Journal article

Promises and Techno-Politics: Renewable Energy and Malmö’s Vision of a Climate-Smart City. (Article in Science as Culture)

Another article from my thesis has been published:

Parks, D. (2019). Promises and Techno-Politics: Renewable Energy and Malmö’s Vision of a Climate-Smart City. Science as Culture. DOI:10.1080/09505431.2019.1705274

It is available online and will be published as part of a special issue later in 2020.

The article is open access.

Malmö aims to become Sweden’s most climate-smart city and Hyllie, its newest city district, is to lead the way. This ambition is front and centre in the 2011 Climate Contract that envisioned Hyllie as a climate-neutral city district. Malmö signed the Climate Contract with Eon, a multinational energy company. But five years after signing the Climate Contract, Malmö and Eon gave up their goal of a making Hyllie climate-neutral by 2020. The Climate Contract resembles other smart city initiatives that many researchers have criticised for promoting technology-centric, corporation-controlled visions of cities. Assemblage urbanism and the sociology of expectations help to analyse the techno-political dynamics between organisations, visions and urban infrastructure. The realisation of a vision is a techno-political process that requires the coordination of multiple groups around multiple promises. At first, it was the Climate Contract that helped Eon and the city administration to coordinate their activities. Subsequently, Eon made a promise to build wind turbines, and that promise then took precedence in the coordination of their activities. But controversies arose with two publics that emerged in opposition to Eon’s promise: neighbours to the site of the proposed wind turbine and the city’s Property Department. Unable to resolve these controversies, Eon and Malmö acknowledged that they lacked the resources need to make Hyllie climate-neutral. They adapted their original promise to the current state of socio-material assemblages, and Hyllie was demoted from a role model for the climate-smart city to a source of lessons learned.