stance in which learning takes place both in relation to others, and in relation to learning resources (Dirckinck-Homfeld et al., 2009); STS (Science Technology and Society), which study how technical innovation are affected by social, political and cultural values, and how these innovation affect, in turn, political, social and cultural values; (Joerges & Novotny, 2003); and Urban Metabolism, which uses models to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of the energy and materials within cities, such as Material Flow Analysis of a city, and provides a metaphorical framework to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions. Preliminary findings will be presented.

International Society for Industrial Ecology 2015
Maud Lanau
Maud Lanau
Assistant Professor

My research interests include socioeconomic metabolism and understanding the potential of built environment stocks for circular economy.