Modelling Transitions : Virtues, Vices, Visions of the Future book cover
1st Edition

Modelling Transitions
Virtues, Vices, Visions of the Future

ISBN 9781032239200
Published December 13, 2021 by Routledge
276 Pages

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Book Description

Modelling Transitions shows what computational, formal and data-driven approaches can and could mean for sustainability transitions research, presenting the state-of-the-art and exploring what lies beyond.

Featuring contributions from many well-known authors, this book presents the various benefits of modelling for transitions research. More than just taking stock, it also critically examines what modelling of transformative change means and could mean for transitions research and for other disciplines that study societal changes. This includes identifying a variety of approaches currently not part of the portfolios of transitions modellers. Far from only singing praise, critical methodological and philosophical introspection are key aspects of this important book.

This book speaks to modellers and non-modellers alike who value the development of robust knowledge on transitions to sustainability, including colleagues in congenial fields. Be they students, researchers or practitioners, everyone interested in transitions should find this book relevant as reference, resource and guide.

Table of Contents

1  Foreword: The Importance of Transitions Modelling

2 Prologue

3 Transitions Modelling: Status, Challenges and Strategies

Part 1: Virtues and Vices

4 Making it a Science: Aspirations and Apprehensions of Transitions Research

5 Modelling and Social Science: Problems and Promises

Part 2: State of the Art

6 Modelling the Multi-level Perspective: the MATISSE Agent-based Model

7 Considering Actor Behaviour: Agent-based Modelling of Transitions

8 System Dynamics Methodology and Research: Opportunities for Transitions Research 

9 Socio-technical Representation of Electricity Provision Across Sales

Part 3: The Future of Modelling Transitions

10 Models as Scenario Tools for Developing Robust Transformative Plans

11 Participatory Modelling in Sustainability Transitions Research

12 Data-driven Transitions Research: Methodological Considerations for Event-Based Analysis

13 Exploratory Modelling of Transitions: An Emerging Approach for Coping With Uncertainties in Transitions Research

14 Epilogue: Quo Vadis Transitions Modelling?

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Enayat A. Moallemi is a Research Fellow at School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne. His research is focused on computational and participatory approaches for modelling socio-ecological systems under the uncertainties of future global change. Enayat's research is applied to a range of areas, such as renewable energies, sustainable mobility, and the Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to advance robust decision-making and adaptive planning. Enayat obtained his PhD from the University of Melbourne, where he worked on model-based energy policy analysis. In his PhD, Enayat developed a theoretical transition framework and an exploratory system dynamics model for investigating future energy transition pathways under uncertainty. Enayat was a visiting researcher at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, TU Delft (The Netherlands) in 2016 and at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe (Germany) in 2018.

Fjalar J. de Haan is a theoretician, developing computational and mathematical approaches for a scientific understanding of transitions to sustainability. Fjalar has an MSc in theoretical physics (Leiden University) and did his PhD on transitions (Erasmus University). He has been exploring the fringe of transitions theory and modelling in a variety of sectoral contexts including health care, urban water management and energy, as part of international, interdisciplinary teams, project based with industry, and in curiosity-driven solo projects. Fjalar currently is Lecturer on Sustainability Transitions at the Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne.


"This volume is the first of its kind to collect viewpoints on formal modelling in transition studies. It provides details on modelling philosophy as well as how to apply basic techniques, such as system dynamics or agent-based modelling. A limited team of authors guarantees coherence and complementarity of the contributions."
Jeroen van den Bergh, ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, ICREA, Autonomous University of Barcelona and VU University Amsterdam


"Modelling is the language that underpins policy and industrial decision making. This book makes a wide-reaching contribution to boost global efforts to build and apply formal models of transitions research, so that this exciting multi-disciplinary field can fulfil its huge potential to address critical problems such as the global energy transition!"
Professor Neil Strachan; Director, University College London Energy Institute


"Contemporary society is dominated by ever more complex transitions and transformations ranging from new technologies to human value systems. The contributors to this book succeed in showing how simulations, particularly those built around on systems dynamics and agent-based models, can provide new insights into change and difference. Essential reading for analysts and policy-makers involved in our social future."
Michael Batty, University College London