The Spatial Dynamics of Deep Transitions

Industrial civilization is currently evolving along a fundamentally unsustainable trajectory, contributing to climate change, resource depletion and loss of biodiversity. A recent Deep Transitions framework (Schot and Kanger, 2018; Kanger and Schot, 2019) argues that this trajectory has been built up through the First Deep Transition: a 250-year co-evolution of multiple socio-technical systems. However, to date the Deep Transitions framework has completely neglected the spatial dimension of this process. This makes it unable to explain a) how systems emerge in, gravitate towards, become linked in and disperse from certain locations, and; b) how these processes accumulate into socio-material landscapes, posing regionally varying constraints to major transformative change. This paper aims to develop a theory of the spatial dynamics of Deep Transitions. Synthesizing insights from a broad range of fields nine propositions are developed on
the spatial patterns and mechanisms of multi-system co-evolution. The resulting framework enables to explain the spatial genesis of the First Deep Transition and to identify possible hotspots for the Second Deep Transition.

Authors: Laur Kanger
Document Type:
Journal Article