Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 133–146 | Cite as

Exploring an Explicit Use of the Concept of Sustainability in Transport Planning

Original Paper


The aim of this paper is to explore an explicit use of the concept of sustainability within transport planning. This paper analyses the concept of sustainability based on a practical approach for a sustainable development of Nordhavn, an area of Copenhagen, exemplifying a complex planning problem. An exploration of the application of the concept of sustainability is carried out using elements of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). This approach indicates a need to separate the use of sustainability considerations regarding the transport planning ‘process’ from the transport planning ‘results’. The two approaches are related to the planning levels presented by Ulrich (Syst Prac 1(4):415–428, 1988). It was chosen to focus on the understanding of a sustainable transport planning process. This focus is addressed by four stakeholder groups interviewed based on the ‘ought to’ mode of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH). Finally an outline of some of the factors of a sustainable transport planning process is proposed.


Implicit/explicit sustainability ‘Process’/‘result’ Soft systems methodology Critical systems heuristics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Københavns Kommune, Teknik- og MiljøforvaltningenCenter for TrafikCopenhagen VDenmark

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