Beyond short-term fixes: On conceptual entanglements in addressing long-term issues in urban infrastructures

Project description

Anthropogenic challenges such as environmental pollution, climate change, and nuclear waste disposal require a paradigm shift in governance from short-term responses to far-reaching solutions. Addressing these challenges requires societal responses marked by reflexivity, anticipation, and adaptability. This dissertation addresses the pressing need to tackle complex and enduring challenges, focusing on urban infrastructures. Drawing on the conceptual foundations of change management, the multi-level perspective (MLP), and the long-term governance (LTG) framework, this research aims to develop a holistic and practical approach to addressing long-term challenges in urban infrastructures.

First, a conceptual foundation is laid by exploring the relationship between change management, MLP, and LTG framework through a comprehensive literature review. The analysis delves into the similarities and differences between these approaches to provide a foundational understanding of their combined potential to address long-term urban challenges. Subsequently, the urban heat transition, as a form of transformation of urban infrastructures, is examined in a comparative case study. Another topic, also considered in a comparative case study, is the long-term governance of urban forests.

In addition, key factors for strategies and challenges related to the urban heat transition and urban forests as integral components of urban infrastructures are identified. The findings from the individual cases considered will then be synthesized in a roadmap for the long-term transformation of urban infrastructures. The roadmap integrates principles from MLP, change management, and LTG framework.

This dissertation aims to provide theoretical and practical insights for addressing pressing anthropogenic challenges in public urban infrastructures. The cumulative thesis consists of four papers linked by an overarching research question: How can conceptual links and practical insights derived from change management, multi-level perspective, and long-term governance framework contribute to the development of a holistic and effective approach for addressing long-term challenges in urban infrastructures?

Administrative data


Laura Müller, M.Sc.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-22380