Aslak Aamot Kjaerullf is a Ph.D. student at the Doctorate School Space, Place and Technology at Roskilde University in Denmark. He holds a master’s degree in technical and socio-economic planning. His current work focuses on the challenges of powering down western mobile lifestyles in Denmark. The ongoing Ph.D. work addresses the field of urban planning, through an action oriented and collaborative work on how planners assemble new practices of mobility planning, through relations to private and public organizations.
Initiatives to work towards more sustainable mobility today are happening across the organization of the public sector, private sector and civil society. Formula M, a public sector oriented triple helix project, addresses the agenda of sustainable mobility by staging municipal planners as central actors to strategically work with private companies. These collaborations work with meeting the needs for mobility in companies and in everyday life, while addressing environmental problems and congestion. Local demonstration projects seek to instigate qualitative changes in the social need for mobility, rather than providing infrastructural expansions and technical enhancements.
These collaborative platforms bring about a number of social dilemmas, representing relations of power and possibly unsolvable so-called ‘wicked problems.’ Through an active phronetic social scientific approach it is possible to tease such dilemmas out of the context, and learn from the personal experiences of practitioners working to handle them. The three dilemmas to be considered in this work exemplify the difficulties of the practitioners in strategically informing everyday life with notions of the ‘greater good,’ by working across the private and public sector. The three dilemmas concern first, the difficulties of working between the ambitious but somewhat unworldly strategies of CO2 reductions and implementing restrictions on certain forms of mobility or carrying out practical projects to enhance others. Second, the challenge of adding social and environmental concerns regarding mobility to the strategic agenda of private companies, without losing sight of the dominating economic rationale leading private enterprises. And third, how to identify and ensure moral and ethical responsibilities when working with agendas of social change in the everyday life, initiated by the public and private sector. These three dilemmas will illustrate a need to focus not just on the implementation of social or technical responses to the problems of environmentally friendly, less resource consuming, less spatially demanding and socially segregating mobilities. There are also a vast number of social dilemmas in the strategic and practical implementation of sustainable mobility that social sciences should engage in.