During the last ten years two innovations in urban transportation have been accomplished in two different parts of the planet: in the city of Bogotá, in Colombia, the first mass bus rapid transit system was designed, built and put into operation becoming the most visible icon of a great urban transformation of the 7 million inhabitants metropolis; in the city of Copenhagen, in Denmark, a driverless Metro was designed, built and put into operation to complement the existing train and bus service also transforming the entire functioning of this 1.5 million inhabitants city. The observation is straightforward: transportation projects transform cities. The paradoxical reality thus is that a problem that has been traditionally conceptualized in technical terms (transportation engineering, transportation economics, planning theory, traffic engineering, urban planning, etc.), has tremendous consequences in the life of cities and citizens. Thus a problem that is often outlined in technical terms is also a problem of political choice at different levels. Therefore, the challenge to confront is how to bring together a comprehensive approach that takes into account policy making, community building and technical operation when discussing transportation projects in big cities. The tradition of Science and Technology Studies might have provided some clues. In the following paper we discuss the most prominent aspects of some theories in STS in order to understand and conceptualize the cases of Bogotá and Copenhagen. The theories at hand include the already classics: sociotechnical systems (Hughes), actor network theory (Callon, Latour, Law) and social construction of technology (Bijker, Pinch); but also other less known developments like the grid based system (Summerton) and the arenas of development (Jørgensen). The main idea underlying all this approaches is that cities, policies and their support systems co-evolve in permanent interaction shaping one another. Thus, if change is to be produced in desired ways actions must be taken in all fronts to render a desired result. In a wider perspective this approach to urban transportation planning and technological systems raises questions about the role of engineering in planning and how complex and heterogeneous technological systems are understood and conceptualised in engineering.
|Published - 2007
|4th Dubrovnik Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems - Dubrovnik, Croatia
Duration: 4 Jun 2007 → 8 Jun 2007
Conference number: 4
|4th Dubrovnik Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
|04/06/2007 → 08/06/2007