Modelling socio-technical transformations in wastewater treatment - A methodological proposal

Autor(en): Panebianco, Silke
Pahl-Wostl, Claudia 
Stichwörter: agent-based modelling; Business & Economics; Engineering; Engineering, Industrial; Management; Operations Research & Management Science; small-scale treatment plants; socio-technical transformation; TECHNOLOGY; technology diffusion; URBAN; wastewater treatment
Erscheinungsdatum: 2006
Volumen: 26
Ausgabe: 9
Startseite: 1090
Seitenende: 1100
The introduction of new technologies into established systems often involves major socio-technical transformation processes. Institutional context and technical systems frequently co-evolve over long periods of time, helping to stabilise each other, thus, preventing change. This applies in particular to the introduction of small-scale, decentralised technologies in wastewater treatment where prevailing systems are highly centralised. This problem is illustrated for a case study in the former German Democratic Republic. Since the human dimension has been largely neglected in the design and implementation of technical infrastructures, there is a lack of appropriate scientific approaches to analyse the dynamics of change in complex socio-technical systems. This paper introduces agent based modelling as a methodological approach to improve the understanding of the adoption and diffusion of small-scale technologies in wastewater treatment. A conceptual agent-based model is developed, which allows representing the complex dynamics of the socio-technical system. The model is particularly suited to support collective learning and decision-making processes required in managing the transformation processes. Instead of presenting results from the model and its application in participatory settings, this paper attempts to encourage a discussion process on methodological innovations to deal with analysis and facilitation of transformation processes in socio-technical systems. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 01664972
DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2005.09.017

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