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The coevolution of society and technology: understanding the dynamics of communities and utility infrastructures

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3 Author(s)
P. J. Jeffrey ; Int. Ecotechnol. Res. Centre, Cranfield Univ., Milton Keynes, UK ; R. A. F. Seaton ; T. Stephenson

The ability of our societies to adapt in a sustainable way depends, in part, upon the coevolution of communities with those utilities which deliver fundamentally important services and products such as water, waste disposal, energy, telecommunications and transport. The paper seeks to contribute to such an understanding by advancing current thinking on the design of technological infrastructures. The focal theme of the paper is an examination of the contribution of novel `small footprint' technologies in promoting the flexibility of utility supply systems. Some background to the theory of adaptive technology infrastructures is provided with references to case study material from the history and evolution of utility supply networks. Several specific `small footprint' technologies with applications in the water, electricity and other fields are then discussed and their role within an adaptive technological infrastructure explained. Finally, we report on the emergence of new tools for the design of adaptive technological infrastructures

Published in:

Technology and Society, 1997. 'Technology and Society at a Time of Sweeping Change'. Proceedings., 1997 International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

20-21 Jun 1997