1st Edition

Infrastructures of Consumption Environmental Innovation in the Utility Industries

    For many years, a uniform and uncontested picture of utility system organization has endured across Europe. Provider and consumer roles have been largely taken for granted, and consumers have had little choice but to use the infrastructure of the only network provider available. Recent transformations have challenged this model. This book examines the ongoing environmental restructuring of consumption and provision in energy, water and waste systems. In accounting for the distinctive environmental qualities, technical features, and institutional dynamics of utility systems this book challenges contemporary conceptualizations of consumers as the autonomous drivers of environmental change. Instead, utilities and users are positioned as the 'co-managers' of utility systems, and processes of environmental innovation are seen to depend on the systemic restructuring of demand.

    Part 1, Introduction * Utilities and users * Infrastructures and environmental innovation * Energy, water and waste: Characteristics and dynamics * Themes, questions and methods * Organization of the book * Part 2, Linking Utilities and Users * Green consumption * Resources, services and interdependent practices * Systems of provision and the construction and management of demand * Insights and implications * Part 3, Infrastructural Change and Sustainable Consumption * Modes of network organization and contexts for consumption * Understanding infrastructural change and transition * Infrastructural dynamics and new contexts for consumption * Part 4, Differentiation and Choice in Water, Electricity and Waste Services * Forms of differentiation in utility systems * Captive consumers in differentiated utility markets * Customers in differentiated utility markets * Citizen-consumers in differentiated utility markets * Consumer-providers in differentiated utility markets * Differentiation and consumer choice * Part 5 Shifting Scales and the Co-production of Green Grids * Four dimensions of scale in utility services * Roles and responsibilities of consumers and providers in distributed utility-service provision * Scale and modes of provision * Part 6, Modes of 'Sustainable' Provision * Sustainable housing initiatives * Conceptualizing new socio-technical arrangements * Constructing new socio-technical interdependencies * New modes of provision and the restructuring of demand * Part 7 Restructuring Demand and Efficiency * The development of demand-side management * Demand-side management approaches in The Netherlands and the UK * New ceilings and thresholds of demand * The structuring of demand * Part 8 Systems of Provision and Innovation * 'Green' connectivities * Systems of 'co-provision' * Recognizing connectivities: Implications and challenges *


    Bas van Vliet is Senior Lecturer at the Environmental Policy Group, Social Sciences Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Heather Chappells is Research Associate, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK. Elizabeth Shove is Reader in Sociology, Lancaster University