• Niklas Winther-Have
4. Term, Sustainable Design (M.SC) (Master Programme)
Using an action net perspective and engaging in institutional work, this study aims to shed light on the dynamics and process of identifying and mobilising contradictions in institutional change processes, providing recommendations for individuals within urban bureaucracies who seek to intentionally impact and facilitate sustainable transition processes within established institutions.
Working in urban bureaucracies often reveals contradictions in established and taken-for-granted structures, such as planning objects which simplify complex phenomena to ensure efficient planning and governance. However, if these contradictions are not acknowledged and addressed, they can become embedded and give rise to institutional conflict. While some choose to remain either complacent or demand immediate resolution in such situations, this study, by drawing on a case study of bureaucratic urban soil management in Copenhagen, explores an alternative path and the potential for curiosity and contradictions to reimagine everyday planning objects.
The results emphasise the importance of comprehending and situating change processes within the historical context of institutional structures. Aligned with a dialectical perspective, it highlights how important understanding the contradictions and underlying mechanisms that led to their development is to ongoing change processes.

Finally, these results demonstrate the value of adopting a less confrontational approach, such as an action net perspective, for identifying, assessing, and mobilising contra-dictions to facilitate change processes. They emphasise the potential of collective action in addressing complex urban planning challenges while recognising the role of internal actors who can engage and circulate to build institutional capacity for sustainable change through a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach.
By shedding light on institutional contradictions, these findings enhance their understanding and highlight the advantages of an exploratory and cooperative approach. Moreover, the results emphasise that institutional contradictions are not inherently problematic but rather that they, through the process of identification and mobilisation, can serve as catalysts or agents of sustainable transitions, benefiting both institutions and their actors.
Publication date2 Jun 2023
Number of pages55
ID: 532660318