Browsing this web site you accept techinical and statistical cookies. close [ more info ]


Synchronizing science and technology with human behaviour

Ralf Brand

Published by Earthscan, 2005 | ISBN 1844072479 (p

Sustainable development has tended to occur on two diverging paths: one technology-focused, the other favouring bahavioural solutions. This text links these two paths in a 'co-evolutionary' framework, enabling more sustainable policies and projects to be developed.
Arguing that technical and social realms are much more connected than most people concerned with sustainability tend to admit, the author has devoloped an innovative and integrated strategy that encourages planners, architects and politicians to work with end-users in 'co-designing' technologies and infrastructures that make socially desired behaviours more attractive.
Having explained the nature of the problem, the author outlines key concepts and shared characteristics of co-evolutionary projects and anticipates possible criticism. Through detailed analysis and diverse case studies, the readers is presented with a clear picture of a more holistic approach to planning sustainable cities and regions, wich will be invaluable for students and professionals alike.




Setting the stage

The nature of the problem
The technical-fix approach
The behavioural-fix approach
Ringing bells
The seamless web

Co-evolution in action

Towards a theory of co-evolution
Limits to describe are limits to imagine
Co-evolution as deliberate symbiosis
The memetics of co-evolution

Memes of co-evolution
New technologies provide a new range of choices
New technologies make socially desired behaviours attractive
Participation facilitates synchronic pre-adaptation
New technologies require social embedding
Strategic alliances are more productive than ideological purity
Inventiveness enables a departure from the prevailing discourse
Critical mass is crucial to overcome path dependencies
Definition of co-evolution

Anticipation of criticism
Co-evolution is old wine in new bottles
Established professions will undermine co-evolution
Common sense is not susceptible to co-evolution
Co-evolution is not radical enough
Co-evolution is too radical
Co-evolution sets the fox to guard the geese
Co-evolution only works under strong leadership

Assessing structural frames
Creating awareness of contingency
Assisted problem definition
The search for solutions

Ralf Brand
is a director of international Agenda 21 consulting of the German sustainability performance group and lecturer in the School of planning, architecture and civil engineering at Queen's University, Belfast.