Browsing by Author "Henshilwood, Elizabeth"
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- ItemExploring sustainable urban automobility transitions : a transdisciplinary inquiry into the case of an isolated enclave in Cape Town, the South Peninsula(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2018-03) Henshilwood, Elizabeth; Swilling, Mark; Naidoo, Marjorie; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public Leadership.ENGLISH SUMMARY : Automobility, the overarching socio-technical system that maintains global automobile dependence, is a quintessential illustration of the twentieth century taking its revenge on the twenty-first (Dennis & Urry 2009). The reliance on private cars as the dominant mode of transport is having significant social, environmental and economic impacts on societies and hindering the global quest for sustainability. The research draws on sustainable transition theory, current approaches to sustainable cities, and sustainable transport literature to explore alternative transitions for a local manifestation of automobile dependence. The literature subsequently suggests that local socio-technical systems warrant a local response given its potential to either ‘accelerate, reshape or even disrupt’ a citywide or national mobility transition (Hodson & Marvin 2010: 480). The literature further points to the benefit of employing new ways of researching to recognise the complex nature of urban transportation. Transition theory has emerged as an academic field that explores ways in which such sustainable transitions can take place over time, with the ‘Multi-Level-Perspective’ (MLP) as a trusted theoretical framework. However, critics have pointed to potential shortcomings of this framework, in calling for transition analyses that are more sensitive to spatial and scalar characteristics - urging researchers to ask not only how transitions take place, but also where it takes place. This study is a direct response to this critique in presenting a ‘geographically embedded’ (Coenen, Benneworth & Truffer 2012) analysis of an isolated enclave in Cape Town. The South Peninsula is characterised by areas of spectacular natural beauty, yet constrained regarding urban expansion and accessibility due to the mountainous terrain and areas of protected biodiversity. The transport challenges are consequently plentiful, and social dynamics around increased development pressure and basic service delivery needs are tense. The research followed a participatory approach in conducting a transdisciplinary inquiry exploring potential short-term solutions to everyday reliance on the car. It included a pluralistic methodological approach combining a variety of research methods including the case study method (Yin 2009), netnography to study societal behaviour on a purposive social media group (Kozinets 2010), and a theoretical thematic analysis to reflect on the application of a transition theory framework, the MLP (Geels 2002). In support of transdisciplinary research (Hadorn et al. 2008; Brown, Harris & Russell 2010; Pohl 2010), principal findings are grouped into potential societal and scientific contributions. To this end, the research uncovered an interest for bottom-up societal solutions such as a local school bus and modern carpooling systems based on mobile phone technology. The study contributes to knowledge (science) in providing a transition analysis, using the MLP, that shows a myriad of forces and actors at play that renders a transition to a sustainable alternative in the near future doubtful. On the other hand, the research supports a critique of the MLP in showing that physical space (isolated enclave) and relational space (shared beliefs and perceptions) are significant factors that sustain inaction on the part of residents and authorities situated across geographic and institutional scales.