Urban services under transition. Wastewater and stormwater service co-production over time (WasCoT)
The project aims to understand how and why co-production practices in wastewater and stormwater services change over time. This will in turn unravel the contribution of changes to a sustainability transition. This project is run in collaboration between the ULB - Laboratory LoUIsE and UCLouvain - SST- LAB. It is funded by the FNRS.
Service co-production practices are collaborative actions in which actors from different organisations – including citizens – aim to improve service production and delivery. Previous research indicates that these practices can contribute to a sustainability transition of water-related services (such as wastewater and stormwater drainage), according to three dimensions: socio-managerial, techno-environmental and spatial dimensions. Nevertheless, on the ground, co-production practices evolve, experiencing changes in these dimensions: e.g. number of actors involved, scale of technology, areas covered, etc. The project rests on two hypotheses: (1) the before-mentioned changes affect the long-term sustainability of urban water related service co-production and (2) sustainability transition studies can help analysing the evolution of co-production dimensions over time. WasCoT aims to understand how and why co-production practices in wastewater and stormwater services change over time. This will in turn unravel the contribution of changes to a sustainability transition (in terms of efficacy/efficiency, ecological integrity, socio-spatial cohesion and equity). This aim implies to categorise changes in urban wastewater and stormwater service co-production, and to identify and classify drivers triggering changes, while leading to a sustainable transition of water-related services. The empirical research relies on a cross-case study approach resting on qualitative social science and spatial analysis (e.g. individual and group interviews, participatory workshops, observations and mapping). The project focuses on three cases illustrating changes in wastewater and stormwater service co production driven by a lack or malfunction of the service, environmental vulnerability from urban flooding and pressures from community-driven co-production practices: Brussels, Dar es Salaam and Kinshasa.