Journal Article - Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

Sociotechnical Systems and Sustainability: Current and Future Perspectives for Inclusive Development

| February 2017

Sociotechnical systems — for example, telecommunication networks, electric grids, large-scale manufacturing systems — are interacting ensembles of engineered artifacts embedded in society, linked with economies, and connected with ecology. Such systems have been analyzed through the lenses of sustainability (largely along the dimensions of environmental protection and affordability), carrying influence in the literatures of technology innovation, product design, infrastructure planning, and service delivery. Sustainability concerns along the environmental and financial dimensions have motivated focus on waste and emissions reduction, new technology development, and greening of industrial ecosystems. The concept of inclusive development, however, has not yet permeated the research or conceptualization of sociotechnical systems.

Two streams of on-going work in inclusive innovation and in inclusive wealth analysis offer meaningful avenues for future connections. We discuss how the literature on sociotechnical systems and their constituent elements of engineered products and processes has evolved on the topic of sustainability, how the emerging concept of inclusive innovation bridges dimensions of environment and social inclusivity, and how inclusive wealth may inform system-level planning and analysis of sociotechnical systems moving forward

For more information on this publication: Please contact Science, Technology, and Public Policy
For Academic Citation: Siddiqi, Afreen and Ross D. Collins. Sociotechnical Systems and Sustainability: Current and Future Perspectives for Inclusive Development.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 24. (February 2017):