Another Suburban Transition? Responding to Climate Change in the Australian Suburbs

  • Tony DaltonEmail author
Part of the Theory and Practice of Urban Sustainability Transitions book series (TPUST)


This chapter considers the idea of destabilising the current high-carbon regime and establishing the preconditions for a new sociotechnical regime in Australian suburban cities. It does this in the following four sections. The first section argues that cities can be the site of sociotechnical regimes. In this case, the focus is on the suburbs as a sociotechnical regime within Australian cities. The second section describes the pattern of direct and indirect household energy consumption in large metropolitan cities, which are overwhelmingly suburban cities. This urban/suburban location of high energy-intensive household living is an integral element of the high-carbon sociotechnical regime. The third section argues that the underlying ‘lock-in mechanisms’ producing and reproducing the suburbs have at times been destabilised and reconfigured. It is important to understand what made the new ‘lock-in mechanisms’ viable because this can inform strategic thinking about future change. The fourth section draws a set of preconditions from the history of change in ‘lock-in mechanisms’ that should be considered in the development of transition to low-carbon suburban suburbs. It presents them at three levels – macro, meso and micro – as a means for clarifying the way different types of power is exercised in the making and remaking of energy intensive suburbs. The challenge is how might households live in and remake their cities while they continue to be suburban so that they are more sustainable.


Suburbs Energy Housing Housing policy Lock-in Households Historical review 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Urban ResearchRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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