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Greening Sanitary Systems: an End-User Perspective

Promotoren: Prof. Dr. ir. A.P.J. Mol Hoogleraar Milieubeleid Wageningen Universiteit Prof. Dr. ir. G. Spaargaren Hoogleraar Milieubeleid voor duurzame leefstijlen en consumptiepatronen Wageningen Universiteit Co-promotor: Dr. ir. B.J.M. Van Vliet Universitair docent, leerstoelgroep Milieubeleid Wageningen Universiteit Promotiecommissie: Prof. Dr. A. Niehof Prof. Dr. J. Grin Dr. Ir. G.P.J. Verbong Dr. Ir. G. Zeeman

Wageningen Universiteit Universiteit van Amsterdam Technische Universiteit Eindhoven Wageningen Universiteit

Dit onderzoek is uitgevoerd binnen de onderzoeksschool WIMEK/SENSE

Greening Sanitary Systems: an End-User Perspective

Dries Hegger

Proefschrift, ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor op gezag van de rector magnificus van Wageningen Universiteit, Prof. Dr. M.J. Kropff in het openbaar te verdedigen op dinsdag 27 november 2007 des namiddags om 13.30 uur in de Aula.

Dries Hegger Greening Sanitary Systems: An End-User Perspective Wageningen: Wageningen University PhD-Thesis Wageningen University ISBN 978-90-8504-711-7 © Copyright Dries Hegger, 2007 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means without prior permission of the author.

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Preface Wastewater infrastructures belong to the most vital systems in contemporary societies and seem to be a necessary precondition for any country that wants to call itself a ‘developed nation’. Without any doubt, how humans deal with wastewater is somehow related to how humans live and even to how long they live. At the same time, it is difficult to discuss the topic with those who are not professionally involved in it without shifting to giggling and jokes. Although so many people take them for granted, wastewater infrastructures mean something to humans! During the research I was in the lucky position to benefit from the expertise and support of two promotors (Tuur Mol and Gert Spaargaren) as well as a copromotor (Bas Van Vliet). Their positive criticism was straightforward and stimulating and always sharpened my thinking. Furthermore, Tuur, Gert and Bas were competent in delegating new responsibilities (supervising students, lecturing, organising seminars) to me at the right moment. Making someone learn without discouraging him/her is a special skill, which Tuur, Gert and Bas possess. The Environmental Policy Group (ENP) at Wageningen University is a very pleasant place to work, with people from all over the world coming and going. While working at the ENP group, the number of PhD researchers steadily increased and social interaction blossomed. There were always possibilities for vivid discussion and, also important, there was always someone to help me out in case of urgent practical problems. I will really miss all the lovely ‘PhD diners’ and the Vietnamese, Chinese, Peruvian, Russian, Dutch, German, English and African food and beverages we consumed there. I cannot imagine what the often heard statement ‘that PhD students sometimes feel lonely during their research’ might mean. I shared the office room with many others in the course of the years: Bas Van Vliet, Hans Bruyninckx, Kris Van Koppen, Liu Yi, Elizabeth Sargant, Le Van Khoa and Lijin Zhong. They are all very interesting and inspiring persons, each in their own personal way. Corry Rothuizen deserves a special word of thank. She is far more than an excellent secretary knowing about all possible practical ins and outs. Her interest in my personal situation and encouragements in case of difficulty were invaluable. I want to thank the EET-DESAR partners, in particular Grietje Zeeman for all the comments and discussions throughout the course of the project and for their openminded attitude towards the work done at the ENP group. Many thanks to the project team in Sneek for providing access to the project team meetings and letting

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me attend the most crucial phases of the planning process. Thanks to Pascal Karlsson of the municipality of Göteborg for reserving two full days to show me around. Also, many thanks to all the respondents and informants in the pilot projects who were prepared to answer my questions and to provide me with project documents and first-hand information. Although my research has benefited from discussions with many different scholars, I want to mention some names in particular. Kirsten Gram-Hanssen (Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University) provided valuable comments on drafts of chapter three and six of this thesis. Discussions with Heather Lovell (Department of Geography, Durham University) and Barbara Van Mierlo (Wageningen University) inspired my writing on niche management. I thank Paul de Graaf for his detailed comments on the draft EET-DESAR report. I enjoyed discussing our publications and becoming aware of how social and spatial issues concerning sustainable technology development are interrelated. Also the discussions with Rutger de Graaff (TU Delft), Helena Krantz (Linköping University) and Adriaan Mels (Wageningen University) helped me to develop my own line of argumentation. My contacts with many MSc students provided me with a fresh view on the topic. I will only name those two students whose MSc theses I co-supervised: Jenneke Van Vliet (Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University) and Yvonne Cuypers (Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society, Twente University). Their work as well as my discussions with them did contribute to the current thesis. Jenneke and Yvonne are talented and enthusiastic and, furthermore, they are pleasant persons to work with. Life is worth nothing without good friends to hang around with, go on holiday and share your experiences. Thank you all very much. Special thanks to Henk Brouwer for designing the cover of the thesis. A tradition which I cannot dispense with is to devote the final paragraph to those who are closest to me. My mother, Jessie, has always been interested in and proud of what I was doing, no matter if it was writing a PhD thesis, performing in the theatre, organizing symposia and parties; or trying to ski for the first time. Her partner, Theo, was also interested and willing to discuss the content of the thesis. I am very sorry that my father, Jan, passed away long before the thesis work started. I am sure he would have been very proud as well. His perseverant and warm personality will continue to be a source of inspiration for me. Finally, Joyce and I managed to see each other often enough in the past few years, although Joyce sometimes had to force me to take a day off. I trust there are many happy years together yet to come. Dries Hegger – Wageningen, 30th June 2007

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Table of contents Preface Contents List of figures and boxes List of abbreviations

v vii ix x

1 Introduction

1

1.1 Citizen-consumers, wastewater infrastructures and the environment 1.2 Problems and societal responses related to wastewater infrastructures 1.3 Theorizing innovation in wastewater infrastructures 1.4 Central research questions 1.5 Outline of the thesis

1 2 4 7 9

2 Insights from science and technology studies: towards an informed critique

11

2.1 Introduction 2.2 Lessons from the STS-field: a quick tour 2.3 Niche management and sustainable technological development 2.4 Résumé: science and technology studies and wastewater infrastructures

11 12 22 28

3 Innovation in wastewater infrastructures: contributions from environmental social theory

31

3.1 Introduction 3.2 Changing consumer-provider relations in the greening of environmental infrastructures 3.3 Conceptualizing systemic dynamics in water and wastewater: the modernized mixture approach 3.4 Issues of trust and identity in the greening of wastewater infrastructures 3.5 Conclusion

31 32 45 57 66

4 Wastewater infrastructures and everyday-life: a historical perspective

67

4.1 Introduction 4.2 Patterns in the historical development of (sanitary) infrastructures – a theoretical perspective 4.3 Towards sanitary solutions for modern times (1800-1900) 4.4 Gradual development of water systems and practices (1900-1980)

67 68 72 90

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4.5 Water and wastewater in a late modern age (1980-present) 4.6 Conclusion

100 107

5 Analyzing the greening of wastewater infrastructures

109

5.1 Introduction 5.2 Qualitative research methodologies 5.3 Overview of the empirical research 5.4 Data collection methods and outline of the empirical chapters

109 109 111 113

6 Expert-led experiments in wastewater management

115

6.1 Introduction 6.2 A selection of pilot projects and their background 6.3 Rationalities of expert-led experiments 6.4 Expert-led experiments and their contribution to the greening of wastewater infrastructures

115 115 138 149

7 Citizen-consumer driven experiments in wastewater management

153

7.1 Introduction 7.2 A selection of pilot projects and their background 7.3 Rationalities of citizen-consumer driven experiments 7.4 Citizen-consumer driven experiments and their contribution to the greening of wastewater infrastructures

153 153 176 182

8 Conclusions

185

8.1 Introduction 8.2 Wastewater and sustainable transitions: infrastructures and practices 8.3 Niche management in the wastewater transition 8.4 Towards and end-user perspective on wastewater infrastructures 8.5 Epilogue

185 186 188 192 198

Notes 201 References 213 Appendix 1: Quick-scan of pilot projects with innovation in domestic wastewater management 227 Appendix 2: Overview of pilot projects with innovation in sanitation and urban water management 231 Appendix 3: Graphical depiction of scores for pilot projects 243 Appendix 4: Methodology for each case study 255 Appendix 5: List of interviews and informants 257 Summary 259 Samenvatting 263 About the author 267

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List of figures and boxes Figures 3.1 The social practices model 3.2 Utility provisioning and changing household-grid relations 3.3 Characterizing environmental innovations in (waste)water management from a systemic perspective 3.4 Conventional systems, alternatives and modernized mixtures 3.5 Relating the modernized mixture approach to the social practices model 4.1 Changing household-grid relations into the modern age 6.1: Wastewater treatment in Sneek 6.2 Wastewater treatment in Göteborg 6.3 Impression of Oeko-Technik-Park Hannover 7.1 Impression of the EVA-Lanxmeer area 7.2 One of the Hoven in the EVA-Lanxmeer area 7.3 Rainwater ponds in the EVA-Lanxmeer area 7.4 Composting toilets 7.5 Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten Freiburg 7.6 Wastewater management in Freiburg 7.7 ’t Groene Dak

38 41 54 55 56 92 124 134 137 154 155 158 166 168 170 176

Boxes 6.1 Planning and realization of new building areas in The Netherlands 7.1 The total concept of the EVA-Lanxmeer project 7.2 Household-water in The Netherlands 7.3 Extreme case of in-use involvement: composting toilets 7.4 Application of biogas reactors in pilot projects: misfortune and institutional barriers 7.5 Management and maintenance of grey water systems

122 154 158 165 170 175

List of abbreviations AKWA2100 ANT AT CNM CTA DESAR DSM ECOSAN EET EU EVA KIWA LTS NGO NMP4 ONNS R&D SCOT SNM STOWA STS VEWIN WFD

Alternativen Kommunaler Wasserver- und Abwasserentsorgung Actor Network Theory Alternative Technology Conceptual Niche Management Constructive Technology Assessment Decentralised Sanitation and Reuse Demand Side Management Ecological Sanitation EconomieEcologieTechnologie European Union Stichting voor Educatie Voorlichting en Advies Keuringsinstituut voor Waterleidingartikelen Large Technical Systems Theory Non Governmental Organization Fourth Dutch National Environmental Policy Plan Koepelgroep Ontwikkeling Nieuwe Sanitatie Systemen Research and Development Social Construction of Technology Strategic Niche Management Stichting Toegepast Onderzoek Waterbeheer Science and Technology Studies Vereniging Waterleidingbedrijven in Nederland EU Water Framework Directive

“With 6 billion people in the world, there are 12 billion kidneys around, so let’s make use of them.” (Closing statement at the 2nd Ecosan Conference, Lübeck, March 2003). “About those residents (…) that is very easy (to find out, DH). Ask your wife, or your mother, or your mother in law, because she is the inhabitant. (…) She is just an ordinary woman who has to clean the toilet and has to sit on it. And women have more feeling for it than men have. Men don’t bother, women do. They take care of these things and with that they determine whether a house will be sold or not.” (Interview with consultant involved in Dutch sanitation projects, 2004). “This toilet bowl is part of a conspiracy of an extremely left-wing origin, and should be seen as a crooked way to get rid of the ‘right to flush’ as we know it between our Dutch dikes.” (Anonymous posting at a web-discussion concerning ‘dry toilets’. Source: www.geenstijl.nl, visited 24th May 2007).

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Introduction

1.1 Citizen-consumers, wastewater infrastructures and the environment From the early 1990s onwards, several pilot projects have been set up in which households are equipped with new wastewater management technologies. A wide range of social actors is involved in these projects. Besides water managers, these social actors include various other institutional actors as well as citizen-consumers. All these actors have their own reasons to participate (or not). How to set up such a project in a successful way? Does it eventually lead to ‘more sustainability’? As the quotes on the first page show, the topic of innovation in wastewater infrastructures is of sociological relevance. Behind the quotes lie visions on what sustainability actually is, on whether and how technological developments can move in a more sustainable direction, and on the role of different social actors. The statement at the Ecosan conference presupposes a reductionistic – natural-science based – view on consumers, portraying them as small nutrient factories. The two other quotes, however, suggest that the range of actors influencing technological development is much broader and includes citizen-consumers, either in their role as occupants or as environmental activists. This thesis is a social study on the greening of wastewater infrastructures. Wastewater infrastructures can be defined as conglomerates consisting of physical infrastructures, the social actors related to them and the rules and resources that structure their operation, all these aimed to deal with human waste and wastewater flows. The departure point of the study is that contemporary wastewater infrastructures in Western society are being confronted with several (social, economic and environmental) challenges and that the insights derived from a social-scientific study can contribute towards environmental improvement. Such a point of departure means that two research routes have not been taken. On the one hand, this study is not about the ‘social acceptance’ or ‘marketability’ of a specific technology. Such an approach would leave many sociologically relevant issues untouched. To put it bluntly, it would force the researcher to uncritically embrace one particular way of framing the problem next to the technological solutions put forward on the basis of that problem-framing. On the other hand, this

2 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

study does not adopt a relativistic viewpoint in which the researcher only looks at so-called ‘social facts’ (Durkheim 1982). Rather, this thesis acknowledges the environmental problems in contemporary Western wastewater infrastructures and the differing viewpoints on the routes towards sustainability, and it seeks to explore how environmental innovations and transformations in the management of domestic wastewater come about.

1.2 Problems and societal responses related to wastewater infrastructures Contemporary problems in wastewater infrastructures Wastewater infrastructures belong to the most taken for granted urban infrastructures in Western society. Most residents are unaware of the fact that they are connected to highly capital-intensive systems enabling the effective and efficient management of human excreta and wastewater flows. These systems – mostly sewage systems connected to highly centralized wastewater treatment plants1 – have contributed tremendously to current standards of development as they improved urban sanitary conditions. Yet, the widespread connection of residents to uniform – easy to use – sanitation and wastewater management systems has hidden these systems from conscious everyday-life experience. These taken for granted systems are being confronted with several social, economic and environmental challenges (Van Vliet 2006a) and social actors try to respond to these challenges also in several different ways. Contemporary wastewater management systems are being criticized (amongst others) for consuming too much water2, treating wastewater in an inefficient way (mixing together wastewater flows of different qualities) and for its failure to reuse or recycle water and nutrients. In many countries adequate maintenance of existing sewage systems has been neglected for a long time while some remote areas cannot be connected to the sewage system at all3. Another issue is the more recent concern about the presence of hormone residues and medicines in the effluent of wastewater treatment plants, posing a threat to aquatic life and – in the long run – to the quality of drinking water sources for humans4. From a development perspective contemporary wastewater management systems are being criticized as they are unfeasible for the physical and institutional contexts in many developing countries, while they are at the same time seen as an icon of modernity in many parts of the world (Thomas and Ford 2005).

INTRODUCTION 3

Societal responses The challenges sketched above show that wastewater infrastructures are part of several – natural and man-made – water flows. Integrated water management means that these flows are not dealt with in isolation, but in relation to each other (Rijkswaterstaat 1989). An example is to infiltrate rainwater into the soil, directly at the place where it falls, instead of removing it with a sewage system. By doing so, groundwater resources are replenished and less sewage capacity is needed than would otherwise be the case. In The Netherlands, this ‘disconnection of rainwater’ is now official policy (Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment 2003). The European Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) is an important sign that integrated water management has become institutionalised. This directive states that water resources in the European Union should have a ‘good ecological quality’ by the year 2015. It is explicitly stated (article 34) that integrated water management is an important means to achieve this. The WFD is an institutional response to water quality and water quantity problems which actually occur in the European Union. But some water managers see it as a challenge in itself (Mels et al. 2005) because these water managers expect that they will be confronted – amongst other things – with stricter norms regarding the effluent quality of wastewater treatment plants, making innovation in wastewater infrastructures necessary. It is thus safe to say that wastewater infrastructures, as part of a cycle of natural and man-made water flows, are confronted with several challenges. While much research and development is focused on optimization of existing wastewater infrastructures, some argue that a transition towards radically different types of wastewater collection and treatment is necessary (Lange and Otterpohl 2000; Lens, Zeeman and Lettinga 2001). In many cases, this entails small-scale systems in which several wastewater flows are separately collected, and treated close to the site where the waste is produced. Indeed, the choice between ‘centralised’ and ‘decentralised’ options for wastewater management is a crucial issue. This choice lies at the core of many debates on the environmental performance of urban infrastructures (Tjallingii 1996). Some environmentalists are inspired by Schumacher’s (1973) ‘Small is beautiful’ ideal in which systems of production and consumption are of a small ‘human’ size. On the other hand, centralised systems are believed to have several advantages such as economies of scale and the possibility of centralised control by experts (Tjallingii 1996). Tjallingii, and many others with him, portray the main dilemma as ‘how to choose between the certainties of centralised solutions – for which the disadvantages are becoming increasingly problematic – and the uncertainties of decentralised solutions with possibilities for prevention’. The

4 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

current study aims to look beyond this dichotomy. Rather than enhancing polarization, it looks for ways to overcome the centralised-decentralised dichotomy and analyzes the different ways in which wastewater infrastructures can move in a more sustainable direction. In theoretical terms, this study treats innovation processes in wastewater infrastructures as forms of reflexive modernization (Beck 1992; Giddens 1990). At the most general level, reflexive modernization scholars argue that society at large is moving from a simple modern towards a reflexive modern age. Beck stresses the negative side effects of the modernisation project. According to Beck (in: Beck, Giddens and Lash 1994), we are in fact suffering from the successes of modern times, not from their failures. Giddens (ibid) emphasizes de-traditionalization. In a simple modern age the life courses of individuals were taken for granted and the authority of experts such as the vicar, the teacher, the doctor, the lawyer was unquestioned. In a late modern age all these taken for granted features of first modernity have become something to deliberate. A common denominator of ‘reflexive modernization’ approaches is that they portray the overall shift in society as a discontinuous and unprecedented one. Reflexive modernization can be seen as a ‘contestable’ and ‘open textured’ concept (Grin 2006). Reflexive modernization affects several societal domains. A deliberate en reflexive shift towards sustainability can take many forms, including different problem definitions as well as different technologies, social constellations and institutional arrangements to solve these problems. For this reason, Grin argues that ‘the answers may be found in the plural’. A priory, there is no single best solution, no ‘single truth’. However, this does not mean that ‘anything might go’ under the heading of ‘sustainable development’. It is possible to dismiss particular options as ‘nonsense’ (p. 69). Thus, portraying innovation processes in wastewater infrastructures as forms of reflexive modernization, the current thesis takes as a starting point that social, economic and environmental challenges in wastewater infrastructures do exist; that problem definitions as well as possible solutions differ; and that knowledge about sustainable solutions is situated.

1.3 Theorizing innovation in wastewater infrastructures To understand how environmental innovations and transformations in wastewater infrastructures come about, this study uses a social scientific perspective. In particular, this study draws upon two main fields of study. First, I will draw upon theories concerning the relationship between technology and society. Second, I will

INTRODUCTION 5

look at innovation in wastewater infrastructures from the perspective of domestic end-users. Science and technology studies The field of Science and technology Studies (STS) is a very broad field of study encompassing a range of theoretical schools of thought. These schools of thought have in common that they analyse technology development in a societal context, but they differ in their conceptualisations. Between the two extremes of technological determinism and social constructivism (Bijker, Hughes and Pinch 1987) there are several theoretical approaches which try to integrate technical and social domains (Mol 1991). Examples of such approaches are large technical systems theory (LTS) (Callon 1980; Hughes 1987; Summerton 1994), constructive technology assessment (Rip, Misa and Schot 1995; Schot and Rip 1997), and actor network theory (Callon 1986). Generally speaking, the focus of STS theories has shifted from single technologies (and their impact on society) to the level of socio-technical systems. These systems encompass many ‘heterogeneous elements’ such as technological artefacts, rules and regulations, user practices, institutions and cultural values (Geels 2004). A hot contemporary debate is the one about system innovations and sustainable transitions (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004; Geels 2005c; Rotmans 2003). The theories developed within this emerging school of thought aim to explain, through which mechanisms socio-technical systems (do not) change. An important theoretical building block of transition theories is the approach of strategic niche management (SNM) (Hoogma et al. 2002; Kemp, Schot and Hoogma 1998; Van Mierlo 2002). At the core of the SNM approach lies the idea that smallscale experiments in (technological or market) niches lead to wider change in sociotechnical systems. Niches are protected places in which new technologies are protected from the ‘mainstream’ market through protection measures (for example legal exceptions, funding, pilot projects). The idea is that niche experiments enable learning by different social actors, making a breakthrough of a certain technology more likely. Partly as a response to the SNM approach, several other theories have been developed which take innovation in niches as their starting point, or reflect critically on these theories (see for example: Brown et al. 2004; Ieromonachou, Potter and Enoch 2004; Smith 2005; Van Mierlo 2002; Verheul and Vergragt 1995). As the introductory section of this chapter shows, the debate on niche management is sociologically relevant, as it enables the study of sociological issues such as (power) relations between different groups in society, their problem definitions and the envisaged solutions. Furthermore, such a study enhances nichebased approaches in general. This is of wide societal relevance as niche-based

6 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

approaches can be found in several societal domains, not only the domain of wastewater infrastructures. End-user roles As a second perspective, this study draws upon theories on the role of domestic end-users in wastewater infrastructures. This debate is part of broader debates on the role of end-users in environmental governance in general. Domestic end-users can be portrayed as mere users of technologies but also as agents playing an active role in restructuring systems of provision (Spaargaren 2003; Van Vliet 2002). Within scholarly debates about the role of end-users, both in the capacity of ‘citizen’ and in the capacity of ‘consumer’, opposing camps can be identified. On the one hand, there are scholars arguing that the role of the consumer is of minor importance (see for example: Huber 2004) and that the main focus should be on processes ‘upstream in the manufacturing chain’ (p. 11). Attempts to reform production and consumption should focus predominantly on the sphere of production, because this is where the most substantial gain in eco-efficiency is to be expected. The role of change agent thus belongs to firms, utilities, governments and research institutes rather than to citizen-consumers, who are only seen as passive recipients of goods and services. On the other hand, there are scholars arguing that the role of the citizenconsumer in the greening of production and consumption is in fact crucial. Ecological modernization theory (Hajer 1995; Huber 1982; Jänicke 1986; Mol 1995) has been adapted to deal with consumption (Spaargaren 2003; Spaargaren and Van Vliet 2000; Van Vliet 2002). Ecological modernization theory postulates that processes of production and consumption are actively and reflexively reconfigured without putting an end to modernization, while taking into account environmental criteria. Such environmental concerns are taken on board as independent criteria which are not derived from and cannot be reduced to economic or social concerns. Such a process can be termed ecological restructuring. The theory argues that consumers and consumption play a crucial role in technological change (Spaargaren 2003; Van Vliet 2002). It needs to be assessed whether consumers are able to adequately use the innovations; whether they can incorporate them in their day-to-day routines; or whether they meet norms regarding comfort, cleanliness and convenience. Several reasons for failure of innovations can be found at the consumption side. For example, these innovations can be designed from a narrow engineering perspective (Oldenziel et al. 2001), or consumers are not familiar with the used channels (Spaargaren 2003). Furthermore, according to ecological modernization theory, consumers can act as citizens capable of influencing systems of provision. For example, citizen-consumers can become members of citizens-

INTRODUCTION 7

groups and NGOs; or they can start to use moral considerations in their consumption choices. Other scholars as well acknowledge this importance of the citizen-consumer, in its role as consumer and in its role as citizen. For example, individual consumers can exercise influence by their (politicised) consumption choices (e.g. buying certain products and boycotting others) (Micheletti 2003) and they co-construct demand by their deeply embedded notions of what are proper levels of comfort, cleanliness and convenience (Shove 2003). Also within transition theory it is now acknowledged that the role of the citizen-consumer in environmental reform has long been downplayed (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004; Geels 2005c; Rotmans 2003; Schot and De la Bruhèze 2003). This debate on the role of the citizen-consumer has been expanded to the domain of network-bound systems such as water supply systems, the electricity grid, piped gas systems and cable television (Van Vliet 2002). Van Vliet analysed citizen-consumer roles in the greening of water supply and electricity systems. He concluded that there has come an end to simple modern systems in which consumers only play a minor role. Instead of ´captive consumers´ with no other choice than to use the services provided by ´natural monopolies´ several different ideal-typical consumer roles (captive consumer, customer, co-provider, and citizen) can be identified. Drawing upon this work, the debate on the role of the consumer in wastewater management (Van Vliet and Stein 2004) should now be opened.

1.4 Central research questions This study aims to contribute to a transition towards sustainable sanitation and wastewater systems and practices in Western society by developing a social science perspective on sanitation and wastewater management. In the previous sections, I have introduced theoretical debates on niche management and on the role of end-users in environmental governance. These theoretical debates touch upon some pressing issues relevant for wastewater infrastructures. Scholars and practitioners disagree about the direction in which wastewater infrastructures are moving, and should be moving, to be sustainable. Are centralized solutions preferable? Or decentralized ones? Whose problems do these solutions solve, whose not? And should the wastewater field be treated ‘differently’ than other systems of provision? I aim to shed new light on these issues by using a social scientific perspective. Niche projects are likely the hotspot of innovation where we can find the most heated debates on wastewater infrastructures. Taken for granted aspects of

8 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

wastewater infrastructures become subject of discussion again (or not, which is also of sociological interest). Much effort in terms of time and money is devoted to niche projects. This study therefore seeks to find out what the benefits of these projects are and whether and to what extent these benefits can be enhanced. End-users have proven to be crucial actors. Several experiences with the implementation of innovative sanitation technologies have been cancelled in their planning phase and end-users played a crucial role in this. For example, actors within project teams referred to these end-users when stating that ‘they are not going to accept this technology’. And to what extent are wider changes in consumer-provider relations in network bound systems relevant for the field of wastewater infrastructures? To narrow down the research and translate the overall research goal in a manageable research design, the following research questions will be used to structure the research: 1. How can we understand and describe the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures? 2. What distinguishes wastewater infrastructures from other environmentally relevant systems of provision? 3. Through what mechanisms – and to what extent – do small-scale experiments in niches contribute to the ecological restructuring of wastewater infrastructures? 4. What can we learn from incorporating an end-user perspective on wastewater infrastructures? To answer these research questions, a combination of theoretical and empirical research will be used. The theoretical part of the thesis starts with a review of theories from the STS-field and analyses the potential of niche-based approaches to contribute to wider changes in socio-technical regimes. Then, a range of social theories is discussed that can help to conceptualize dynamics in wastewater infrastructures from a systemic and from an end-user perspective. The empirical part of the study comprises a study of the history and dynamics of wastewater infrastructures in Western Europe (focusing predominantly on the Dutch situation) as well as a comparative analysis of contemporary pilot projects of environmental innovations in wastewater infrastructures. Part of the empirical research is done within the context of a multi-disciplinary5 project on the development and implementation of decentralized sanitation and reuse technologies in Dutch society (Hegger, Van Vliet and Spaargaren 2006).

INTRODUCTION 9

1.5 Outline of the thesis Chapter 2 and 3 form the theoretical part of this thesis. Chapter 2 discusses a range of theories from the field of Science and Technology studies. This review of theories aims to analyse, through which mechanisms wastewater infrastructures change and what inhibits change. More specifically, the chapter analyses whether and to what extent experiments in niches contribute to ecological restructuring of wastewater infrastructures. In chapter 3, the discussed STS theories are complemented with other social theories relevant for an analysis of the role of endusers in the greening of wastewater infrastructures. The chapter deals with consumer roles vis-à-vis providers in the greening of environmental infrastructures (e.g. Fine and Leopold 1993; Huber 2004; Otnes 1988; Spaargaren 2003; Van Vliet 2002). Subsequently, existing theories which can further conceptualise these consumer-provider relations from a systemic perspective (Spaargaren et al. 2005; Tjallingii 1996) and from an everyday-life perspective (Giddens 1991; Marks 2003; Shove 2003; Sztompka 1999b) are discussed. The chapter argues that an analytical distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments in wastewater management is relevant to describe the actual innovation patterns taking place at niche level, and it formulates sensitizing concepts guiding the empirical research. Chapter 4 is a historical chapter. It gives an account of the development of wastewater infrastructures from the mid-19th century onwards, focusing predominantly on Western Europe (with special reference to some specific Dutch examples). The chapter aims to analyse the complementary development of wastewater systems and domestic water practices and identifies the main phases which these systems and practices have gone through. From a systemic perspective, the chapter looks at the main paradigms, modes of governance and debates concerning innovation in sanitation and wastewater management. From an everyday-life perspective, the chapter analyses how domestic water practices came about and what were the mechanisms through which these practices have changed. In chapter 5 the methodology for the empirical research is given. This chapter starts with a reflection on the overall research methodology and an operationalisation of the empirical domain under study. Subsequently, an overview of available empirical cases and case selection criteria is given. Finally, the chapter gives a detailed methodology for each of the case studies selected for in depth research.

10 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Chapter 6 and 7 form the empirical core of the thesis. These chapters contain an in depth study of Dutch, German and Swedish pilot projects in which innovative sanitation concepts are applied in a domestic setting. The theoretical distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments, developed in chapter three, is used to structure the empirical research: chapter 6 deals with expert-led experiments; chapter 7 with citizen-consumer driven experiments. In the concluding chapter 8, answers to the central research questions are formulated by bringing together the findings of the empirical and theoretical chapters. The chapter discusses the special character of wastewater infrastructures, as opposed to other environmentally relevant systems of provision. Subsequently, the value of niche-based approaches for innovation in wastewater infrastructures is assessed, and a route towards improved niche management is sketched. Then, lessons are given which can be derived from incorporating an end-user perspective. The final section of the chapter evaluates how we can understand and describe the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures and gives recommendations for follow up research.

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Insights from Science and Technology Studies: towards an informed critique

2.1 Introduction The central objective of this thesis is to contribute to a sustainable transformation of wastewater infrastructures in a Western context. In particular I aim to find out whether and to what extent experiments in niches can make a viable contribution to such a transition and to conceptualise the role of end-users of wastewater infrastructures. The aim of the current chapter is to make a first step in developing a theoretical perspective on changes in wastewater infrastructures in general, and the relative contribution of niche-based approaches to such changes in particular. For a social scientific study focusing on a technologically defined subject – the greening of wastewater infrastructures – the field of science and technology studies (STS) is a valuable starting point. The STS-field is a heterogeneous field of study focusing on technology development in a societal context. Although this field consists of a wide range of theoretical streams of thought, the main premise of all these theories is that technical and social domains are closely intertwined (Bijker, Hughes and Pinch 1987; Hughes 1983; Pinch and Bijker 1984; Rip and Kemp 1998; Williams and Edge 1996). This notion certainly applies to wastewater infrastructures, which can be seen as network bound systems (Van Vliet 2002) consisting of networks of physical artefacts, social actors related to these artefacts and rules and regulations governing the operation of these socio-technical networks. The outline of this chapter is as follows. In section 2.2 a general overview of some major streams of thought within the STS-field will be given, some main debates and controversies are highlighted and the position of this study within these debates and controversies is assessed. In section 2.3 the analysis shifts to niche-based approaches for sustainable technological development. A range of theories putting emphasis on niches as the seeds for socio-technical change is discussed, and reasons for (not) contributing to regime change are assessed from a theoretical point of view. In the final section, 2.4, an evaluation of the contribution of STS technologies to the greening of wastewater infrastructures is given, serving as a stepping stone for the next theoretical chapter.

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2.2 Lessons from the STS-field: a quick tour From technological determinism towards socio-technical systems The STS-field is a heterogeneous field of study encompassing a wide range of theoretical perspectives on technological development. The main feature of all these approaches is that they distance themselves from technological determinism, acknowledging that social and technological developments co-evolve. On the contrary, technological determinism implies that only dynamics internal to science and technology (the latter being seen as applied science) determine technological development, whereas no influence of society at large on technological development is assumed (Mol 1991). Technological determinism used to be an important approach in thinking about technological development (ibid). Within technological determinism, the development of science and technology is seen as an integral part of nature, as a rational and deterministic process. Social actors and institutions are thought to have influence on the speed of technological development but not on its direction. On the other hand – according to technological determinists – technological development does influence society. Systems of production and consumption, and social relations, have to be continuously adapted to ‘autonomous technological developments’ (ibid). A technological determinists’ point of view on technology development seems to be outdated nowadays. Few argue from such a perspective and it is widely acknowledged that a technological determinists’ perspective insufficiently helps to explain technological development, which turned out not to obey to natural science like laws: at certain points in time choices have been made between alternative technological options which cannot be explained by ‘unambiguous’ and ‘rational’ criteria. Furthermore, it had become clear that a range of economic, social, political and cultural factors (some would say: non-technological factors) influence technological development (Mol 1991). The reason to discuss technological determinism in some length here is that, although it has been dismissed as a valid theoretical perspective to explain technological development, it is often implicitly present in thinking about technological development. Some scholars (Shove 1998) refer to what can be termed an ‘engineering perspective’. Implicit within such a perspective is that a certain pattern of technological development is favoured because of several ‘objective’ criteria (from the engineers’ point of view), without taking into account that others might have other (but equally relevant) criteria. Few practitioners will

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declare themselves technological determinists, but this does not mean that deterministic thinking has been completely abandoned. Neoclassical economists were the first to nuance deterministic views on technological development. The ‘push-pull’ debate is an example. Proponents of the ‘technology-push’ explanation can be seen as determinists arguing that developments within science and technology explain technological development, while ‘demand-pull’ theorists consider market demand as the prime explanatory factor (Mol 1991). Other economists such as Kondratieff (1996) and Schumpeter (1939) focused on long term developments in the economy. For example, Schumpeter argued that crucial innovations take place at the beginning of an economic upsurge. These so-called long wave theorists were able to describe how patterns of economic and technological development are interlinked. Yet, their theories lacked explanatory power and in fact replaced technological determinism with a sort of techno-economic determinism (Mol 1991). Later on a range of approaches were developed which started to take into account socio-cultural and institutional factors besides technological and economic factors. The economists Nelson and Winter (1982) and Dosi (1982) started to think beyond the border of their own discipline when they developed their respective notions of technological regime (Nelson and Winter) and technological paradigm (Dosi). Their approaches are evolutionary approaches in which technological development is seen as an alternating pattern of ‘variation’ and ‘selection’. Also social scientists such as Pinch and Bijker (1984); Hughes (1987) and Callon (1987) started to develop theoretical perspectives on technology development in a societal context. They were influential in developing approaches such as ‘the social construction of technology’ (SCOT; Pinch and Bijker), large technical systems theory (LTS; Hughes) and actor network theory (ANT; Callon). These theoretical approaches vary in their objects of analysis. Broadly speaking, SCOT puts most emphasis on single technological artefacts and the social actors related to these artefacts, ANT emphasizes that actors, artefacts and systems cannot be divided, while the other approaches put more emphasis on systems and structures. Several more recently developed approaches on environmental innovation such as Strategic Niche Management (Hoogma et al. 2002), sociotechnical scenario studies (Elzen et al. 2004) and transition management (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004; Geels 2005c; Rotmans 2003; Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001) draw upon the Nelson-Winter/Dosi model and Large Technical systems theory. The various theoretical streams of thought introduced above will now be discussed in some detail.

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The Nelson-Winter/Dosi model The Nelson-Winter/Dosi model was the first model including socio-cultural and political factors in the analysis, next to technological and economic ones. At the core of the model lies the idea that technological development is a result of evolutionary processes of variation and selection aimed at solving certain technologically defined problems. These variation and selection processes do not take place ad random but they are to some degree structured within a technological regime (Nelson-Winter) or paradigm (Dosi). There is a certain exemplar technology and associated with this certain search heuristics which technology developers apply. Technological regimes/paradigms to some degree dictate the trajectory which technological development follows and are therefore both constraining for and conducive to technological development. On the one hand the search process takes on certain pre-structured directions thus excluding many other possibilities. But on the other hand a concentrated rather than a scattered use of resources significantly speeds up the innovation process. The notion of technological regime/paradigm implies that it is very hard to shift to alternative trajectories once existing ones have become established. To a certain degree, the model argues, technological trajectories have their own point of optimization. A shift in trajectories is only possible if the paradigms and search heuristics of technology developers change. Within evolutionary theory considerable attention is paid to the ‘selection environment’ which is those actors, structures and institutions determining the process of selection within or between technological trajectories. The selection environment consists of (the state of affairs of) science and technology; economic factors and the socio-cultural and political basis of society. It is not possible to a priori determine the relative influence of each of these factors on the process of technological development, which is seen as something depending on the specific context of a trajectory. In evaluation, the Nelson-Winter/Dosi model does a good job to show that technological innovation processes are complex and that many different factors play a role. Furthermore, it has been an important building block for theories developed later on and it has highly influenced later debates in which the emphasis has shifted to socio-technical systems. The approach was however, rightly, criticized from various perspectives. Van den Belt and Rip (1984) criticize the model because it only presupposes an influence of the selection environment on technological development, while the selection environment itself is also changed by this development. Mol (1991) indicates that within the NelsonWinter/Dosi model there is still some degree of technological determinism observable. Although other than technological factors are certainly included in the analysis, there is some immanent logic attached to science and technology and ‘the

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use of evolutionary terms such as variation, selection, evolution, and natural trajectories reinforces the idea that there is a certain inherent logic in technological change’ (ibid). Rip and Kemp (1998) argue that the notion of a technological regime should be broadened towards a socio-technical regime in which cognitive routines (Nelson-Winter’s search heuristics) are not only embedded in the practices and minds of engineers but in wider structures in society. Other societal groups than engineering communities only play a role. The Social Construction of Technology Whereas deterministic and economic approaches presuppose a sharp distinction between technical, economic and socio-cultural domains, such distinction is absent in social constructivists’ approaches. Social constructivism puts much emphasis on the interrelatedness and interaction between these domains, which are thought to constitute a ‘seamless web’ (Hughes 1986). Social constructivism postulates that technological development does not follow a simple linear development path, but should be seen as an alternating process of variation and selection (Pinch and Bijker 1984). Looking back at technological innovations, it may be possible to reconstruct a linear development path, but this is because the failed innovations, the non-chosen options, consistently escape from attention. The search process takes place in several directions, not a single direction. In the work of Pinch and Bijker much emphasis is put on the role of ‘relevant social groups’ situated around the development of a technology. Such relevant social groups often have differing problem definitions for which a certain technology may form a solution. However, for which problem a technology forms a solution is not cast in stone, but it is a social construction. Initially technologies have a high degree of ‘interpretative flexibility’ implying that different social groups can attach different meanings to an artefact. ‘Stabilisation’ of technology development takes place if – according to relevant social groups – problems have been solved. At that time ‘closure’ takes place: the debate about the possible interpretations of a technological artefact is literally ‘closed down’ because of developments in the technology or redefinition of the problem. Interpretative flexibility, which was originally high, decreases. The early work of Callon (1980; 1986; 1987) can also be placed in this social constructivists’ tradition. He argues that technological, economic and social developments are so much intertwined that they become mutually interchangeable. Whether a problem is ‘technical’, ‘economic’ or ‘social’ is in fact a social construction. Problems may be seen as ‘technical’ by some and as ‘social’ by others. Contrary to Pinch and Bijker, Callon attaches much importance to power

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relations between different groups of social actors. It is argued that processes of technological development are for an important part determined by the relative power of groups of social actors capable of changing society with their ideas. In evaluation, the SCOT approach provides some valuable insights in what can be termed the action side of technological innovation. SCOT rightly stresses the contested nature of innovation processes, problem definitions and symbolic meanings. The concept of interpretative flexibility points at an important leverage point for those who want to have an influence on the course of technological development. We can argue that interpretative flexibility should remain high as long as possible, and that closure is something to be avoided for some time. As long as the debate as for what problems which technologies form a solution is open, new and fruitful directions can be identified. Once the debate is closed, changes in directions of technological development become very hard to establish. As an example, the final layout for a new neighbourhood can be seen as a closure mechanism representing the outcome of negotiations between different actors. Such a process could start with a blank piece of paper. When the first lines are sketched, interpretative flexibility is still very high. If the draftsman was to continue the drawing with putting houses, streets, parking places, children’s playgrounds, swimming pools and office buildings on the paper, in pre-specified amounts, sizes etcetera, interpretative flexibility would decrease very soon. If – on the other hand – social actors would start by indicating which functions (living, mobility, playing, recreation, working) the neighbourhood should provide, how important these functions are relative to each other and to whom they should be accessible, such interpretative flexibility would remain high for some time. The plan could then continue with broadly determining the locations, amounts of space, and artefacts suitable to fulfil particular functions before going into too much detail, because the more details are specified in the plan, the less interpretative flexibility is left. However, although the SCOT approach provides useful insights to take on board, the approach is somewhat biased towards the ‘action side’ (to put it in terms of the actor-structure divide) thus somewhat downplaying the structural factors influencing technological change. It is insufficiently taken into account that there is some degree of continuity in the direction of technological development (Mol 1991). Although SCOT rightly stresses that technology itself ‘does nothing’, and that it certainly does not follow a deterministic path of development, it cannot be denied that there still remains ‘something’ which favours certain paths over others, a something which SCOT does not conceptualise.

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Large Technical Systems theory Network-bound systems (Van Vliet 2002) can be seen as large technical systems involving many artefacts connected together; the social actors managing the system (Hughes 1987; Mol 1991); the rules and resources that structure its operation (Van Vliet 2002); and the cultural values that are associated with them (Hughes 1987). Large Technical Systems are often characterized by the presence of a dominant technology, broad implementation of this technology and a centralized and hierarchical organization (Guy, Marvin and Moss 2001). Important scholars within the LTS field are Hughes (1987), Callon (1980), Summerton (1994) and Weingart (1989) amongst others. Their focus is on entire technological systems. According to them, the forces that lead to technological change are internal to the technological system. There is not a separate environment that forces the technology to change, but such an environment is part of the technological system (Callon 1980; Callon 1986; Hughes 1983; Mol 1995; Summerton 1994). Thus the economic, social-cultural and technological factors that influence the technological system evolution are influenced by this evolution at the same time (Hughes 1987). Large technical systems are generally characterised by the presence of a complex physical network and apart from this a similarly complex social network of actors and institutions involved in developing, managing and using the system. It is build by specialized construction workers and repaired and maintained by specialized groups of repair workers. Often the users pay taxes for network operation. LTS theories are strong in explaining the stability and inertia of existing systems arguing in fact that radical change towards competing systems is very hard to establish. This is because large technical systems tend to evolve slowly in their own trajectories (Hughes 1987). Trajectories are well-defined technological development paths to which system developers, users and managers have vested interests. Changes within the boundaries of such a trajectory are likely to develop smoothly, while any alternative route will meet severe resistance. This means that any technology based on an alternative paradigm will encounter severe technological and social barriers. After a primary phase of invention, development and innovation, large technical systems acquire momentum and go through a second phase of growth, competition and consolidation. The concept of momentum stands for ‘the acquirement of a mass of technical and organizational components which possess direction, or goals; and display a rate of growth suggesting velocity.’ Within established systems, investments have been made (sunk costs), institutions set up and trajectories of innovation set out. Here LTS grasps what SCOT does not conceptualize. Physical artefacts, them being part of wider large technical systems, project their socially constructed

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characteristics to the future (Mol 1991). They are the physical manifestation of past social constructions which through physical artefacts have acquired some degree of ‘hardness’ and have become taken for granted. In terms of SCOT: the presence of physical artefacts not only closes the debate, it makes even forget that there has ever been one. From a Large Technical Systems perspective, alternative sustainable technologies can be termed ‘reverse salients’: technical or organizational anomalies, which come up when a system grows. Reverse salients result from uneven elaboration or evolution of a large technical system and ‘when a reverse salient cannot be corrected within the context of an existing system, the problem becomes a radical one, the solution of which may bring a new and competing system’ (Hughes 1987; in: Van Vliet 2002). However, explaining the mechanisms through which such a system change may occur is beyond the analytical outreach of large technical systems theories. These theories are strong in describing the changes that have taken place and they are convincing in explaining why changes do not take place at all. But the analytical power and conceptual refinement for adequately identifying the necessary conditions and mechanisms for future technological system change – beyond the dominant/existing trajectories and paradigms – is lacking (Van Vliet 2002). This is a field of research for which theoretical approaches focusing on transitions of complete socio-technical systems were specifically developed. Changing socio-technical systems – transitions and transition management In current environmental debates much emphasis is put on socio-technical systems (Geels 2005c) as the proper object of analysis. Such systems are being considered the only level at which long-term sustainability can be achieved. The argument goes that end-of-pipe technologies and clean technologies do/did a good job in cleaning up the worst ‘environmental mess’ and enhancing the eco-efficiency of existing systems. However, these are mostly incremental changes along existing paths and trajectories, which are thought to be insufficient in the long run. We are left with several persistent (or wicked) problems which cannot be solved through incremental innovation. These technologies require complementary changes in wider systems of production and consumption (Berkhout 2002). Examples are environmental problems in the transport and energy sector, the un-sustainability of food production and consumption, and global climate change. To achieve a more substantial gain in eco-efficiency radical changes of complete socio-technical systems, encompassing elements such as technologies, institutions, cultural values, user practices, rules and regulations are deemed necessary (Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001).

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From the beginning of the 21st century onwards, the notion of transitions and transition management has become increasingly popular (Van den Burg and Spaargaren 2006). Transitions are long-term multi-level changes in society resulting from a dynamic interplay between developments in social, economic, technical, institutional and cultural domains (Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001). The notion of transition ‘management’ refers to the deliberate modulation of societal dynamics in order to ‘steer’ society into a ‘desired’ direction. According to Elzen, Geels and Green (2004) the very notion of ‘transition management’ is a contradiction in terms. Socio-technical systems are complex systems, which cannot be managed or steered by a central actor such as a national government. It is therefore argued that transition ‘management’ should be restricted to modulation of ongoing dynamics by a wide range of social actors (Kemp and Loorbach 2003). At certain points in time, this may provide the trigger for a transition because several societal developments reinforce each other (Rotmans 2003). At the moment a wide rang of scholars and policy makers is concerned with the notions of transitions and transition management. An important policy document in which these notions appeared is the Dutch Fourth Environmental Policy Plan (Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment 2000). Policy makers acknowledged that persistent problems need a policy approach incorporating – amongst others – a wide time horizon (30 years instead of 4 years; Kemp and Loorbach 2003). Such an approach would be especially necessary to deal with persistent and global problems such as the ones explicitly addressed in the NMP4: loss of biodiversity; climate change; depletion and overexploitation of natural resources; public health threats; nuisances impairing livability; external safety; and future risks. Transition theories aim to explain how transitions take place (in the terminology of transition scholars: through what mechanisms does society or a sub-system of society change from a certain dynamic equilibrium towards another?) and it is tried to identify where the leverage points for action can be found. For a large part the roots of transition theories can be found in the STS-field. An important notion derived from this field of study is the multi-level perspective (Geels 2002; Rip and Kemp 1998). This perspective argues that three analytical concepts can be used to grasp the dynamics of transitions: socio-technical landscapes, socio-technical regimes and niches. The term landscape is a metaphor for ‘material and immaterial elements at the macro level: material infrastructure, political culture and coalitions, social values, worldviews and paradigms, the macro economy, demography and the natural environment’ (Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001). An attempt to make changes at this macro level will encounter strong public opposition because society is pervaded with these landscape factors.

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The socio-technical regime is an extension of Nelson and Winter’s (1982) technological regime. Whereas Nelson and Winter restricted their analysis to engineering communities reinforcing technological trajectories, the notion of a socio-technical regime is broader and includes wider groups in society such as scientists, policy makers, users and special-interest groups (Bijker 1995). Niches are seen as the micro level where radical novelties emerge (Kemp, Schot and Hoogma 1998; Verbong and Geels 2007). There is a range of approaches which puts much emphasis on small-scale experiments in niches as the seeds for sociotechnical change. The approach of strategic niche management (Kemp, Schot and Hoogma 1998; Schot, Hoogma and Elzen 1994; Van Mierlo 2002) has been a major contribution in this field, but also other approaches – for example social niche management (Verheul and Vergragt 1995) and bounded socio-technical experiments (Brown et al. 2004) – put much emphasis on niches. The nucleus of these niche-based approaches is that niches are important stepping stones for changes in technological (Nelson and Winter 1982) or socio-technical (Rip and Kemp 1998) regimes. Niches are generally referred to as protected spaces where learning processes with regard to several dimensions are fostered and where promising but pre-competitive new technologies are protected from mainstream market selection (Kemp, Schot and Hoogma 1998; Schot, Hoogma and Elzen 1994). The SNM approach has been incorporated in the theories concerning transitions and transition management (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004; Geels 2005a; Rotmans 2003; Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001). According to the scholars proposing the multi-level perspective, these three different levels should be seen as a nested hierarchy: regimes are part of wider socio-technical landscapes, niches are part of wider socio-technical regimes. At the moment transition theory has grown into an influential school of thought, invoking much debate in circles of academics and policy makers. As Van den Burg and Spaargaren (2006a) observe, transition theory is currently being integrated with existing theories, amongst others with social and political theories on the environment. Another observation is that scientists and policy makers are working on the transitions concept simultaneously, thus contributing to the changing relationship between ‘science’ and ‘policy’. Role of niches in system innovation One of the crucial questions in the discourse on niche management is, through which processes sustainable niches might affect the incumbent regime (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004). Some critics (Berkhout, Smith and Stirling 2004) argue that there is too much emphasis put on niches, as in practice hardly any sustainable niche ‘breaks through’ and is able to affect the regime. But most scholars dealing

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with long term changes in socio-technical systems agree that this is self-evident, because the shift from niche to regime level is seen as a (quasi) evolutionary process of variation and selection. Only a few ‘winners’ are ‘selected’ for further diffusion. In the words of Elzen et al. (2004): ‘Just as in any [emphasis added, DH] evolutionary process, possibly nine out of ten variations do not make it; but does this diminish the importance of variation?’ This comparison of socio-technical change with evolutionary processes in general is not entirely valid, as is argued elsewhere (Verheul and Vergragt 1995). Socio-technical systems, contrary to ecological systems, are dominated by humans who consciously act within the system and deliberately try to influence the processes of variation and selection. The selection process to a certain extent precedes the variation process, rather than there being a strict separation between the two (e.g. in case of the question, which initiatives deserve to be funded and which not). Applying evolutionary terms such as ‘variation’ and ‘selection’ must therefore not direct our attention away from the question, how quasi-evolutionary processes can/should be organized to make a regime shift to sustainability most likely. How should niche-based approaches be designed in order to have any influence at regime level? Through what processes can a sustainable niche affect the regime? In answering this question there is a pitfall which should be avoided and this is to consider the bottom up dynamics of change (how do niches influence meso and macro level developments?) more important than the top-down dynamics (for example: do macro and meso level factors limit the kinds of niches that can be created?) Shove (2003) rightly argues that these top-down dynamics deserve equal attention. As was argued earlier in the current section, the presence of existing socio-technical networks limits the interpretative flexibility of old and new technologies and has considerable influence on whether and to what extent certain issues are seen as object of discussion rather than as something to be taken for granted. The warning for this will be taken on board in the discussion in the next section, in which the mechanisms through which sustainable niches can influence the regime are assessed from a theoretical point of view.

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2.31 Niche management and sustainable technological development The gap between technology and society The use of niches as a test bed and learning place for new technologies can be seen as part of a broader attempt to achieve integration between technological and social domains. With an increased focus on socio-technical systems rather than on single technologies, the need for multi-disciplinary collaboration and for integration of technical and social sciences increases. However, many engineers have a tendency to separate, analytically and in practice, the realm of the social and that of the technical. Within the prevailing discourse, engineers are charged with the primary task of developing more sustainable technologies and quantifying their technological potential, whereas others, most notably social scientists, have the secondary task of studying the ‘non-technical barriers’ to the widespread implementation of the innovation (Guy, Marvin and Moss 2001; Shove 1998). So despite the increasing recognition of the social domain in sustainable technology development, engineers still dominate the discussion. This distinction between the social and the technical is also reflected in the wordings used by several (also social-scientific) scholars. Dichotomies such as ‘innovation vs. diffusion’, ‘development vs. implementation’, or ‘variation vs. selection’ can all be seen as reflections of a dominant discourse which translates as: ‘let’s first sort out technology only; if we have proven that it works, we should implement it in society’6. Coordinated efforts to integrate technical and social developments It is increasingly recognized that integration between technical and social developments is necessary to bring about sustainable system innovation. The emphasis has been directed, more and more, towards what is sometimes called the co-evolution of technology and society (Geels 2005c). A number of approaches from science and technology studies try to achieve this integration: CTA, transition management, strategic niche management and socio-technical scenarios. Constructive technology assessment (CTA; Rip, Misa and Schot 1995) focuses on the processes through which technologies are developed and implemented. Dialogue among and early interaction with new actors that are affected by new 1

This section is a revised version of section 2 of: Hegger, D.L.T., Van Vliet, J. and Van Vliet, B. (2007). “Niche management and its contribution to regime change: the case of innovation in sanitation”, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 19.6.

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technologies or those who are supposed to use, manage or maintain new technologies is seen as crucial (Schot and Rip 1997) and social aspects should be ‘symmetrically considered in the process (emphasis added) itself’ (Schot 2001). So within CTA approaches, the impact of technologies upon society is elaborated in an earlier stage compared to conventional TA approaches. Strategic niche management can be a form of CTA (Schot and Rip 1997; Van den Ende et al. 1998) provided that learning ‘takes precedence over the goals and interests of the technology actor’ (Schot and Rip 1997). Strategic niche management (SNM) approaches have also been incorporated in the approach of transition management. Transition management is concerned with the question how complex processes in which society or a subsystem of society fundamentally changes can be governed (Kemp and Loorbach 2003; Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001; Van de Kerkhof and Wieczorek 2005). The very notion of ‘transition management’ is a contradiction in terms (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004). Socio-technical systems are complex systems, which cannot be managed or steered by a central actor such as a national government. It is therefore argued that transition ‘management’ should be restricted to modulation of ongoing dynamics by a wide range of social actors (Kemp and Loorbach 2003). At certain points in time, this may provide the trigger for a transition because several societal developments reinforce each other (Rotmans 2003). According to the literature on transition management, setting up projects and experiments, which often take place in niches, is an important aspect of transition policy. But these projects and experiments are seen as part of a much broader process which includes other aspects as well: organizing a multi actor network; developing sustainability visions; evaluating, monitoring and learning. Carrying out these activities is an iterative process, encompassing several ‘transition rounds’. All these actions should be geared towards keeping a wide playing field and using a medium to long-term perspective next to a focus on the short term (Kemp and Loorbach 2003; Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001; Van de Kerkhof and Wieczorek 2005). It is argued that niche experiments should be coordinated towards one another to be able to contribute to a transition. At the time experiments are carried out, the desired direction for change is already more or less specified and strategic technological or market niches are seen as stepping stones on this trajectory (ibid). Within the approach of Strategic Niche Management, different kinds of actors can – in principle – carry out niche experiments: governments, firms, non-governmental organizations, special interest groups or an independent individual (Rip and Kemp 1998). Governmental actors have however a special task in Strategic Niche Management as an enabler or facilitator of a range of experiments. Furthermore, governmental actors have the

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task to make sure that the project yields sufficient results by monitoring, evaluating outcomes and policies and – if necessary – exerting pressure and correcting adverse actions and policies (ibid: 189). Some authors (Elzen et al. 2004) argue that socio-technical scenarios serve as an important supplement to the SNM approach. These socio-technical scenarios can be used to specify different end-goals of the transition process and to imagine different routes towards these end-goals. In so doing, socio-technical scenarios help to highlight what kinds of actions are necessary at what moment. They also help to make explicit a vision about how different niches could be linked together (ibid). The above mentioned approaches thus see an important task for a whole range of societal actors. Nevertheless they are still mainly top down in their orientation since it is argued that the experiments have to be coordinated towards one another and that some degree of governmental commitment is necessary. In doing this, these approaches downplay the fact that transitions can take place in other contexts as well. As opposed to the above mentioned ‘top-down’ approaches we can also point at more open-ended or ‘bottom-up’ approaches. Open-ended efforts to integrate technical and social developments Verheul and Vergragt (1995) coined the notion of so-called social experiments to classify bottom-up experiments with environmental technologies by citizen groups and/or non-governmental organizations, operating outside the institutional structures of firms and governments. The value of social experiments lies in the fact that they are initiated by actors which are not part of the establishment. These experiments often constitute a social niche: the people involved are intrinsically motivated citizens with a more than average degree of environmental commitment. Because of this, they use different criteria to judge a new technology and future profitability might be less important for them than it is for a market actor. These initiatives often do not focus on the implementation of a certain technology, but are mostly based on a broader vision of what sustainable development entails (Van Vliet and Stein 2004). This distinction between top-down and bottom-up approaches to socio-technical change illustrates that transitions can take place in different contexts, depending on for example the degree of coordination between the actions carried out (high or low coordination) and the origin of the resources employed (internal or external to the incumbent regime (Smith, Stirling and Berkhout 2005)).

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The role of technological experimentation and demonstration in niche-based approaches The approaches discussed so far share the assumption that small-scale experiments in niches act as a stepping stone for regime change. There is, however, less agreement on the precise focus of these experiments and what appropriate criteria for success would be (ranging from showing that a specific socio-technical configuration works or the presence of higher order learning (see further on in this section for an elaboration on learning) to a wider implementation of an innovation). Some experiments taking place in niches are stand-alone initiatives, while others are part of a range of coordinated experiments. But a major observation is that experiments at niche level are considered experiments with technologies, rather than with forms of social organization. There is certainly a point in experimenting with new technologies. Besides the obvious fact that technological artefacts – in the end – should ‘work’ to play a role in sustainable system innovation, the question which technologies to experiment with is of crucial importance. For example, as SNM scholars argue, it is especially important to stimulate pathway technologies: those technologies that help to bridge the gap between the current regime and a new (sustainable) one and thus help to escape lock-in (Kemp and Rotmans 2004). But there are some good reasons to be critical about such a focus on experimentation with technologies only. First, technological development coevolves with social developments such as changes in user practices, institutions, rules and regulations. Although this is acknowledged within the SNM approach, which stresses the importance of co-evolution between technology and society (rather than the undesirable extremes of either ‘technological utopianism’ or a ‘cultural fix’), social developments are mainly seen as a derivative of technological innovation: technological developments remain the starting point for niche experiments (Hoogma et al. 2002). One can argue, however, that if ‘severe’ social and institutional change would be expected on the road to sustainable sociotechnical systems, this might deserve experimentation on its own. In this respect the work of Ieromonachou, Potter and Enoch (2004) who further developed SNM theory and applied it for policy analysis (in the field of transport policies) is of relevance. Their main argument is that SNM is not only useful to evaluate and manage the introduction of new technologies, but that it can also be useful to implement policies. Note that in this case new technologies may still enter the stage, but then as a derivative of the policy innovation instead of the other way round. Second, it is meaningless to talk about technological potential in the abstract (Shove 1998). A notion such as ‘technological potential’ only becomes meaningful in relation to the social reality in which it is expected to function. This may imply

26 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

that the social network building preceding the technological experiment is more important than technological experimentation per se. Often many actors who might have a role to play in a desired sustainable socio-technical system are not (yet) involved in developing it. Hence, it would be wiser to try and involve such actors rather than to set up experiments with already involved actors only. This is especially true if experiments are stand-alone initiatives, since less ‘preparatory work’ in terms of network building and interaction between different social actors will have taken place at the moment the experiment starts. Third, the very idea or concept on which the experiment is based may be more important than the actual technological solutions that are put in place to realize the concept. Several technological alternatives may be feasible to realize the same concept. While technology developers often have a tendency to start developing and testing technology, it may be more feasible to sort out the rest of the sustainable solution first (Shove 1998). Or to put it differently, one might be rather optimistic about the potential of engineers to come up with technological solutions in case of a structured problem definition, but less optimistic about the potential of society to define and structure the problems at hand. It can be argued that it is the latter to which far more attention should be devoted. Compatibility of the niche with the incumbent regime Thus far some important issues related to the question what a successful niche entails have been elaborated. Niche experiments that are part of a range of related experiments as well as stand-alone experiments both have a contribution to make. And, as was argued above, it is not self-evident that technologies should form the starting point of niche experiments. Another question is whether and to what extent a niche experiment should radically differ from the incumbent regime (Smith 2005). To direct the attention of policy makers and other stakeholders to the opportunities that radical innovation promises to bring, niches should radically differ from mainstream practices. But this complicates its translation to the regime level. So to some extent, compatibility with the incumbent regime is also necessary to facilitate follow-up projects or to find applications in new settings (Weber et al. 1999). In addition, it may occur that the socio-technical context of a niche differs too much from the regime, which complicates wider application of the innovation (Lovell 2005). But niche developers may feel forced to devote most attention to radical innovations with limited development potential, because these radical innovations offer better opportunities to acquire publicity and funding. For the same reason, actors carrying out experiments may have an urge to disseminate only the positive experiences of niches and to hide the negative experiences. As Lovell (2007) argues, for governments niche experiments can become a goal in

INSIGHTS FROM SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 27

itself: these experiments can become a sort of ‘green-washing’. Funding niches legitimizes governments to state that they take action to deal with wicked problems, while it is easier to give funding to niche experiments than to put pressure on the regime, something which probably leads to more political opposition. All these examples illustrate that niches easily develop some momentum of their own, without ever having a profound influence at regime level. Socio-technical learning A final issue which deserves attention here is the role of learning in niche experiments. As the literature on changes in socio-technical systems rightly argues, learning processes are crucial, and so is the way in which these learning processes are organized. A distinction can be made (Bennett and Howlett 1992) between the subject of learning (who learns?), the objects of learning (what is learned?) and the results of learning (to what effect?). With regard to the subjects of learning: these can be policy makers as well as scientists and other stakeholders. Their learning experiences can be first and second-order learning processes. The former concerns new insights into the policy options in the case of a given policy problem and context. The latter has to do with not only the solutions to a certain problem but also with the problem itself and the different policy areas in which decisions are made (Weber 2006). These second-order insights mainly relate to the normative level of analysis. As a result of these learning processes, modification of instruments (result of first order learning) or a paradigm shift (result of secondorder learning) can take place. It has been argued that both broad learning (implying that a wide range of actors becomes involved in the innovation process) as well as deep learning (implying that both first and second-order learning occurs) is necessary (Van de Kerkhof and Wieczorek 2005). Drawing upon this conceptualization of learning, the following two criteria according to which nichebased approaches should be evaluated are proposed: (i) these approaches should bring together a broad range of actors; (ii) these actors should be encouraged to elaborate on a vision of a sustainable future, even if they are not the initiators and even when it is still unclear whether and to what extent they have an interest in it. Questions come to the fore as to what extent certain actors have an interest and to what extent a vision can be modified to fit the actors involved. In other words, a sustainable vision should not be interpreted in a too rigid way (Van der Laak, Raven and Verbong 2007) but there needs to be room for adaptation and reflexivity. Maybe not in the desired world, but certainly in the real world, other actors shall never entirely interpret a new vision in the same way as the initiator of such vision does. The original SNM approach recognizes this: it considers the

28 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

different motivations which several social actors can have to engage in technological experimentation; and it stresses the importance of monitoring and articulating the (vague) expectations and visions of participants in a niche experiment (Hoogma et al. 2002). However, through its focus on technological experimentation, there is the risk that the goals and interests of engineers dominate the discussion. It becomes less likely that engineers receive and accept close scrutiny from other actors and are encouraged ‘to critically assess their own normative viewpoints’ (Genus and Coles 2005). As Grin puts it, governance for sustainable development, in an era of reflexive modernization, necessitates discursive will formation by institutional actors (Grin 2006). There is the risk that these actors take on board institutionalized features of first modernity as selfevident routines of thought rather than as something to be deliberated. Instead, vigorous scrutiny of these institutionalized features is necessary. According to Grin, ‘the devil is in the detail’ and seemingly self evident assumptions and anticipations need to be critically assessed in moments of discursive will formation. Related to this, it is crucial that not only technology developers, but also other actors (governmental agencies, NGOs, citizen-consumers) are able to redefine a vision in terms of business opportunities (firms), something to show off with (Van Vliet and Stein 2004) or enhancement of domestic comfort, cleanliness and convenience (Shove 2003). In other words, some degree of interpretative flexibility with regard to innovations is necessary.

2.4 Résumé: Science and wastewater infrastructures

Technology

studies

and

This chapter has discussed a range of approaches in the STS-field which can contribute to a theoretical perspective on the greening of wastewater infrastructures. Theories dealing with the development of science and technology have evolved from deterministic approaches towards approaches dealing with complete socio-technical systems. From several theoretical schools of thought the lesson can be drawn that although ‘science’ and ‘technology’ do not follow an autonomous logic, there is some degree of stability in the patterns which networkbound systems such as wastewater infrastructures follow. Social constructivists’ approaches on the other hand put more emphasis on the role of actors and agency in technological development. Although both schools of thought have some valuable insights to provide, they are also one sided to some degree. Those approaches focusing on systems and structures have difficulty dealing with actors and agency, and vice versa.

INSIGHTS FROM SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 29

My point is that a theoretical perspective on the greening of wastewater infrastructures needs to take into account that large technological systems should be seen as past social constructions which have gained some degree of ‘hardness’ in the course of the years. Concepts such as ‘sunk costs’, ‘momentum’ and ‘vested interests’ are more than techno-economic or institutional concepts alone. They also point at the socio-cultural embedding of wastewater infrastructures and indicate that many previous debates have been closed, some options have been chosen and others excluded. Wastewater infrastructures have become highly uniform and taken for granted systems with a high degree of invisibility, a highly centralized organisation and control, and maintenance by experts. The greening of wastewater infrastructures might well entail, besides simply applying new technologies, a reconsideration of these taken for granted aspects of contemporary network-bound large technical systems. A crucial point is the role given to technologies and to technological experimentation. Putting technology in the centre discourages reflection on what lies behind it; in constructivists’ terms: the symbolic meanings which different social groups attach(ed) to them and the power relations between these social groups. Technology, it can be argued, should be deprived of its privileged position and there should be more focus on societal embedding instead. According to the review of niche management theories, niche experiments can take place in different contexts. Looking at the social organisation of these experiments, a distinction can be made between, on the one hand, top-down approaches in which institutional actors such as firms and governments take the lead and, on the other hand, initiatives carried by citizens’ groups and NGOs. As a working hypothesis we assume that such a distinction between two categories of projects is relevant to understand and explain the dynamics taking place in niche projects in the wastewater field. This working hypothesis will be taken on board in the next theoretical chapter and in the empirical research. The analysis hitherto suggests that a further conceptualisation of the ‘sociotechnical playground’ for a transition of wastewater infrastructures is necessary. The next chapter therefore aims to make a socio-technical conceptualisation of wastewater infrastructures and to formulate relevant concepts which will help to understand the direction in which these infrastructures are developing. In particular, the following chapter aims to formulate an end-user perspective on wastewater infrastructures.

30 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

3

Innovation in wastewater infrastructures: contributions from environmental social theory

3.1 Introduction In chapter 2 a range of theories from the STS-field was discussed. The dominant message that can be derived from this discussion is that wastewater infrastructures can be seen as large-scale socio-technical systems which have become strongly techno-economically, institutionally and socio-culturally embedded. The chapter illustrates that existing niche-based approaches towards socio-technical change have some shortcomings, complicating the contribution of niche experiments to wider changes at the level of socio-technical regimes. By taking technologies as the starting point of these experiments, technological determinism is brought in and second-order reflection is discouraged. Therefore, niche-based approaches should become more ‘social’, and ‘technology’ should no longer have a somewhat ‘privileged’ position. As a subsequent step, in chapter two the working hypothesis has been formulated that an analytical distinction between expert-led and citizenconsumer driven experiments in wastewater management is relevant for the purpose of this study. In the current chapter the discussed STS theories will be complemented with other social theories relevant for the analysis of the greening of wastewater infrastructures. This chapter specifically focuses on the role of end-users. A review of existing theories and debates is given, it is analyzed how these theories relate together, and a gap in existing theoretical approaches is identified. The chapter concludes by formulating sensitizing concepts guiding the empirical research. Section 3.2 presents the first theoretical building block of the conceptual model. Recent insights about the greening of environmentally relevant infrastructures such as those for (waste) water, energy and waste are reviewed. Within these approaches it is increasingly acknowledged that changes in these infrastructures relate to changes in the relations between citizen-consumers and the systems of provision responsible for infrastructure service delivery. The nature of these changing relations, their link with the greening of wastewater infrastructures as

32 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

well as its implications for niche management are analyzed from a theoretical point of view. Section 3.3 introduces the modernized mixture approach. This approach is a socio-technical conceptualization of wastewater infrastructures from a systemic perspective. After introducing the concept, I analyze how it relates to my first theoretical building block. Section 3.4 discusses the third building block of the conceptual model, the concepts of trust and identity. These socio-cultural concepts will also be related to the two previously discussed building blocks. In the final section, section 3.5, the three theoretical building blocks come together into a conceptual model which will serve as the starting point for the empirical research.

3.2 Changing consumer-provider relations in the greening of environmental infrastructures The role of consumers and consumption in the greening of environmental infrastructures – and in environmental governance in general – is highly contested. Although no-one would exclude (citizen)-consumers from the playground altogether, there is much less agreement on their exact role (Van den Burg 2006a). On the one extreme there are structural approaches which attach almost no importance at all to consumers and consumption. What happens in the domain of consumption is seen as nothing more than a derivative of what happens in the domain of production. Other approaches are biased towards the other extreme and neglect that it matters that consumers are connected to what Otnes (1988) calls collective socio-material systems. The current section reviews these extremes – and several in-betweens – to arrive at a workable conceptualization of the role of consumers in the design and use phases of water and wastewater infrastructures. Such a conceptualization will be the first building block of my conceptual model. Structural approaches towards consumer roles: the passive user view A first widely observable perspective is to look upon consumers as passive recipients of goods and services. The extreme here is an engineering perspective in which the consumer is reduced to a link or a switch in material flow diagrams or a pair of kidneys. Consumers are seen as users of water, energy and food, and as the producers of waste and – increasingly – of valuable resources. Their role is seen as a passive one, no agency is attributed to them. In the words of Van Vliet and Stein (2004): ‘Environmental engineers color waste water grey (water from kitchen sinks,

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 33

showers, washing machines), black (faeces) or yellow (urine) while the producers of all these differently colored waste waters remain out of sight, or are reduced to system elements producing valuable nutrients.’ These structural approaches seem to focus largely on systemic dynamics. One would easily get the impression that consumers see the consumption of natural resources, and the production of waste and recyclable materials as a goal in itself. This is of course not the case. End-users ‘process’ resources to fulfill their needs. According to Groot-Marcus et al. (2006) resource consumption and the emission of waste are part of a process in which consumers, within households, aim to achieve a certain level of well-being. ‘Resource consumption’ and ‘waste emission’ are used to fulfill functions for households such as achieving a desired level of comfort, cleanliness and convenience (Shove 2003) which – in turn – influences their level of well-being. Although many scholars have a more nuanced and less technocratic view on the role of consumers than some engineers do, they still attach a rather passive, receptive like – role to the consumer. In their view the consumer is affected by changes in (socio-technical) systems, but the consumer does not affect these systems. Such a viewpoint can be observed in several STS theories which were introduced in the previous chapter. Most of these theories do not make special reference to consumers, although concepts such as ‘social actors’, ‘societal actors’, ‘actor networks’, ‘the demand side’ and ‘the selection environment’ may include consumers as well (Van Vliet 2002). However, mostly a rather passive role is assumed for them. The focus is on the influence of new technologies or technological systems on consumers rather than the other way round. For example, Latour (1992) and Akrich (1992) argue that technologies ‘script’ consumer behavior. To some extent technologies ‘tell’ consumers, through the way in which they are designed, what the appropriate mode of use is. Hughes (1983) has elaborated in some length how users were affected by the process of electrification. STS scholars who do see consumers as agents capable of changing systems of production and consumption are the minority but there are some. Pinch and Bijker (1984) included different consumer groups amongst the relevant social groups influencing the development of the bicycle. The approach of constructive technology assessment (Schot and Rip 1997) explicitly aims to come up with ways to include end-users in technological change. However, more widespread attention to the role of consumers in socio-technical change did not arise until relatively recently. Several scholars now acknowledge that STS theories over-simplified the role of the consumer (e.g. within transition theory: Elzen, Geels and Green (2004); Rotmans (2003)).

34 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

On the other hand, Huber (2004) argues that the consumer is and should be a passive recipient of new technologies. According to Huber the relative gain to be achieved through processes of ecological modernization is much higher in the sphere of production than it is in the sphere of consumption. He sees consumers only as people who can ‘change their behavior’ if they are provided with the right incentive. But he argues that this does not lead very far because to achieve a more substantial environmental gain whole systems of production and consumption should be changed, which is something for which Huber envisages no role for consumers. Furthermore, implicit in his viewpoint is that demand for goods and services is somehow ‘static’ and ‘fixed’, while, as for example Chappells (2003) and Shove (2003) argue, it is in fact constructed. An actor centered view on consumer roles: the unrestricted consumer A second, widely observable, perspective is to see consumers as individuals with a free choice as opposed to passive recipients of goods and services. This is in fact the other extreme since the attachment of consumers to socio-technical networks is played down. A range of approaches analyses individual consumer behavior more or less apart from its social and technical context. Socio-psychological approaches (Steg 1999) have been most dominant here. Many socio-psychological conceptualizations are derived from Ajzen’s (1991) and Fishbein/Ajzen’s (1975) influential model in which human behavior is seen as planned behavior of rational individuals with a free choice. In their most sophisticated forms these models portray ‘environmental behavior’ as the result of knowledge about available alternatives and the motivation to comply with ‘social norms’ with regard to these alternatives. Originally, relatively little attention was paid to the social context of individuals: the options to ‘behave environmentally’ were implicitly thought to be ‘out there’. However, in later formulations of the theory ‘structural restrictions’ to ‘environmental behavior’ were included in the model. It was acknowledged that consumers might refrain from using certain sustainable goods and services if these are not available or if they cannot be fitted into one’s daily routines. Attitude-behavior models have been quite influential in guiding the decisions of policy makers in several countries (Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005). However, even the most sophisticated of these attitude-behavior models were not able to adequately explain and predict consumption behavior and in empirical studies it turned out that correlations between values and behavior were quite weak (Vringer 2005). In evaluating what such socio-psychological approaches have on offer to explain innovation processes in wastewater infrastructures we can argue that they are too

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 35

much focused on individual choices of consumers which are portrayed as isolated choices regarding ‘environmental’ behavior. For example, a wide list of concrete items (e.g. using the bicycle instead of the car; not using throwaway bags when shopping) where thought to be indicators for an underlying motivation to behave environmentally friendly. When it comes to the use of infrastructure-related services, however, consumers are influenced by their attachment to technical and social networks (Spaargaren 1997). Furthermore, and in relation to this, talking about ‘environmental’ behavior does not really make sense since it is artificial to talk about ‘environmental’ behavior as distinct from other forms of behavior. It is probably more accurate to look upon ‘environmental’ considerations as being part of social practices in which these considerations do or do not come to the fore rather than to make an analytical distinction between behavior that is, and behavior that is not considered ‘environmental’. Finally, socio-psychological models restrict themselves to consumption behavior but do not take into account that consumers might be able to act as change agents with a role in restructuring production-consumption chains (ibid). Towards a contextual view on consumer roles: the social practices model The ‘passive user’ view and the ‘unrestricted consumer’ view are both one sided since they over emphasize, respectively, the role of structure and that of agency in their conceptualization of the role of the consumer of infrastructure related services. Several scholars have sought for a more contextual conceptualization of consumer roles. The work of scholars putting households at the center of analysis (Groot-Marcus et al. 2006; Uitdenbogerd 2007) provides a first step towards such a more contextual view. These scholars agree that a focus on individual consumption choices directs the attention away from the context in which consumption takes place and they see the household as the most direct context for consumption. Opening the ‘black box’ of the household, these household scientists argue that household members adhere to a particular ‘standard of living’ because it enables these members to achieve their desired level of well-being. To understand what household members do, one should look at the available household resources (human and non-human resources such as time, skills, knowledge, money), the current ‘level of living’, the ‘standard of living’ as well as the ‘level of well-being’ within the household. These processes internal to the household depend upon several ‘external variables’ including facilities (services, information, infrastructure), resources (energy, material, information) as well as societal norms and values (Groot-Marcus et al. 2006).

36 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

These household-centered perspectives illustrate that peoples’ everyday-life is highly relevant to understand innovation processes in socio-technical systems. The adoption, use and appropriation of new technologies depends, for example, on whether end-users have the available knowledge and skills to operate new technologies, whether new socio-technical systems can be fitted into one’s daily routines and whether end-users recognize socio-technical systems as relevant tools to fulfill functions which these end-users deem relevant or necessary. However, a focus on the micro level of households only bears the risk of portraying ‘the wider society’ as a sort of ‘external variable’. For example, the model portrayed by Groot-Marcus et al. (2006) presupposes an influence of the socio-material environment upon the household, but not the other way round. Pennartz and Niehof (1999) distinguish between ‘structural’ and ‘cultural’ factors, which can be situated ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the household. As Shove argues (2002; 2004) in contemporary societies the coordination of household tasks has become a complex affair. We do not have to go back in time very far to see that the temporalspatial structure of household tasks was in large part ‘shaped’ by society (‘Monday washing day’). Currently, household members increasingly have to find their own ways of ‘adapting’ household labor to the ‘requirements’ of the ‘24-hour’ formal economy as well as the culture of combining household tasks as much as possible. A focus on households takes into account that households are affected by their ‘socio-material environment’ in several different ways, but is much less outspoken about the mechanisms through which households in turn influence this environment. As opposed to that, several authors argue that the relationship between infrastructures and end-users is a mutual one. Otnes (1988) shows how consumers are highly dependent on ‘collective socio-material systems’ to carry on their daily routines, but also that in the long term changing lifestyles can influence systems of infrastructure provision. Fine and Leopold (1993) argue that the handling of commodities differs between different ‘systems of provision’. Such systems include for example food systems, energy systems, traffic systems, and (waste) water systems. The reasons for differences between several systems of provision have to do with the way these systems are organized and the pace with which they (can or cannot) change. Guy, Marvin and Moss (2001) maintain that production and consumption interests are mutually shaping social life and that ‘physical networks are intimately tied to everyday-life’ (p. 27). Spaargaren (1997; 2003), drawing upon Giddens’ (1976; 1984) theory of structuration, stresses that end-users are being served by and at the same time serving large technical systems and Van Vliet (2002) shows how consumer roles in utility management in general and in wastewater management in particular (Van Vliet and Stein 2004) are on the move.

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 37

Spaargaren and Van Vliet (2000) have integrated the insights of various scholars quoted above in the social practices model, which they also applied to infrastructure related services later on (Spaargaren 2003). According to Spaargaren and Van Vliet it is easily observable that consumers are being served by a large number of infrastructure networks, such as the electricity grid, water works, conventional telecommunication networks, piped gas system and the sewer system. The serving of large technical systems by end-users – on the other hand – is less widely acknowledged as has been indicated above. It refers to the fact that citizen-consumers adequately run and make use of all these systems in their homes and offices. As Spaargaren (1997) puts it, capable and knowledgeable users of systems within various social practices, legitimize the very existence of large technical systems. Without (proper) usage, systems would soon cease to exist. The social practices model differs from other approaches towards sustainable consumption because it puts social practices which individuals share with other human agents at the centre of analysis. A main premise of the model is that environmentally relevant behavior does not stand on its own but is part of daily routines which an individual follows. The extent to which environmental concerns are taken on board while following these routines is influenced, on the one hand, by lifestyle choices of individuals and on the other hand by the possibilities offered to consumers in the context of different systems of provision (Spaargaren 2003). The social practices model has been developed to extend ecological modernization theory (Huber 1982; Jänicke 1986; Mol 1995; Spaargaren 1997; Spaargaren and Mol 1992). The core of ecological modernization theory is that processes of production and consumption are actively and reflexively reconfigured without putting an end to modernization, while taking into account environmental criteria. Ecological modernization theory postulates that such environmental concerns are taken on board as independent criteria which are not derived from and cannot be reduced to economic or social concerns. In its earliest formulations the theory was much focused on production processes and governmental policy but it was increasingly acknowledged that – amongst others – consumers and consumption should also be included in the analysis7. As the social practices model – depicted on the next page – points out, the introduction of environmental innovations goes along with changing (power) relations between providers and consumers. Essential is the extent to which modes of production, provision, access and use do (or do not) fit one another. This social practices model gets empirical ‘content’ when introducing (intentionally) environmental innovations like those aiming at sustainable wastewater management. Such innovations in the form of techniques, procedures

38 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

or social arrangements can be introduced by different modes of production and provision and may be accessed and used also in various ways (Chappells et al. 2000; Spaargaren and Van Vliet 2000). On the left side of the model presented in Figure 3.1, human actors – aiming at a reduction of the environmental impacts of their lifestyles – are dependent on the environmental innovations made available to them through systems of provision. On the right side of the model, companies, public utilities and governmental agencies involved in the development of more sustainable goods and services are dependent on citizen-consumers. Citizen-consumers have to recognize environmental innovations as relevant ‘tools’ that fit their lifestyles and their internal domestic organization as well as specific norms and standards (such as those of comfort, cleanliness and convenience (Shove 2003)).

Consumer/ End-user

Social Practices

Structures

Practice 1 Practice 2 Discursive and practical consciousness

Rules and resources

Practice 3 Practice 4

Modes of use

Modes of access

Environmental

Modes of provision

Modes of production

Innovations

Figure 3.1: The social practices model

This model enables to distinguish several reasons for failed innovations. For example, environmental innovations can compromise the level of comfort one is accustomed to (modes of use), they may be designed from a narrow engineering perspective (modes of production), or consumers may not be familiar with the channels used (modes of access and provisioning).

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 39

The work of Van Den Burg (2006b) can be used to extend the social practices model. In his analysis of the role of the consumer in informational governance, the notions of the ‘real’, ‘represented’ and the ‘imagined’ consumer – drawing upon Schot and De la Bruhèze 2003 – were coined. For the purpose of the current research, the main point is that consumers can and do influence the strategies of providers directly and indirectly. Direct consumer influence is most commonly known. It refers, for example, to direct purchase patterns of consumers, and to different forms of activism (sending and signing letters and petitions, becoming a volunteer in an environmental NGO, boycotting certain providers). If these actions explicitly aim to influence the strategies of providers, they can be ranked under the heading of political consumerism (e.g. Micheletti 2003). However, also consumer behavior which not deliberately aims to affect production-consumption chains, of course, influences the strategies of providers. In the wastewater field direct consumer influence could take place through consumers who take the initiative for installing in-house reuse and recycling schemes, but also, through (not) buying a house with some pre-installed technologies or by setting up citizens’ groups or NGOs promoting some developments (such as setting up an eco-village). However, providers also take actions in the absence of ‘real’ consumers. This is the case if the ‘represented’ consumer enters the stage. Some institutions have been especially established to protect the interests of consumers, for example general consumer organizations and other more specialized organizations protecting the interests of car owners, house owners, or ethical consumers8. Such organizations take action on behalf of certain groups of consumers and can thus influence the strategies and actions of producers. Besides, many institutional actors may have an inclination to act on behalf of consumers because they are their customers (think of producers of (environmental) technologies for the consumer market, housing corporations, project developers) or their citizens (in case of municipalities). It is not always easy to distinguish between the interests of the consumer and self interest of the institutional actor representing them, because although institutional actors and consumers can have the same interest, this need not be the case. A third form of consumer influence is that of the ‘imagined’ consumer. This refers to the observation that institutional actors ‘anticipate’ how consumers will react to their actions and adapt these actions accordingly. A negative example – from an environmental point of view – is the so-called window dressing: marginal environmental actions of an institution can be made highly conspicuous to attract positive publicity and to bring about a positive image amongst consumers. A more

40 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

positive example is the decision to refrain from harmful actions because producers or traders – rightly or not – fear negative publicity or consumer boycotts. A further possibility is that the ‘imagined’ consumer not only influences the strategies of institutional actors, but also the design of products. Some argue that many consumer products are designed to perfectly fit the needs of very specific groups of users because designers use themselves as a point of reference (see for example: Oldenziel et al. 2001). Indeed product developers tend to have a certain picture of end-users in mind, which is not necessarily correct. The point here is that a broad but nuanced view on consumer influence in environmental governance in general, and in the greening of wastewater infrastructures in particular, is necessary. Portraying consumer influence only as the direct actions taken by these consumers severely underestimates the importance of the consumer. Several actions of institutions are to some extent related to consumers and the consumption side. Fear of losing customers – justified or not – and estimations and claims – objective or not – on what the consumer does or wants should be taken into account to fully grasp the role of consumers in environmental governance. Applying the social practices model to urban infrastructures The social practices model has been given empirical content by applying it to the greening of utility services (Chappells et al. 2000; Van Vliet 2002). Looking at changing consumer-provider relations, the main line of development in the greening of utility services in general is that a diversification of these relations has occurred. Until the 1970s most utilities in many Western European countries could be characterized as publicly owned utilities providing uniform services to captive consumers. Within this traditional simple modern form of utility provision and consumption consumers have no other choice than to use the services of utility networks. Because of this, utility services had become highly uniform and taken for granted. Consumption practices related to utility services had come to belong to the most invisible or inconspicuous forms of domestic consumption (Shove 2003). However, this simple modern form of utility provision and consumption has been replaced with a late modern form in which providers and consumers are linked in several different ways (Guy, Marvin and Moss 2001; Spaargaren 2003; Van Vliet 2002). This process of diversification, which in several empirical domains takes place within a context of liberalization and privatization, is to some extent an environment-induced process (Van Vliet 2002). A first form of diversification which can be distinguished is a diversification in the use of natural resources. This is the oldest and most commonly known form of diversification. One can think of electricity companies making use of new natural

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 41

resources (solar energy, wind, biomass) next to ‘conventional’ energy sources such as natural gas and coal to produce electricity, or of water supply companies who use rainwater and surface water (sometimes in different qualities) for drinking water production.

Pre modern: - Self provisioning as the dominant form - Enforced autonomy - No central grids

Modern: - Network provisioning as the dominant form - Captive consumers dependent on monopolistic providers

= Household

Late modern: - Provision by competing networks as the dominant form - Consumer choice as a result of differentiating provider networks - Differentiating consumer roles: co-providers, self providers, customers and citizenconsumers next to captive consumers

= Utility grid/provider networks

Figure 3.2: utility provisioning and changing household-grid relations (Spaargaren 2003)

A second form of diversification is a diversification of the providers of infrastructure related services which in the simple modern form used to be large publicly owned utilities only. A diversification of providers means that new players enter the market and that the roles of existing players change. Green electricity schemes are an example. Such schemes can be offered by large existing utilities which have lost their monopoly (and have in many cases become privatized). Besides, a whole range of new actors has started to play a role, such as environmental NGOs especially established to mediate the trade between small-

42 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

scale electricity providers and green-electricity consumers, windmill cooperatives or individual consumers using small-scale electricity generating technologies. A third form of diversification is a diversification of mediating technologies. As part of an environmental restructuring of utility services a range of new technologies enters the stage which in many respects alters the relations between providers and consumers. Examples are small-scale electricity generation using combined heat-and-power technologies or solar panels and – closer to the wastewater field – the use of rainwater storage tanks, in-house re-use or recycling schemes for water or the composting toilet. Many of these innovations enable (and sometimes make necessary) an alteration of the modes of provision of these technologies. It is not self evident that these technologies are ‘just there’, when a consumer starts to dwell a new house. Neither is it self evident that large-scale utilities install, maintain or operate these technologies or that the tasks of installment, maintenance and operation are carried out by the same actor. Each of these tasks could – in principle – be delegated to other social actors: project developers, municipalities, environmental NGOs, housing corporations, independent individuals or house owner groups. This implies that due to the introduction of environmental innovations existing consumer-provider relations become the object of deliberation, rather than a taken for granted fact. The fourth form of diversification is diversification of consumer roles. Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove (2005) have distinguished several new consumer roles which consumers can have vis-à-vis the networks of provision delivering utility services. These ideal typical roles are that of the captive consumer, the customer consumer, the citizen-consumer and the co-provider consumer. As Van Vliet et al. argue, the relative importance of the captive-consumer is decreasing. More and more, consumers can choose between for example different providers (in case of liberalization of these utility services), different services from the same provider (e.g. green electricity scheme or not), and different mediating technologies (rainwater collection bin). The notion of the customer-consumer refers to the notion that in many infrastructural fields the consumer increasingly gets the possibility to choose between different providers and different services. The concept of the citizen-consumer as developed by Van Vliet et al. refers to the appeal made to consumers as being moral or ethical actors to whom the possibility can be (and increasingly is) offered to consume in a sustainable way. A wide range of examples from several empirical domains can be referred to. In the domain of food consumption one can think of buying organic and/or fair trade products. Another example is the purchase of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) labeled timber products. The purchase of such products is often proposed as a

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 43

possibility to act as a moral agent, and it can become a lifestyle aspect which enables individuals to relate themselves to some and distinguish themselves from others. In the field of utility services such moral/ethical consumption is relatively new. Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove (2005) refer to the example of green electricity schemes to illustrate how responsibility for the sustainable provision of goods and services is transferred from utilities and governments to citizen-consumers. As the depiction of the possible different modes of provision discussed above shows, it could make sense to also apply the notion of the citizen-consumer to the empirical domain of wastewater infrastructures. Then there is the ideal typical notion of the co-provider. As a result of new consumer-provider relations and/or the implementation of environmental innovations the consumer can become a co-provider of goods and services. An example is the use of decentralized technologies (such as solar panels on the roof) implying that consumers are (in part) a provider themselves. Other examples include self initiation of consumers to implement certain technologies or – wider ranging – to form citizen groups, NGOs or cooperatives setting up complete pilot projects. One can argue that the wastewater field is the empirical domain in which the ‘captive’ role is most dominant at present because of its still very high uniformity and taken for grantedness, and – not in the last place – because of the sunk costs related to existing infrastructures which are omnipresent in many countries. However, several environmental innovations in the wastewater field may imply that the emerging roles of the customer consumer, the co-provider consumer and the citizen-consumer are becoming relevant for the wastewater field as well. One can think of the use of small-scale technologies for wastewater management which – as has been indicated above – make new modes of provision possible. Conclusion: consumer roles in water and wastewater Up to this point existing theories on consumer roles in infrastructure management and broader have been discussed in some length. These theories show that a focus on consumer-provider relations offers a promising perspective to understand the greening of these infrastructures, amongst which wastewater infrastructures can be ranked. The hypothesis can be drawn that there is mutual influence between application of environmental innovations in the wastewater field and consumer-provider relations. Power relations between providers and consumers of these services are a critical factor which can be medium and outcome of the introduction of environmental innovations in the wastewater field, a factor which cannot be

44 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

reduced to ‘technological’ variables only. As argued above, the introduction of environmental innovations can restructure such consumer-provider relations, either because the modes of access and provisioning of environmental innovations are deliberately altered, or because the character of the applied innovations makes such changing relations necessary. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the introduction of environmental innovations brings wastewater flows closer to citizen-consumers, not only literally, but also mentally, resulting in awareness raising and the rise of environmental consciousness with regard to wastewater. Some argue that adaptations in infrastructure can enhance the pro-environmental orientation of households, even if these households did not opt for the innovations themselves (Martensson and Fuehrer 2001). But this re-connecting of household behavior and its ecological consequences seems to be more difficult for wastewater infrastructures than for other network bound services, because wastewater handling is part of an intimate context where norms concerning purity and danger (Douglas 1966) enter (Krantz 2005; Martensson and Fuehrer 2001). On the other hand, changing consumer-provider relations can make a difference for the introduction of environmental innovations. Enhanced involvement and empowerment of citizen-consumers through several channels – directly and indirectly – is a way to significantly speed up the innovation process. As we have seen in chapter two these changing consumer-provider relations cannot be derived from – or reduced to – changes in technology alone. Apart from technical characterizations for wastewater infrastructures (such as their technical scale, or the degree of differentiation they make between different wastewater flows (Hiessl et al. 2002; Urban Water 2002) changing consumer-provider relations constitute separate dimensions as well. This point has vast implications for the niche management of environmental innovations in wastewater infrastructures. It means that the social structure of niche experiments, consumer-provider relations in particular, can become an object of deliberate experimentation. The chosen and non-chosen innovation options (Pinch and Bijker 1984) are then not only to be conceived of in terms of the physical outlook of new wastewater management systems, but also in terms of their modes of provision, access and use. The social practices model, applied to wastewater infrastructures, will be the first building block of my conceptual model. What this model shows us is that systemic dynamics, which can be found at the right hand side of the model, can be the starting point for environmental innovations, but that life-world dynamics, portrayed on the left hand side, can be the starter as well. In the following two

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 45

sections I will deal with two other theoretical approaches and assess to what extent they can contribute to a further conceptualization of either of these dynamics.

3.3 Conceptualizing systemic dynamics in water and wastewater: the modernized mixture approach Up to this point the need for a socio-technical conceptualization of wastewater infrastructures has been identified. The point is that a range of innovation options can be distinguished, which cannot be reduced to technological variables only and that there are systemic and life-world dynamics which should be further conceptualized. Drawing upon several theoretical perspectives, the current section introduces the modernized mixture approach as a tool to grasp the changing character of wastewater infrastructures from a systemic perspective. The centralized-decentralized debate, being the debate from which the modernized mixture approach distances itself, will be introduced. It will be argued that the modernized mixture approach is a good starting point to understand and describe the systemic changes taking place in contemporary wastewater infrastructures. This section concludes by proposing six strategic variables which can be indicators of such modernized mixtures. The centralised-decentralised debate Many environmental debates can be characterized as a clash between two opposing paradigms: centralization vs. decentralization (Tjallingii 1996). Thinking in the terms of such a dichotomy, several dilemmas come to the fore: the debate suggests that an absolute choice for centralized or decentralized options is necessary, but none of the two extremes is completely preferable over the other. A core feature of completely centralized systems is the large area of coverage. Water flows are transported over large distances and control is in the hands of specialized institutions, whose main task is to supply water in case of shortage and to remove it in case of excess. Within this centralization paradigm (waste) water infrastructures are hidden under the ground, out of sight and out of the minds of the residents. This makes it a logical choice to put the management of these systems in the hands of a few experts and to restrict the involvement of the consumer to ‘using the system’ and ‘paying the bill’. Centralization has several advantages. For example, centralized management by experts gives a degree of certainty because crucial control tasks are in the hands of only a few persons. Proponents of centralized systems see them as robust, as ‘misbehavior’ of residents will not easily lead to collapse of the system as a whole. Furthermore, a high degree of centralization may lead to economies of scale.

46 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

However, as has been indicated in the introductory chapter, there is ongoing debate as to whether long term social, economic and environmental sustainability can be achieved within the centralization paradigm. Some scholars therefore argue in favor of small-scale systems which are thought to offer various advantages from an ecological point of view. Several proponents of small-scale sanitation systems (e.g. www.de12ambachten.nl) can be placed in the tradition of the alternative technology (AT) movement (Schumacher 1973) arguing that such systems should be directed at local circ*mstances, prevention of pollution and resource use, and reuse of natural resources as much as possible. In fact, such decentralized systems according to Schumacher’s ‘small is beautiful’ ideal are on the other extreme of the centralized-decentralized continuum. These systems promise to clear away many of the disadvantages of centralized systems. There is the potential for source-oriented and local water treatment, (re)use of various substances and increased involvement of humans in the use of the system which several AT scholars consider a necessary precondition for water and sanitation systems (and other environmentally relevant infrastructures) to be fully sustainable. Such decentralized systems bear many promises from an environmental point of view. Yet, it should be recalled (as has been argued in the previous and the current chapter) that a complete shift towards such systems is to be considered highly problematic given the large technical system character of wastewater infrastructures. Other arguments against widespread implementation of ‘small is beautiful’ systems include the idea that there is inevitably a loss of scale advantages and that closer involvement of lay people is a risk for the robustness of such systems. Furthermore, such a philosophy would require a spatial structure which is radically different from the ones that can be found in many Western countries. For Schumacher’s ideal to be realized, a spatial structure with no distinction between ‘city’ and ‘countryside’ would be required. Hence the saying: ‘The central approach removes the problems from the city, the decentralized approach seems to move people out of the city’ (Tjallingii 1996). Thinking in terms of centralized versus decentralized systems thus leads to the question: ‘how to choose between the certainties of centralized solutions (for which the disadvantages are becoming increasingly problematic) and the uncertainty of a decentralized solution with advantages for prevention’ (ibid)? Towards a modernized mixture approach in Western society Several theoretical perspectives (Guy, Marvin and Moss 2001; Spaargaren 2003; Van Vliet 2002; Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005) argue that a view in which

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 47

centralized and decentralized systems are radically opposed is not accurate. The modernized mixture approach, drawing on these approaches, argues that simple dichotomies such as centralized vs. decentralized systems are not appropriate to distinguish between wastewater management systems. Drawing upon amongst others Guy, Marvin and Moss 2001; Spaargaren 2003; Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005, I have already made the point that urban infrastructures are gradually being reconfigured due to several economic, social and environmental challenges they are being confronted with. Furthermore, it has been argued that these changes, amongst others, involve changing power relations between consumers and providers of these urban infrastructures, which cannot be derived from or reduced to changes in technologies only. Several research projects dealing with innovation in wastewater infrastructures, on closer inspection, have similar perspectives. While it is common to include notions such as ‘technical scale’ and ‘degree of differentiation of water flows’ in conceptualizations of urban water systems some scholars also include ‘management scale’ (e.g. centralized vs. decentralized organization) as a separate dimension (e.g. Hiessl et al. 2002; Urban Water 2002). It is explicitly stated that ‘technical scale’ and ‘management scale’ do not logically result from each other, but are the result of deliberate decisions. Hence, these scholars implicitly acknowledge that the technical outlook of wastewater management systems and the power relations between consumers and providers should be seen as different things. The modernized mixture approach is also being used in an East African context. A current research project on environmental infrastructures in this particular region of the world explicitly aims ‘to combine the best features of centralized and decentralized systems’ (Spaargaren et al. 2005). Ideas from this research project include the construction of different technological modules of small-scale technologies which can be combined in several different configurations; the use of mixes of scales, strategies, technologies, payment systems and decision making structures; and a flexible approach in which urban water and sanitation systems are continuously being adapted to specific local circ*mstances. I argue that such an approach would also be fruitful and realistic in a Western context, and moreover, that a shift from simple modern centralized systems towards various modernized mixtures is actually taking place at the moment. Such a view is in line with the idea – postulated by ecological modernization scholars – that processes of production and consumption are being actively and reflexively redesigned without putting an end to modernization, while taking into account environmental criteria.

48 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Taking into account the hypothesis of a diversification of wastewater infrastructure design principles and the ways in which providers and consumers of these wastewater infrastructures are linked, I arrive at the following definition of modernized mixtures. Modernized mixtures can be defined as: those late modern socio-technical configurations of wastewater infrastructures in which various features of simple modern systems have been deliberately and reflexively reconstructed to deal with contemporary social, economic and environmental challenges. In the remainder of this section, several relevant dimensions for wastewater infrastructures, fitting within the modernized mixture approach, will be identified. Technical scale (highly centralized vs. highly decentralized wastewater treatment) A first indicator of urban water systems is their technical scale. This is the most commonly known indicator to characterize wastewater management systems, but its meaning is less unambiguous as one might think at first glance. Chappells et al. (2000) for example distinguish between four dimensions of technical scale: 1) scale of technology, 2) scale of management, 3) the reach of a technology and 4) whether the artefacts involved are stand alone vs. grid connected artefacts. With the modernized mixture variable of technical scale, only the first dimension is covered. Dimension two, three and four will be covered by the other variables to be introduced later on (and discussed in more detail there). A possible indicator for ‘technical scale’ is the level at which wastewater is treated: is it treated at the level of a single household (composting toilet) or does the wastewater management system comprise a whole city quarter or more? A centralized sewage system connected to a wastewater treatment plant can be conceived of as a highly centralized system whereas the composting toilet can be conceived of as a highly decentralized system. Between these two extremes semidecentralized ‘community-on-site’ systems such as a local bioreactor for the purification of black water in an apartment building, or reed-bed filters, can be placed. Of course, systems for wastewater management consist of much more artefacts than wastewater treatment systems only, but they seem to be the determining factor for technical scale. Many small artefacts (toilets, pipes) are connected to it, but still the overall scale at which wastewater is dealt with is to be considered large and highly centralized. The more wastewater is treated in a centralized way, the larger the area of coverage. As an indicator for technical scale one could use categories comparable to the ones used by urban planners (De Graaf 2006; Hasselaar et al. 2006). These levels are more or less related to what water managers call ‘peoples equivalents’,

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 49

an indicator for the amount of inflow to be expected for a wastewater treatment facility. Each level on the scale below should be seen as a point on a continuum: 1. city or larger (> 10.000 households); 2. city quarter (250 up to 10.000 households); 3. neighborhood (25 up to 250 households); 4. cluster of houses/apartment building (2 to approximately 25 households); 5. dwelling/household (1 household). The number of households mentioned should not be seen as an iron cast law but as an indication only. It should furthermore be noted that these categories are in part socially constructed. A neighborhood consists of several clusters together. The reason that a particular set of clusters is termed a ‘neighborhood’ is often related to the perception of planners or residents rather than to strict figures. Degree of differentiation of water flows (combined flows vs. differentiated flows) The degree of differentiation of water flows that is laid down in the design of the system is an indicator varying from single treatment of water combining all water flows to separated systems for different water qualities. In combined systems (e.g. combined sewer system), wastewater and rainwater of various qualities is treated in the same system. On the other extreme, there are systems that differentiate between four water flows (e.g. rainwater, black, grey and yellow water). This leads to the following characterization: 1. everything collectively; 2. disconnection of rainwater; 3. rainwater & two flows of domestic wastewater (e.g. black and grey) with sewer backup; 4. rainwater & two flows of domestic wastewater without sewer backup; 5. rainwater & three flows of domestic wastewater (e.g. black, grey, yellow; or black, grey & sewer system as a backup option). Management scale of the innovation (centralized vs. decentralized management) This variable refers to the way in which system operation, management and maintenance tasks are divided between provider and consumer actors and ranges from centralized to decentralized management. An example of centralized organization is the flushing toilet with its associated adage of ‘flush and forget’. The end-user is only to a very limited extent involved in the management of the system (regularly cleaning the toilet, paying the bills for the sewer system and wastewater treatment) and has no system management, maintenance and repair

50 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

tasks. Several innovations are, however, operated and managed in a decentralized way, often implying that citizen-consumers have a more important job in their management. On the other extreme, there is the example of the composting toilet, which requires large in use involvement. For example, it might be necessary to add straw and other components to get the composting process going, and compost has to be carried away regularly and reused. At first sight, the management scale of the innovation seems to be very strictly related to the technical scale of the system. This makes it tempting to think that highly centralized technological systems require centralized management while highly decentralized technological systems require decentralized management. However, this is not the case (Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005). On-site anaerobic wastewater treatment systems are an example. They can be managed and maintained not by individual consumers but by the larger expertise organizations that have installed these units in the first place. On the other hand, one can conceive of decentralized management of technologically centralized systems. For the wastewater field one can think of assigning management and maintenance tasks for reed-bed filters to individual citizen-consumers. The variable management scale thus solely refers to the division of tasks. This variable says nothing about the degree of expertise required for system management and maintenance. For some management and maintenance tasks lay knowledge may suffice while for other tasks expert knowledge can be necessary. We will use the following characterization of management scale: 1. most management and maintenance tasks belong to large-scale utilities; 2. most management and maintenance tasks are carried out by smaller organizations such as small-scale utilities, intermediary and service organizations; 3. management and maintenance tasks are neatly divided amongst institutional actors and (groups of) individual users; 4. management and maintenance tasks are carried out by groups of a number of users; 5. most management and maintenance tasks are carried out by individual users. In use involvement of end-users (low vs. high) The variable in-use involvement refers to whether end-users take up extra tasks in the use, management and maintenance of innovations compared to conventional systems. On the one hand, there are wastewater management systems that do not involve extra tasks for end-users. One can think of water-saving devices and

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 51

separate storm water sewers. These technologies are fit-and-forget technologies which do not involve any extra tasks for end-users in order to function well. On the other hand, there are systems that do require extra tasks for end-users. Disconnection of rainwater is a case in point. Storm water is not collected in a sewage system, but infiltrated in the soil directly, on the place where it falls. This disconnection of storm water does have consequences for citizens-consumers, who will be confronted with more (open) water in their neighborhood, restrictions concerning car-washing and dog walking, and the de-coupling of their own roofs. This variable can be translated into a five-point scale as follows: 1. systems that do not involve extra tasks (water saving devices, separate storm water sewer); 2. systems requiring conscious awareness (reed-bed filter: awareness about the kinds of detergents used is needed); 3. systems which make normal routines more laborious (disconnection of rainwater: restrictions regarding dog walking/car washing); 4. systems requiring an active role for end-users in their installation (disconnecting the garden from the sewage system); 5. systems in which end-users actively manage waste(water)flows (composting toilet). Degree of choice for the inhabitants (Low vs. High degree of choice) This variable says something about the possibility for citizen-consumers to join an innovation out of free will. Therefore, it depends upon the modes of access and provisioning of the innovation. At present especially the wastewater field is highly characterized by a public mode of provision9. Compared to other systems of provision, such as those for food or mobility, consumers have few possibilities to act as a customer of privately provided commodities. Most dwellings have existing connections to publicly owned sewage systems, restricting the possibilities for privatized modes of provision. Yet, even this ‘captured’ situation does not exclude privatized modes of provision altogether. For example, the installation of in-house reuse and recycling schemes (complementing existing public systems) can take the form of a privatized mode of provision. This illustrates that, even within a largely public mode of provision, there are different degrees of choice possible. On the one hand there can be passive acceptance. An example of this is the uniform implementation of an innovation in all dwellings in a whole neighborhood. If residents can choose between two similar houses in two similar neighborhoods, one with and one without the innovation, then there is still some degree of choice (take it or leave it). If the presence of an

52 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

innovation is unknown to the residents at the moment they start to dwell a house, this can be termed passive acceptance. Another example of such passive acceptance is the situation in which a resident is forced to ‘take it’ because of a shortage of acceptable housing on the market. On the other extreme there is the possibility for residents to deliberately choose for certain innovations. Here one can expect that stand-alone artefacts, as opposed to grid-connected artefacts, offer – in principle – more possibilities to choose. Composting toilets, single devices for water reuse and recycling and – to a lesser extent – reed-bed filters are less dependent on wastewater grids than toilets connected to a vacuum system are. But besides this degree of grid-connectedness also the modes of access and provisioning are of importance in determining degree of choice. Examples of accessibility questions are: Is a certain innovation affordable? Is there enough space to locate an artefact? Do the required management and maintenance skills of the residents match those needed for a certain technology? Is there one, or multiple, moments at which one can change (e.g. can the innovation only be implemented if one starts to dwell a house, or can it be applied any moment?) Examples of different modes of provision are: is a system offered as a package deal, or is there the possibility to choose between different modules? Can a resident choose for a service contract or not? Is relevant information distributed to residents (unasked), or do residents have to look for this information themselves? This leads to the following characterization of degree of choice: 1. no choice at all (passive acceptance); 2. package deal which can be accepted or rejected at fixed moments; 3. package deal which can be accepted or rejected at any moment; 4. choice between different modules, acceptance/rejection at fixed moments; 5. choice between different modules, acceptance/rejection at any moment. Participation of citizen-consumers in the planning phase (no participation vs. full participation) This variable deals with the sub-political involvement or participation of the endusers in the planning phase of the innovation. This variable seems to be most relevant for niche projects, but it may be applicable in other contexts as well. This variable refers to the extent to which end-users have been involved in the planning and decision making process. This variable can range from ‘no participation at all’ to ‘full participation’. On the one extreme, we can think of citizen-consumers who are unknown about an innovation at all and thus have no possibility to become involved or empowered in a project. On the other hand, there

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 53

is self initiation by citizen-consumers who take the lead in – for example – setting up a pilot project. This variable should be clearly distinguished from degree of choice. For example, there can be a high degree of choice combined with a low degree of participation: if citizen-consumers were not at all involved in the planning phase, but have a large range of options at their disposal once they decide to join a certain neighborhood. To put it in other words, in this case residents did not decide about the modes of access and provisioning of an innovation, but these modes of access and provisioning still allow for a high degree of choice. On the other hand one could think of a pilot project in which residents devote much time and effort in participating in the planning process. The innovations applied may have a high degree of uniformity (e.g. highly grid-connected technologies, the same system for everyone). This allows for very little choice for new residents: 1. no participation at all; 2. informing citizen-consumers; 3. consulting citizen-consumers; 4. citizen-consumers as equal partners in the project; 5. citizen-consumers as initiators and main actor involved. The socio-technical playground for wastewater management systems When taken together, these six variables include changes in technical systems as well as provider-consumer relations. The graph depicted in figure 3.3 depicts the playground which is laid down by these strategic variables. Some urban water systems can be placed in the upper half of the variable circle. Such systems can be termed ‘conventional systems’. On the other hand, ‘alternative systems’ can be found in the lower half of the circle. This distinction between conventional systems and alternatives relates to the debate between opponents and defenders of the present day large technical systems for waste water management. According to this depiction, there exists a dichotomy between supporters of Schumacher’s (1973) ‘small is beautiful’ thesis – consumers, technology developers, philosophers and environmentalists arguing that technologies as well as their social organization should be of a small ‘human’ size – and supporters of the conventional large technical systems. As has been argued above, this dichotomy between centralized and decentralized systems does not take into account the multi-dimensionality of wastewater management systems. When taking into account a range of sociotechnical characteristics, there appears to be a much more diverse picture of environmental innovations in wastewater infrastructures which cannot be reduced

54 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

to this dichotomy. Modernized mixtures can be placed between these two extremes. These modernized mixtures comprise different combinations of variable sets. They may resemble conventional systems in some respects but be more like alternatives in other respects. Highly centralized technology No participation Low in use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralized management Combined water flows

Differentiated water flows

Decentralized management High in use involvement High degree of choice Full participation Highly decentralized technology

Figure 3.3: characterizing environmental innovations in (waste) water management from a systemic perspective

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 55

Conventional systems

Alternatives 2

2

1

1

Modernized mixture

Modernized mixture

Centralised Technology

Centralised Technology

2 No participation

Low in-use involvement

2 Low degree of choice

Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

No participation

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice

Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

Full participation

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Highly decentralised technology

Modernized mixture

Modernized mixture

Centralised Technology

Centralised Technology

2 No participation

Low in-use involvement

2

Low degree of choice

Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

No participation

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice

Centralised Management

1

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Figure 3.4: conventional systems, alternatives and modernized mixtures

Evaluation In this section the modernized mixture approach has been introduced. Drawing upon existing theories, the modernized mixture approach postulates that in late modern wastewater infrastructures a hybridization and diversification of centralized water management systems is taking place, rather than a shift to the extremes of centralized or decentralized systems. Such a modernized mixture approach can be seen as a pragmatic, realistic approach towards innovation in water and wastewater services. In this respect the modernized mixture approach is a response to contemporary, often highly polarized, debates about innovation in water and wastewater. This modernized mixture approach will be the second building block of my conceptual model. There is a major difference between the modernized mixture approach and the social practices model introduced earlier. First, the social practices model is a dynamic model. Drawing upon Giddens’ theory of structuration it argues that knowledgeable and capable agents are served by systems and structures and at the

56 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

same time contribute to the ongoing reproduction of these systems and structures. These systems and structures should not be seen as something fixed. The modernized mixture approach is more static. It depicts several systems, albeit in a more refined way than many engineers do. The modernized mixture approach does not draw upon a notion of structuration.

Consumer/ End-user

Social Practices

Structures

Practice 1 Practice 2 Discursive and practical consciousness

Rules and resources

Practice 3 Practice 4

Modes of use

Modes of access

Modes of provision

Modes of production

Highly centralized technology ?

?

No participation

?

Low degree of choice Centralized management

?

? Low in use involvement Combined water flows

? ?

Differentiated water flows High in use involvement ?

Decentralized management Full participation

? High degree of choice

?

? ?

Highly decentralized technology

Figure 3.5: relating the Modernized Mixture Approach to the Social Practices Model

Figure 3.5 depicts the social practices model again. The modernized mixture approach can be seen as an operationalisation of ‘environmental innovations’ from a systemic perspective, the right hand side of the social practices model. We have developed a nuanced systemic perspective on environmental innovations in

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL THEORY 57

wastewater management. However, we have not yet conceptualized what such innovations look like from a life-world perspective, or the left hand side of the social practices model, although three variables, ‘degree of choice’, ‘in-use involvement’ and ‘participation’, have a life-world dimension as well. What are relevant variables to develop such a conceptualization? Are there other relevant variables from a life-world perspective? The following section, as a starting point, introduces the socio-cultural concepts of trust and identity, arguing that they can serve as initial sensitizing concepts for the empirical research.

3.4 Issues of trust and identity in the greening of wastewater infrastructures The current section introduces the concepts of trust and identity. These are sociocultural concepts which have been used by some to analyze innovation in water and wastewater (Marks 2003; Marks and Zadoroznyj 2005; Van Vliet and Stein 2004). It will be argued that these key concepts are relevant to make sense of what is happening, at the level of innovative niches but also wider at the level of sociotechnical regimes. Lastly, I will assess the relationships between trust, identity, the social practices model and the modernized mixture approach. The concept of trust The sociological concept of trust is gaining increasing attention from various scholars. Whereas the notion of trust was marginally conceptualized until relatively recently (Barber 1983; Luhman 1979) sociological studies of trust are booming at the moment (Sztompka 1999b). Various authors use the concept to analyze governance processes in several empirical domains (Eshuis and Van Woerkom 2003; Marks and Zadoroznyj 2005; Van Vliet and Stein 2004). A possible explanation for such increasing attention for the notion of trust is related to its changing character in the shift from a simple modern towards a late modern age. Giddens (1990) coined the notion of active trust – as opposed to basic trust – to denominate a crucial feature of this shift. According to Giddens, in an era of reflexive modernization, trust (for example in public figures, institutions and certain others) is no longer taken for granted, as it used to be, but negotiated. It needs to be continuously reconfirmed, and trust may be withdrawn if it turns out to have been unjustified. In those cases, actors may direct their trust to others (e.g. other persons, or other institutions). Such a line of development in the role and the meaning of trust in society runs parallel to contemporary developments in many utility services (see section 3.2. A

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diversification of technologies, scales and modes of provision and – associated with this – changing power relations between institutional actors and between consumers and providers implies that utility services have been deprived of their uniformity and taken-for granted-ness. From here, it is only a small step to assume that a change from basic to active trust is relevant for the utility services, and for the empirical field of wastewater infrastructures, as well. As can be derived from Giddens notion of trust, wastewater infrastructures can be conceived of as abstract systems (Giddens 1990). In conditions of simple modernity, to quote Giddens (p. 90), ‘attitudes of trust towards abstract systems are usually routinely incorporated into the continuity of day-to-day activities (…) trust is much less a ‘leap of commitment’ than a tacit acceptance of circ*mstances in which other alternatives are largely foreclosed’. The analysis of the innovation patterns in urban infrastructures discussed earlier suggests that such a situation of basic trust, in which, for example, the expectations of consumers about service provision have become routinized, is challenged and that trust has to be reproduced actively. Such de-and reroutinization, and associated with this the active reconstitution of trust will be most important and relevant at the real hotspot of innovation, the niches in which experiments with new socio-technical configurations take place. Looking at innovation processes in wastewater infrastructures, processes in which physical infrastructures as well as consumer provider relations change, several directions of trust (Sztompka 1999a) can be identified. First, there is trust within the network of providers constituting expert systems: institutional actors have to collaborate in several different ways. This is especially relevant in the context of niche projects where these actors have to learn how to cooperate with one another. Second, there is trust of citizen-consumers, both in technologies and in the actors/experts behind the technology. Third, there is trust of institutional actors in the citizen-consumers who are supposed to use the sanitary innovation. Fourth, in some cases, trust within and between groups of consumers making use of the sanitary innovation is relevant. As Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove (2005) point out, new socio-technical configurations can lead to greater interdependencies between consumers (for example, if one user leaves the tap of a communal rainwater reservoir running, it would affect all the other users as well). How are these forms of trust brought about under conditions of reflexive modernization? And (how) is trust brought about when new socio-technical configurations are being experimented with in the context of niche projects? Marks and Zadoroznyj (2005) adapted a framework of trust introduced by Sztompka (1999b) to conceptualize the way in which trust comes about in water recycling. According to this conceptualization the way in which trust comes about depends

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on a background culture of trust. The becoming of a ‘revised culture of trust’ is influenced by the structural context – normative coherence, stability of social organization; transparency of this social organization; familiarity of the social environment and accountability of persons and institutions – and by characteristics of agency, operationalised as the mood of people involved (optimism, activism) and the collective capital of skills and resources available to them (Sztompka 1999b). This way of looking upon trust is used by Marks and Zadoroznyj to analyze water recycling in Australia. Contrary to the starting point of the current thesis, this framework does not place social practices at the center of analysis. The terminology used by Sztompka/Marks and Zadaroznyj suggests that they have a rather structuralistic view on how trust comes about. Marks and Zadaroznyj depict ‘structure’ as an independent variable, ‘agency’ as a mediating variable and ‘culture’ as a dependent variable. Although the model includes an indirect feedback loop to ‘structural context’, the model attaches relatively much importance to structure as opposed to agency. The use of the term ‘structural shapers’, furthermore, suggests a one directional influence of this structural context. As opposed to that, the theoretical starting point taken in this thesis is that of a duality of structure (Giddens 1984). Social structures cannot be believed to be simply ‘out there’ but human agents, through their actions, contribute to the ongoing reproduction of these structures. For the purpose of the current research, we should therefore redefine the five ‘structural shapers’ (normative coherence, stability of social organization, transparency of social organization, familiarity, accountability of persons and institutions) as identified by Sztompka and Marks/Zadaroznyj. This study postulates that trust is brought about within the context of social practices, being actively shaped and reshaped by providers and consumers. To understand and describe how trust is being (re)shaped within the context of certain socio-technical systems, we arrive at the following four shapers of trust: A first factor in trust building is the configuration of rules and resources, organized as (structural) properties of social systems (Giddens 1979). Social systems, according to Giddens, consist of reproduced relations between actors or collectivities, organized as regular social practices. Social structure only exists as ‘structural properties’ being part of the conditions governing the continuity or transformation of structures, and therefore the reproduction of systems. We can ask whether providers and consumers shape particular social practices within particular modes of provision. In each mode of provision the roles of providers vis-à-vis consumers as well as the mechanisms through which providers and consumers can hold each other accountable varies. In other words, each mode

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of provision presupposes different sets of (in) formal rules and resources. As Trentmann and Taylor’s (2005) analysis of water politics in nineteenth century London illustrates, different modes of provision presuppose different consumer identities (‘passive users’; ‘political actors’; ‘dependent individuals’) as well as different mechanisms through which mutual trust between providers and consumers is shaped. We cannot a priori determine if either public or privatized modes of provision are most conducive to trust building. As Sztompka argues, what matters more is whether a non-contradicting set of rules is in place, whether mutual expectations are met and whether people know what to expect from each other. It may be possible to meet these conditions in either case10, although through different mechanisms. Configurations of rules and resources in socio-technical systems point also to the degree of institutionalization of systems. This point is of special concern in niche projects, because it is an inherent feature of these projects that the degree of institutionalization is relatively low. As Van De Laak, Raven and Verbong (2007) argue in their study on niche management for bio-fuels, new niche experiments benefit from having a firm ground in previous experiments. We can ask whether actors within a provider network are experienced in cooperating with each other. Do residents know whom to approach in case of problems? These are just two questions for which an answer should be formulated within the context of a niche project. These questions show that it matters whether there exists ‘long lasting and persistent networks of groups, associations, institutions, organizations and regimes’. If long lasting bonds are broken down, dismantled or rearranged, ‘everything suddenly looks possible, nothing is excluded, and hence, nothing can be certainly predicted’ (Sztompka 1999: 123). A second factor in trust building is the characteristics of technologies used within social practices. As we argued in the previous chapter, technologies themselves do nothing, no agency can be attributed to them. However, practices and technologies co-evolve (Shove 2006). Technologies are included in Giddens’ structuration theory in several different ways. ‘Rules and resources’ include physical infrastructures as well as the degree of path dependency and lock-in related to these infrastructures; tacit injunctions at the level of ‘discursive and practical consciousness’ co-evolve with technical systems; and social practices can only last as long as the technologies related to these practices are available (ibid). We can assume that characteristics of technologies used within social practices are an important factor for change or continuity of socio-technical systems and thus for the mechanisms through which trust comes about. As argued in chapter 2, these technologies are communicators of messages about modes of use and social power relations and in

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that sense they are medium and outcome of underlying social dynamics. For example, do these technologies ‘script’ how they should be used? As Ingram (2007) argues, scripting can take place in several different ways. Scripting is most obvious if designers deliberately incorporate features into a technology that force users to display the ‘desired’ behavior. An example close to the empirical subject of the current study is the design of toilets and the location of the flush button. In the toilets of Voyager trains on the UK rail network, above the toilet fixture is a sign indicating that the flush button is located behind the lifted toilet seat. To carry out the thoroughly embedded practice of flushing the toilet, the user is obliged to adopt the less universal practice of putting the toilet seat down after use (Latour (1992) in: Ingram (2007)). This way of intentionally scripting the ‘desired’ behavior contributes, in turn, to the embedding of the practice of putting the toilet seat down. This example is illuminating as it illustrates the close interdependency between technology and practice. For those accustomed to flushing the toilet, the technological script can be considered a ‘closed’ script. These persons will see no other option than to put the toilet seat down. The script is ‘reopened’ if persons who have not internalized the norm of ‘flushing after use’ make use of this toilet: they may choose not to flush. However, there are also many ways in which the appropriation and use of technologies takes place in a way not intended by the designers. Shove (2006) uses the example of the freezer. Oversized freezers are often proposed as a way to run the household more efficiently (less shopping trips needed). However, some consumers may feel forced to buy things they never bought before to get the freezer full. As one of Shove’s respondents puts it: ‘we know we’ve got this wonderful freezer and we ought to use it’. A third factor in trust building is the characteristics of expertise needed or utilized within social practices. Is all necessary expertise available within a particular context? Within the context of a niche project, different forms of expertise are necessary. One can think of technical expertise, knowledge about project management and procedural issues, social and networking skills, or persons with political experience. Are these experts available at the moment when their expertise is needed? Who holds the expertise? Expertise can be held by different persons or be combined in the same person. And these persons can be carriers of the expertise because of their profession, or solely out of personal commitment. How is the expertise represented to lay persons and other experts? According to Giddens (1994) familiarity (built through access points) is the key to trust building. Access points in the case of abstract socio-technical systems can be seen as the places where consumers and representatives of the expert system meet each other,

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or to put it differently, the places where the provider network opens for the consumer. Although trust in abstract systems has to do with the system as a whole and not only with those who operate it, their ‘representatives’ carry a reminder that it is human beings – who can possibly fail – who are the operators. This makes these access points sources of vulnerability for abstract systems and bad experiences at access points may lead to cynicism or even disengagement from the system altogether (Giddens 1990)11. A last factor in trust building in socio-technical systems is transparency produced within the social practices. To what extent is information on the social organization made easily available to providers and consumers? How clear and visible is the information about ‘the functioning, efficiency, levels of achievement, as well as failures and pathologies, of groups, associations, institutions, organizations, and regimes’ (Sztompka 1999b)? If actors are assured about what they may expect, this can act as a trust builder. On the other hand, if the principles of operation are ‘vague, hard to comprehend, hidden from view, or surrounded by a veil of secrecy’ (p. 124), this may lead to the supposition that there must be ‘something ominous to hide, leading to rumors, gossip and conspiracy theories’ (ibid). Following Giddens (1979), transparency within social practices can be shaped in different ways. A central point within Giddens’ theory of structuration is that human agents are both knowledgeable and capable: they know a great deal about how society functions. Knowledgeability refers to knowledge which can be articulated at the level of discourse (discursive consciousness) but also to knowledge which cannot be discursively articulated (practical consciousness and unconscious knowledge). Human agents can have varying degrees of discursive penetration into the functioning of systems. Discursive penetration refers to the level of relevant knowledge these humans have about the functioning of the system, both with regard to practical knowledge (‘what to do if…’) but also with regard to how the system functions, or the history of systems. Different configurations of socio-technical systems can enable differing degrees of discursive penetration, or to put it in other words: within some systems people are more enabled to become ‘knowledgeable and capable’ than in others. The concept of identity A common notion of identity is those characteristics that distinguish someone or something from others. To identify someone or something is to distinguish that person or thing from others. This is a notion which used to be highly inapplicable to wastewater infrastructures in Western society due to their uniformity and takenfor-grantedness. However, the developments sketched in this chapter suggest that

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something is changing in this respect, and that such a notion indeed becomes relevant. As Van Vliet and Stein (2004) pointed out we do not have to go very far (both in time and space) to see how issues of identity become relevant for wastewater management systems. For example, as we will see in chapter 4, flushing toilets, when they first appeared in Western Europe, used to be highly desirable status symbols for the lower social classes who did not possess them. Also in many urbanized centers in contemporary developing countries the idea of ‘flush and forget’ is highly desirable (Shove 2003). It was only after uniform application of the flushing toilet that notions of identity became irrelevant (at least from a Western point of view). We can expect that under conditions of reflexive modernization, the notion of identity re-enters the stage. Also for the concept of identity the sustainable niches are the hotspots. To put it in SCOT terms: new artefacts are being experimented with, artefacts which can have different symbolic meanings for different social groups. In niche projects, such symbolic meanings are negotiated and, following the SCOT line of argumentation, at certain points in time some symbolic meanings become more dominant than others and interpretative flexibility decreases. We have seen that providers and consumers are linked in several different ways. This makes it important, and attractive, to provider actors to distinguish themselves from competitors, or to make themselves visible to existing clients. Environmental innovations in the wastewater field thus offer the possibility of image building and marketing for providers. From a consumption point of view, the question arises whether certain sociotechnical configurations fit the lifestyles of consumers. As Giddens (1991) points out, a lifestyle can be defined as an integrated set of practices which are carried out to fulfill utilitarian needs, but also to give material form to a particular narrative of the self. In other words: the consumption of green products and services in the wastewater field has to do with more than ‘functionality’ only, as it can have a symbolic dimension as well. This is where the focus of an important part of consumption literature lies (Bourdieu 1984; Featherstone 1991; Gastelaars 1996; Lury 1996). Various authors focus on the symbolic dimension of consumption. Portraying ‘green’ wastewater services consumption as a lifestyle aspect, the possibility arises to enable people to identify with these services, and maybe even to show off, to distinguish oneself from others. In other words: besides pure functionality, particular wastewater services can be chosen for to enable new forms of conspicuous consumption.

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From a consumers’ perspective, four different end-user identities related to the social practice of wastewater management can be identified. A first end-user identity is related to the degree of autonomy of consumers. Van Vliet et al. (2005) argue that the initiators of sustainable niche projects hope to achieve a certain degree of social and technical autonomy. In a technical sense, strongly grid-connected systems allow for less autonomy than systems with less degree of gridconnectedness. A second end-user identity is the end-user identity to other end-users. As argued above, wastewater management systems can be seen as means to distinguish oneself from others and even to show off. This relates to the notion of social autonomy (Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005). Social autonomy is the extent to which participants (e.g. in sustainable housing projects) see themselves as ‘normal’ or whether they regard themselves as somehow special cases whose aim is to remove or close off from normal social relations. Van Vliet et al. distinguish between projects that are socially ‘off’ and ‘on’. For socially ‘off’ projects, autonomy would mean a strong sense of social and cultural detachment from mainstream life. The initiators’ aim is to remove and empower themselves by creating more self-sufficient sustainable homes/lifestyles which are closed off from the outside world. Socially ‘on’ projects are projects in which initiators see social autonomy as something which could be achieved or enhanced by maintaining conventional relationships and social ties. Self sufficiency and distinction from the outside world is then not a goal of the project. A third end-user identity is the identity of end-users as co-producer/co-manager. As we have seen, end-users can take on board extra tasks in the use, management and maintenance of wastewater management systems. A fourth end-user identity of end-users is their identity as an engaged citizen using wastewater management systems as a means to pursue moral/ethical consumption. To what extent do certain socio-technical configurations enable this? To what extent is this citizenship actually pursued? As ecological modernization theory postulates that consumers take on board environmental rationalities next to several other rationalities, one can expect that the process of identity formation related to innovation in wastewater infrastructures is in part an environment-induced process. However, end-users will continuously weigh these environmental concerns against other concerns. New socio-technical configurations can, for example, compromise (but also enhance) the level of comfort, cleanliness and convenience one is accustomed to. Or sustainable technologies can be used as a means to show off, but not because of their environmental friendliness but because of their ‘high-tech’ character.

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To sum up, the concept of identity may be an important explanatory variable to conceptualize innovation processes in wastewater infrastructures, in particular niche-based innovation. From a consumers’ perspective identity can be linked to lifestyles, and the extent to which certain socio-technical configurations can be fitted within these lifestyles. From a providers’ perspective, identity refers to the symbolic meaning of the new configurations in terms of for example PR and marketing. This concept of identity can be linked to my conceptualization of niche processes, and the extent to which these niche processes may or may not contribute to regime change (see 2.3). Second-order learning has to do with the different ways in which socio-technical configurations can be fitted to lifestyles, PR and marketing interests. A successful niche project, one would suppose, is a project which caters for the possibility of learning about these issues by maintaining interpretative flexibility for a considerable period of time. Evaluation This section introduced the third building block of the conceptual model, the concepts of trust and identity. These concepts promise to provide the conceptual refinement to analyze what happens at niche level. Or more in general, to analyze dynamics once change is taking place and established norms have become the object of deliberation. This is, however, not to say that trust and identity are irrelevant in ‘established conditions’ in which there is a stabilized socio-technical regime in place. Not by far. For example, Giddens’ notion of active trust takes into account that trust is something which is continuously reproduced in an active way rather than something stable which is just there (basic trust). The point is, that in case of niche-based innovation, it becomes even more relevant to take into account that forms of trust and identity cannot be taken for granted but are something to deliberate and negotiate. The concepts of trust and identity will be used as initial sensitizing concepts to analyze niche-based innovation in wastewater infrastructures. Drawing upon existing conceptualizations of trust and identity, relevant sub-concepts have been identified to link trust and identity more closely to the social practices model. Trust, we argue, is shaped through the rules and resources organized as structural properties of social systems; the characteristics of technologies used within social practices; the character of expertise within social practices and through the degree of transparency within social practices. Identity relates to the PR and marketing needs of providers and to the different end-user identities related to the use of wastewater services.

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3.5 Conclusion In this chapter we argued that the social practices model enables to conceptualize the relationship between social actors and structures in wastewater infrastructures. The modernized mixture approach seems to provide an adequate conceptualization of the systemic dynamics taking place in wastewater infrastructures. What is missing, however, is an adequate conceptualization of what environmental innovations in wastewater infrastructures look like from a life-world perspective. We have identified the concepts of trust and identity and argued that trust and identity are reproduced within social practices. These concepts will be used as sensitizing concepts throughout the empirical chapters, to explore what are relevant variables to conceptualize wastewater infrastructures from a life-world perspective. Analyzing niche-based approaches towards innovation in wastewater infrastructures Chapter 2 concluded with the working hypothesis that an analytical distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments in wastewater management is relevant for the purpose of this study. The current chapter has provided the conceptual tools to refine this hypothesis. We can expect that within expert-led experiments institutional actors, firms and governments take the lead in setting up niche projects in a ‘top down’ fashion. These niche managers focus their experiments on the field of wastewater infrastructures – that is on one particular system of provision. The starting point of the experiment is a new technology, or broader, a new socio-technical system. End-users are portrayed as a hom*ogeneous (from the perspective of the providers) group of passive recipients of new technologies; or as neutral system elements. Within expert-led experiments sociotechnical innovation is approached from a systemic perspective: end-users’ everyday-life has to (and is believed to) follow the changes the new system brings. In citizen-consumer driven experiments the initiative rests with citizens’ groups and NGOs. These citizens’ groups and NGOs have a broad view on what sustainable development entails. The experiments are targeted at a hom*ogeneous group of highly eco-committed end-users. The envisaged changes in peoples’ lifeworld go along with changes in several systems of provision, amongst which the wastewater field.

4

Wastewater infrastructures and everyday-life: a historical perspective

4.1 Introduction Most urban infrastructures in Western society occupy only the last 150 years or so of human existence, yet most people are completely accustomed to them. What is more, the period in which such infrastructures were more or less hidden from conscious everyday experience is much shorter. Especially in the second half of the 19th century environmental infrastructures, those for water, waste and wastewater in particular, attracted much public attention. There was huge debate on what were appropriate solutions for problems with hygiene and public health. Several systems were competing, options were chosen and others foreclosed and sociocultural meanings were constructed which sometimes last until the present days. Nevertheless, at the end of the twentieth century several scholars (Cowan 1983; Otnes 1988) had to remind us of the importance of such environmental infrastructures for everyday-life experience. Some literally forgot that what people do inside their houses is closely related to the socio-material infrastructures to which they are connected12. The current chapter focuses on this transition from a first stage of development of wastewater infrastructures to this second stage of stabilization, and beyond until the present age. The chapter aims to integrate a system of provision perspective on the development of water and wastewater works with an everyday-life perspective. This is something which few authors did before. Most authors focus on either of these perspectives without really integrating them. For example, the sociology and anthropology of everyday-life is basically concerned with the question what constitutes normality (Douglas 1966; Douglas and Isherwood 1979; Gastelaars 1996; Shove 2003; Wright 1960). How could current standards (e.g. for comfort, cleanliness and convenience) become the norm? Why do they (not) change? Other perspectives focus on public policies, pieces of legislation, actions of different societal groups, etcetera. One can think of research by historians on water and sanitation systems (Barraque 2003; Buiter 2005; Juuti and Katko 2005; Melosi 2000; Van Zon 1986); research on the development of urban infrastructures (Guy, Marvin and Moss 2001); or research on historical transitions of water systems

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(Geels 2005b; 2006). My review of existing (partly) historical work aims to assess what have been relevant issues both from an everyday-life perspective and from a system of provision perspective and how these issues influenced each other. Second, this chapter depicts the context for contemporary niche projects. How important are they, compared to the big picture? Can we find similarities with what happened at the end of the 19th century? And if so, are such similarities still relevant today? Can a historical analysis teach us lessons for contemporary niche management? The chapter specifically refers to Dutch examples and uses some developments in other countries as a reference. Nevertheless, the developments sketched in this chapter are probably of wider relevance for Western societies. Section 4.2 portrays a range of existing theoretical analyses on the development of urban infrastructures (those for water in particular). Section 4.3 deals with the period in the 19th century in which a variety of mutually influencing developments led to the rise of urban water systems as we know them nowadays. In section 4.4 a second stage of stabilization of contemporary water and wastewater systems is discussed. In section 4.5 a review is given of contemporary issues in water and wastewater management before this historical chapter is concluded in section 4.6.

4.2 Patterns in the historical development of (sanitary) infrastructures – a theoretical perspective Several theoretical perspectives on the development of urban infrastructures in Western countries have a historical component. These approaches distinguish between subsequent phases of development of urban infrastructures (or wastewater infrastructures in particular). The current section discusses existing conceptualizations of the development of urban (wastewater) infrastructures (Barraque 2003; Graham and Marvin 1995; Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005), before arguing that these approaches largely depart from a systemic perspective and should be complemented with an everyday-life perspective. Three phases in utility development: localization; nationalization and global/localization Graham and Marvin (1995, in: Van Vliet 2002) distinguish between the subsequent phases of localization, nationalization and global/localization. In the first phase of localization, most utility systems constituted a patchwork of small local networks which were relatively independent from each other. Mostly private companies set up such networks with the aim of making money (although public initiatives can certainly be found). As these (electricity, water) networks were relatively isolated ‘islands of provision’ there was often significant variation between different

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‘islands’ depending on local (economic, social, political and spatial) circ*mstances (Van Vliet 2002). The types and amounts of services; scale and reach of networks; and governance structures thus varied from place to place. In a second phase of nationalization public parties often took over these networks, basically because national governments had gained an interest in them. Such networks had become essential in helping the nation state pursue its goals of economic expansion. Furthermore, many network-bound infrastructures were seen as indispensable for public health reasons. In the nationalization phase the basic logic behind infrastructure management had become a hierarchical organization structure with command-and-control modes of regulation and a supply-side oriented logic: expanding networks to meet ever growing demand. These utilities, however, were confronted with their boundaries. Demand side management (DSM) measures were often applied to deal with the economic and environmental challenges these networks were confronted with. For example, instead of building new reservoirs or power plants, utilities started to manage the ‘level and timing’ of demand to avoid costly investments. In a third phase of global/localization the main logic of infrastructure service provisioning started to move away from nationalization (Graham and Marvin 1995). From then on, public nation-state-based infrastructures were deemed ‘overstaffed, unaccountable, stagnant, uncompetitive and failing to innovate’ (Van Vliet 2002). According to Graham and Marvin, privatization was more and more seen as a means to arrive at adequate infrastructure management. In electricity networks, privatization has taken place to a large extent. Different aspects of service provisioning were splintered (e.g. the network part was separated from the energy producing companies), electricity provisioning has more and more become a transnational affair as electricity networks are highly interconnected, and competition between different providers has taken off. In the water world global/localization is much less taking place than in other network bound infrastructures (Van Vliet 2002). Although Great Britain adopted a model of completely privatized water companies under centralized regulation, other European countries were much more reluctant to privatize their water utilities. Different degrees of liberalization, not privatization, can be observed13 (Juuti and Katko 2005). Many national governments view electricity and water infrastructures as public goods, yet, it seems that water and wastewater works are seen as ‘more public’ compared to other networks such as the electricity grid (De Swaan 1988). Water supply and sewerage seem to involve more social interdependencies between households than other network bound services and it matters more whether or not someone’s neighbor is connected (ibid).

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Reasons to argue that water works are of public concern are that water is often a local resource and that water is crucial from a public health perspective, justifying a public mode of provision. Furthermore, some national governments argue that environmental concerns are better safeguarded by public authorities (Van Vliet 2002)14. Modes of utility organization and contexts for consumption Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove (2005) refined the model of Graham and Marvin to get more grip on the consumer-provider relations in each phase of utility development. They identified five subsequent modes of organization (autonomous, piecemeal, integrated, universal and marketed). This is, however, not a deterministic and one-directional pattern (from ‘autonomous’ to ‘marketed’ only). Van Vliet et al., argue that ‘older’ modes of organization can and do co-exist with ‘newer’ ones. The autonomous mode of organization translates as: ‘subtracting your own water and digging your own wells, cesspits and latrines’. In the autonomous mode of organization consumer and provider roles are united. The autonomous mode of organization can be seen as a pre-localization phase (to put it in Graham and Marvin’s terms). Also in contemporary society, however, we can find households generating their own electricity, treating their own water and composting their own waste on site. In the piecemeal mode of organization providers start to set up utility systems on a local scale, e.g. provision of water and electricity to certain neighborhoods, not to others. Within the piecemeal mode of organization the balance of control shifts somewhat to the providers of network bound services. This mode of organization was most dominant in an early phase of localization. Although the piecemeal mode or organization has largely disappeared nowadays, there are still some independent local authorities providing network bound services to their customers. Within the integrated mode of organization different networks are integrated. Such integration enables networks to make use of the spare capacity of other networks in case of peak demand. Especially in the electricity sector this is a rational approach. Centralized management of infrastructural networks enables the adequate matching of supply and demand in an efficient way. Within the integrated mode of organization, ‘demand’ is seen as something negotiable. It is legitimate for utility providers to perform DSM measures in order to enable adequate network management. In the universal mode of organization, such logic of balancing demand and supply had disappeared. After the Second World War, all kinds of network bounds

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services in most European countries had become redefined as nonnegotiable needs that had to be met. Large investments were made to expand the capacity of infrastructures and to create excess capacity. In several empirical domains we can currently witness marketized modes of organization. Such a mode of organization is, however, less visible in the water world. The chosen pattern is less often that of complete privatization, as we have seen under our discussion of global/localization. It is more common that market principles are introduced in a public mode of provision (e.g. benchmarking) or that privatization takes place only partially (e.g. in France, where private companies often have to compete for the network). Paradigms governing the development of water and wastewater works Barraqué (2003) distinguishes between three paradigms governing the development of water and wastewater works in Western countries: quantitative and civil engineering; chemical/sanitary engineering; environmental engineering and integrated management Within the quantitative and civil engineering paradigm water management, in most cities, was about building pipes. Water resources preferably had to be drawn from very far away, while wastewater was discharged in nearby surface water bodies. Water was trusted if it did not come from nearby sources. Such a practice had lasted for a long time, until this form of water management was confronted with its boundaries. It became too costly to build the necessary piping systems (amongst others due to general increases in population density), and moreover, some crucial events showed that also water coming from remote sources can be polluted. In the second stage of chemical/sanitary engineering the basic idea was to remedy the problems stemming from the initial phase of quantitative/civil engineering. Instead of transporting water resources over large distances, qualitative treatment of water resources, extracted from more nearby, was preferred. Barraqué implicitly links the paradigm of chemical/sanitary engineering to the universal mode of organization, stating that chemical/sanitary engineering belongs to a phase in which water and wastewater works are seen as a necessity rather than a luxury (p. 207). According to Barraqué a third paradigm, that of environmental engineering and integrated management, is rising at the moment. Water and wastewater infrastructures are being confronted with two main challenges: the need for renewed investments in ageing infrastructures which can be observed in large parts of Europe, and the environmental consequences of water consumption and wastewater management, necessitating large future investments. Barraqué puts the

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ethical question on the table: who will pay? He shows that the question whether water should be viewed as a commodity or as a public good is back on the agenda. Since he argues strongly in favor of enhanced public participation and strengthening of local government, Barraqué belongs to the ‘public good’ rather than the ‘commodity’ camp. Marking the history of water and wastewater The three historical perspectives discussed above provide a useful framework to mark the historical discussion on the development of water and wastewater infrastructures for the purpose of this thesis. These perspectives illustrate that the provision of water and wastewater services (and other network bound infrastructures) started as a combination of public and private initiatives. Although they were in some cases aimed at public health improvement, their main point often was to make money. In a later stage network bound services were redefined from a luxury into a necessity. In present times many urban infrastructures are confronted with economic, political and environmental challenges. These challenges have led to renewed discussion on the role of providers and consumers in urban infrastructures. Is there such thing as a universal, non-negotiable, static need that needs to be met, or is a redefinition of consumer needs possible? The discussed approaches, yet, do not really incorporate an everyday-life perspective. It does not become clear how normality has been constructed as the result of mutual influence between changing systems of provision and changes in people’s everyday-life. In these views, demand follows an almost deterministic path of development as a derivative of changes in the systems of water and wastewater services provision. The incorporation of such an everyday-life perspective will be gradually taken on board in the subsequent sections.

4.3 Towards sanitary solutions for modern times (18001900) Introduction The establishment of water supply and sewage networks is part of a more general shift in infrastructure service provisioning from a pre-modern towards a simple modern age. These networks first appeared in England, later on in other European countries and in the United States. The most general observable shift is one from self provisioning towards network provisioning as the dominant form of infrastructure service provisioning, also in the water world. On closer inspection, however, the rise of water and wastewater infrastructures is the outcome of a range of developments in society taking place at different

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(micro, meso and macro) levels. These developments reinforced each other and several different water and wastewater systems coexisted for a considerable period of time. In Western Europe the increasing urbanization of the 19th century was the cause of many hygienic problems taking place at an unprecedented scale. It took a considerable part of the 19th century before city councils realized that improvement of hygienic conditions was necessary to combat public health problems such as the major cholera epidemics and before they took action accordingly. The development of urban sanitation systems is part of this broader effort to improve hygienic conditions in cities. City councils applied a range of different sanitation systems, ranging from cesspits, barrel systems, sewage systems (including many open sewers such as canals), and the Liernur system. Ultimately, the WC/sewage combination was the winner of the battle, but this has not been a self-evident or deterministic process. The battle involved much arguing and rhetoric, and proponents of competing systems were very creative in stereotyping their competitors and the systems they proposed (Van Zon 1986). Major 19th century concerns: dirt, disease and death In the 19th century, pollution of the direct living environment of urban dwellers caused major risks for public health. Probably there is no better way to give an impression of 19th century urban sanitary conditions than to quote De Swaan (De Swaan 1988): ‘Nineteenth-century city streets, most of them unpaved and with open gutters, were filthy, strewn with garbage, narrow and overcrowded, noisy and permeated with all sorts of smells from refuse, kitchens, sidewalk workshops and open sewers. Animals, dogs, but also chickens, goats and pigs, ran around unattended: at least they ate up more waste than they produced. Most streets remained un swept, and if there were any sewers at all, they were usually open gutters which ran down the middle of the street, filled with animal and human excrements.’ Death rates were relatively high (averaging approximately 25%, more than twoand-a-half time as much as contemporary figures) and Europe experienced major cholera epidemics in 1832, 1848, 1852 and 1866. Although the high death rates were due to more than hygienic problems alone, these hygienic problems were an important contributor. Initially it was far from self-evident that there could be a role for public authorities in remedying these problems. The heyday of the liberalistic laissez-faire

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ideology can be found in the 19th century and problems of dirt, disease and death were initially not seen as an issue requiring governmental concern. Government, it was argued, should not interfere in the day-to-day circ*mstances of citizens and (not) getting ill was seen as a private affair (Geels 2005b). This situation changed only gradually. A breakthrough in this respect is the adoption (in 1865) of a law demanding the appointment of public health inspectors who had to report directly to the national government. The Ministry of Internal affairs became responsible for public health and debate started whether a separate Ministry of Public Health should be established. The causes of public health problems were far from clear. It took until the 1880s until the work of Koch and Pasteur convinced a wide range of people that there existed micro organisms (predominantly bacteria) causing micro biological pollution, and that this caused epidemics. Until then, there were several competing knowledge claims with regard to the causes of disease. Miasma theories (e.g. Von Pettenkofer) were most influential in the first part of the 19th century, while the work of the hygienists became more influential in the second part of the century (Van Zon 1986). Miasma theorists presupposed that bad smell, caused by harmful gasses, is the cause of diseases. Cholera would be caused by a so-called ‘cholerische Lokalität’ (choleric locality) present in polluted soils and in the atmosphere, especially in densely populated areas. Although miasma theories itself were disproved by the work of Koch and Pasteur, these theories led to similar recommendations as those that can be derived from Koch and Pasteur’s theories: avoidance of soil and water pollution, and removal of household and industrial waste (including urine and faeces) from urban areas as quickly as possible. Also after 1850, anecdotic claims were heard which to some extent could be derived from miasma theories. In 1877 an influential publication of Von Nägeli, a German-Swiss botanist appeared, titled ’DieNiederen Pilze in ihren Beziehungen zu den Infectionskrankheiten und der Gesundheits pflege’. Von Nägeli argued that contagious diseases are caused by fungi, some of which are ‘ordinary fungi’, while others are ‘miasma fungi’. As long as the latter were kept inside the soil and as long as the soil was kept sufficiently wet, miasma fungi would cause no harm. A second approach towards public health problems was the work of the hygienists, who were most influential at the second half of the 19th century. The hygienists assumed that there was a relationship between the circ*mstances in which people live and the probability of getting ill. The hygienists investigated the living circ*mstances of the most vulnerable groups in society and found out that ‘pollution’ was the common denominator. To improve hygienic conditions the hygienists advised to remove all sorts of solid and liquid waste and make houses

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more hygienic. The hypotheses of the hygienists were confirmed when it was shown that improvement of hygienic conditions indeed lowered the probability of getting ill. The hygienists were most influential in the period 1858-1881 when they published their own journals. Furthermore, the hygienists published in existing scientific and non-scientific journals, made brochures, and set up and facilitated social groups who had to promote public attention to the issue of hygiene. Part of the success of the hygienists is due to the fact that they managed to show that it could be in the interest of the rich (those citizens that were part of or influential to local government) to bother about the hygienic situation of the poor. Many contagious diseases started in the poorest areas but could spread to richer areas very rapidly. Improving the hygienic situation in poor areas was therefore of general interest: once an epidemic was there, it would also affect the rich, so the rich would better prevent the epidemic in the first place (Van Zon 1986). The French historian Corbin (1996) observes that both the miasma theorists and the hygienic movement were highly influential in linking the notion of bad smell with that of danger and disease. People became aware that their senses could warn them for danger. Undoubtedly, in the 19th century the nose was the best instrument to assess environmental risks. Arguably the greatest risks for humans of that century were those risks that could be smelled, in particular the risks posed by decaying organic matter. The scientific methods to assess environmental risks were much less well-established than nowadays: it was far from clear what causes of risks were and it was unclear which instruments other than the nose could prove that these particular risks were there. Indeed, a situation different from the present era in which so many environmental risks cannot be seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted and in which some even go so far as to say that we are ‘deprived of the senses’ (Beck 1992). Although the work of Corbin centred on the French situation, it is very likely that his observations are illustrative for the situation in many other European countries at that time. We can thus argue that sensory experiences become strongly socio-culturally embedded. What is labelled as ‘bad smell’ has some degree of objectivity, but it surely is to some extent a socio-cultural construct as well. Probably the association of ‘smell’ with ‘danger’ enhances disgust even more. The rise of urban sanitation and wastewater management The Dutch historian Van Zon (1986) made an analysis of the rise of urban sanitation and wastewater management systems in The Netherlands. His work is one of the relatively few detailed works on waste and wastewater management carried out by historians. The little coverage of the issue (as compared to analyses

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of general economic developments, fine arts, royal families etcetera) signals at least that waste, dirt and pollution is generally not considered a popular subject. Moreover, it may point at the taboos associated with the item. However, as little as we read about human waste nowadays, as much was written about it in the 19th century. Human waste (urine and faeces) was generally considered as the most disgusting of all kinds of waste. Although it was forbidden to relieve oneself in public, this was done by many people, so many spots were covered with human waste. The alternative for most people was to make use of private (or semi-public) privies. The hygienic condition of these privies was very poor in general so the need for more hygienic solutions was often stressed, mostly by the hygienists. The hygienists also pointed at the use value of faeces in agriculture. Artificial fertilizers were very expensive by that time so the use of human waste for fertilization could be a win-win situation. Both farmers and hygienists stressed the importance of having nutrients available for agriculture and both groups agreed that urine and faeces should not be on or in the urban soil, but on the rural soil. Smelly, dirty, easy – the cesspit Cesspits were the simplest system to deal with urine and faeces. They were generally poorly constructed so faeces could leak into the soil. Often there was no bottom in the cesspit. The sides of the cesspit were sometimes made of the branches of trees, sometimes of bricks. Frequently no mortar was used making leakage even easier. Cesspits were smelly, also because they were mostly emptied at insufficient frequency. They were an important cause of soil and water pollution and – according to the hygienists – of disease. Von Nägeli, the botanist introduced earlier, did not agree with the hygienists’ recommendation to remove faeces from cities. He argued that at least for public health reasons this removal was unnecessary. It would be a very costly affair, while the only thing one had to do was to keep the soil sufficiently moist to avoid the miasma fungi from escaping from the soil. One had to stimulate (!) the infiltration of human waste into the urban soil which could be done through cost efficient methods such as cesspits. While especially the hygienists thought that decaying organic matter contributed to disease, Von Nägeli believed that rotting processes would prevent miasma fungi from growing, which would very positive. Von Nägeli argued that removal of faeces from cities only served aesthetic (thus, according to him, secondary) interests. The work of Von Nägeli was read by few, but talked over by many. Especially Dutch city councils used it to legitimize their ‘laissez-faire’ attitude towards public health. City councils working at other systems, such as sewerage, barrel systems

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and the Liernur system started to doubt whether or not to expand these systems and the work of Von Nägeli provided a justification for a relatively easy to implement low cost system. After 1900, more and more regulations regarding cesspits were propagated, but many residents did not comply with them. Furthermore, these regulations were mostly applied to new cesspits, while the old ones remained in a relatively poor condition. This was, however, no longer perceived as a problem. The number of cesspits was declining because other sanitation systems (the sewage system and septic tank systems in particular) were becoming more and more dominant. Piped water from uncontaminated sources became available, so there was no direct contribution of cesspits to drinking water pollution. Finally, people did not believe anymore that gasses from cesspits were the cause of disease. Cesspits, nevertheless, remained in urban areas well into the twentieth century, contributing much to soil pollution, but this was no longer seen as a crucial issue due to the reasons mentioned above. Faeces and workers as matter out of place – the barrel system A widely used sanitation system for a considerable part of the 19th and 20th century was the barrel system. This sanitation system co-existed with the sewage system for a relatively long time. It took until the 1950s until barrels had really disappeared from Dutch city centers and even until the 1960s before they were no longer used in rural areas15. The idea behind the barrel system was that urine and faeces were stored in barrels inside the household until these barrels were removed. When used in the – theoretically – correct way these barrels could contribute to public health protection (contamination of drinking water sources was avoided) while the ecological cycle of nutrients would be kept in tact. Proponents of the barrel system saw this reuse aspect as an important part of the theory behind the barrel system. They referred to the German agriculturist Von Leibig (see: (Van Zon 1986)) who argued that, even in an era of increasing industrialization and urbanization, natural cycles of plant nutrients should not be broken down. From an ethical as well as from a practical perspective, Von Leibig argued, it was necessary that humans gave back their nutrients to agriculture. The barrel system was considered a relatively cost efficient method, requiring little extra taxation, which was considered very important in the liberalistic 19th century. The barrel system, like the cesspit, was only a solution for human excreta. Domestic wastewater resulting from washing, cooking and other activities was not dealt with. Pollution from domestic wastewater (and rainwater) was considered less harmful than pollution from urine and faeces. And due to the limited

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availability of freshwater (no or very few piped water systems existed) and associated norms of cleanliness and hygiene (to be discussed later on) much less domestic wastewater was produced than nowadays. Adequate removal of human waste was thus seen as crucial, and contrary to nowadays it was far from logical to mix human waste with water. In practice, the barrel system did not function so well as theorists believed. Theorists argued that barrels should be emptied at least twice a week, but the emptying frequency was generally once a week in most cities. Municipalities wished to keep costs as low as possible and to intrude in the life of citizens as little as possible. Furthermore, getting a full barrel out of the house and getting an empty barrel back in the house was a very unpleasant affair. The least unpleasant way to get this job done was to use barrels that could be locked, which were collected by workers and put on a cart. Ideally, there was a second barrel available for each household, which these households received from the workers. The ‘boldootkar’ as the cart was named (after a famous perfume of those days) was moved to a remote place where the barrels were emptied, cleaned, disinfected, and put ready for the next collection round. Even in this ideal situation passers by found the presence of the car loaded with barrels disgusting. Passers by kept their breath as long as possible. They were careful not to start breathing again too early and were happy if the cart was out of sight. In many cases the situation was even worse: in some cities only one barrel per household was available. The worst case scenario was that workers had to carry open barrels through the house to empty them in an open cart riding through the streets. Water from canals was sometimes used to flush the barrels, before they were disinfected and put back in the house. Although the carrying around of urine and faeces was generally considered the most disgusting aspect of the barrel system, also the workers collecting the barrels were often found disgusting by their contemporaries. Higher and middle class people did not want to be confronted with working class people. Opponents of the barrel system used the fact that working class people had to enter the house as a (sometimes powerful) argument against the system. The ‘rude and uncivilized talks’ of these people were seen as an embarrassment. Note that in the 19th century class society no-one besides the workers themselves bothered about what it would mean for them to do their job. The debate was about what it meant for so-called ‘civilized’ people to be confronted with the lower classes. Many cities were able to sell their faeces and urine to farmers16. These farmers could convert them into compost or use them directly. The degree of success depended on the local agricultural circ*mstances (which could vary from year to year) and the costs for transportation. The municipalities of Groningen and Leeuwarden were able to make a profit on the sales of faeces, but it was more

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common that municipalities made a small (and sometimes considerable) loss. However, parties agreed that the main goal of the barrel system was to serve hygienic goals, rather than to reuse the collected material in agriculture and/or to make money on it. Some cities did not reuse the faeces, and in the worst cases the content of the barrels was thrown in rivers and ditches just at the border of the municipality, contrary to the basic ideology behind this system. Between 1870 and 1900 the barrel system was the most important sanitation system in The Netherlands. In this period the number of connected households increased continuously. The importance of this system started to decline after the year 1900, predominantly because the sewage system was applied more and more. As we will see later on, the availability of piped water systems and the increasing use of water closets made the barrel system the second best option in the minds of decision makers, only to be applied at places where the sewage system was not yet available. However, sewage networks were developed only gradually and by the 1940s barrel systems could still be found everywhere in the country. Only after the Second World War this system really died out. Detaching urban water from sensory experience – the sewage system Although it took until the second half of the 19th century before sewage systems started to be implemented and used with the purpose of transporting domestic wastewater, the idea of sewerage was known for centuries by that time. The original purpose of sewage pipes was drainage, for example removing rainwater from premises17. Many houses had piped connections to canals and ditches specifically for the purpose of drainage. It was forbidden to discharge domestic wastewater, let alone urine and faeces, through these pipes. However, it was quite common that residents used their drainage pipes for such purposes, and often piped connections with surface waters were made illegally. Urban surface water (canals, ditches, rivers) was often used to discharge waste and polluted water. City councils, residents and the newly appointed public health inspectors saw many disadvantages in the sewage system. One major problem was that in many cities canals were an integral part of the sewage system. Especially if the water in these canals did not circulate (not at all or not fast enough) the problems of bad smell and pollution were tremendous. For some cities (Rotterdam amongst others) the polluted canals were the primary (and only) reason to construct piped water systems. This water was used to flush the canals and dilute the pollution. Initially, in Rotterdam, piped water systems were not used by households. Also, municipal sewage pipes were often made of bricks. There was much debate whether the

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quality of these pipes was sufficient. Would faeces deteriorate the pipes and cause leakage? According to Buiter (2005) sewage systems were mainly expanded to bring urban water underground. As we have seen, domestic wastewater initially was not (at least not legally) discharged on the sewage system. The sewage system was merely seen as a way to hide polluted urban water (e.g. canals) from sensory experience. Also at the other end of the pipe the sewage system led to many problems. Unlike for example Great Britain, where many wastewater treatment installations were established after 1868, it was very uncommon in The Netherlands that wastewater was treated. Municipalities saw the sewage system as a way to relocate the pollution, often to rivers and streams and often at the border of the municipality. Discharge of wastewater caused many arguments between municipalities. Downstream cities had to suffer from what the upstream cities produced and since waste and wastewater management was dealt with at the municipal level only, policies to remedy the nuisance did not exist. Van Zon uses a report of a municipal public works director to show that wastewater treatment took off quite late in The Netherlands. In 1913, this director could make an inventory of several options for wastewater treatment, but the practical examples were all located outside The Netherlands. In the last decade of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century there was much debate as to what were efficient ways to deal with wastewater once removed from the urban area. It was increasingly acknowledged that wastewater treatment was necessary, but it was far from clear how to do this. A range of possible treatment options was discussed. Such options ranged from mechanical treatment, chemical treatment, a kind of ‘landfill’ (which in those days meant letting polluted water float on (agricultural) areas), and biological treatment using aerobic or anaerobic processes. Engineers were in doubt about the most desirable solution. However, the polemic undertone in the debates had disappeared. As Van Zon observes, the sewage system had by that time won the battle between competing wastewater management systems. Engineers and city councils seemed to agree that the appropriate way to deal with domestic wastewater was to remove it through a sewage pipe and treat the water at the end of the pipe (although one did not know how to do it and it took until the 1960s before wastewater treatment really took off in The Netherlands). It was no longer necessary to speak about the barrel system and the Liernur system in a depreciatory way. Judged by the declining number of connections to both the barrel and the Liernur system, they were from then on seen as second-best solutions only, as pathway technologies to be applied if there is no sewage

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connection yet. Or to put it in other terms: second-order learning was no longer taking place; actors had decided what the goals of technologies and the roles of different actors were. The discussion largely shifted to means-end reasoning or first-order learning (how to treat polluted and diluted domestic wastewater at the end of the pipe). Based on the discussion of the wastewater treatment systems thus far it is not possible to explain this shift in thinking. Van Zon for example did not venture into an explanation for why the sewage paradigm became dominant by the year 1900 and could only observe in documents that the debate had become stabilized. To give a possible explanation a discussion of the last competitor (the Liernur system) as well as an elaboration on the reasons for widespread application of piped water supply systems is necessary. Too sophisticated? – the Liernur system The engineer Charles T. Liernur was the man behind the by that time (1900) most complex way to deal with water and human waste. His system included ideas of removing waste and wastewater from cities and reusing nutrients in agriculture. According to Liernur adequate sanitation means that faeces are brought on agricultural land as quickly as possible. The basic principle of the Liernur system is similar to that of the barrel system: both systems were based on ‘dry toilets’ rather than water-based sanitation. The main difference is that Liernur’s system was a technically more complex piped system in which faeces were transported using vacuum pressure. Such a system made more frequent collection of faeces possible. Liernur argued that a major disadvantage of the barrel system was the loss of use value of the faeces due to the infrequent collection of the faeces and the resulting long storage times inside the houses. Other domestic wastewater flows, according to Liernur, had to be transported using existing or new sewers. Liernur also designed the necessary equipment. His pneumatic sanitation system required iron toilets, piped systems and devices which could pump the faeces through the pipes as well as special equipment to enable the quick distribution of the faeces on agricultural land (including a ‘faeces-distribution-cart’ and a ‘field-manuring-plough’). Contrary to the proponents of the barrel system, he argued that it was necessary to make a profit on the sale of the faeces. Farmers would be willing to pay large sums of money for the faeces, making the system attractive to municipalities. Liernur expected that farmers would initially be sceptical about his system ‘because they object to any change’, but this was something that could be overcome. In an initial stage the farmers should get the faeces for free and after a few years, when convinced of the benefits of the human manure, they would be willing to pay for it.

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Liernur had a polemic, almost hostile, attitude towards competitors and passionately defended his ideas. Proponents of other systems were seen as competitors who deserved only scorn. The barrel system was attacked heavily by Liernur, who termed it a ‘cat box system’ which ‘not even deserved to be named a system’ at all. Liernur was also one of the persons who used the ‘no working class people in my house’ argument discussed earlier. With 21st century knowledge in mind we can argue that it would have been wiser for him to try to make a strategic alliance with the proponents of the barrel system rather than to attack them. The barrel system can be seen as a pathway technology for the Liernur system. Both systems had some common grounds (e.g. dry sanitation; reuse in agriculture) and actually some municipalities initially saw the barrel system as a stepping stone for the Liernur system, to be applied at those places where the Liernur system was not yet constructed but problems with human waste accumulation could not wait any longer. Although it remains to be seen whether this implies that a less polemic attitude by Liernur would have pushed his case much further, it can surely be said that his personality did not help him. He even managed to embarrass officials who in principle agreed with his viewpoints. Liernur himself was heavily criticized by proponents of other systems. Besides the use of rhetorical and subjective stereotypes, this also included substantive points of critique. Liernur’s system did not fit at all in the 19th century sociopolitical climate. Especially municipalities used the argument that the Liernur system was too complex and only provided a ‘partial solution’. In general these municipalities had an interest in the quick removal of waste from cities. By applying the Liernur system they still had to find solutions for other domestic wastewater and urban water flows. Many municipalities were not impressed by the ‘making a profit on the faeces’ argument used by Liernur. There was some doubt whether the profit would be as big as Liernur promised. Also, ethical counter-arguments were used: was it legitimate for municipalities to make a profit on the waste of its citizens? What did the primary producers of this economic good (the citizens) see in return? And could one force citizens to adopt a specific sanitation system? Would the implementation of a piped system (intruding the houses of citizens!) not be a too radical restriction of their freedom of choice? Notwithstanding all the criticisms, some municipalities implemented the Liernur system: the Dutch municipalities of Leiden, Dordrecht, and Amsterdam, as well as Prague and Sint Petersburg. In Leiden the system was used between 1870 and 1915; In Dordrecht between 1874 and 1887 and in Amsterdam between 1872 and 1916.

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There is considerable difference in the concerns of the city councils and farmers in the different cities in which Liernur’s system was applied, but a common denominator is trust. In Leiden there was debate whether the Liernur system, existing from 1870 onwards, should be extended. Local governors doubted whether there would be enough farmers willing to adopt the manure. Liernur argued that the municipality had to set up its own municipal farming company ‘to indisputably prove’ that the manure was good, but this was not carried out. There was fear that Leiden would be ‘the guinea pig for the whole world’ and that this municipality had to carry the whole burden of high learning costs. In Dordrecht Liernur himself was distrusted after an event in the year 1877. Initially the municipality was quite favourable towards the Liernur system. It was backed up by a scientific committee arguing that his system was an adequate and sophisticated solution for modern times. However, this attitude towards Liernur changed considerably when the municipality received a large and unexpected bill from him. This was the turning point because from then on Dordrecht became very cautious and wanted to avoid new investments in the Liernur system, which according to Liernur would have been necessary to achieve the minimum profitable scale of exploitation. The example of Dordrecht is a case in point to show that the availability of financial resources can be a derivative of trust. Only a few years after the municipality’s refusal to make extra investments in the Liernur system, several times the amount of money asked for by Liernur was invested in the sewage system. Although Leiden and Dordrecht received much attention from engineers and civil servants abroad, the most conspicuous example of the Liernur system in The Netherlands was that of Amsterdam. As Van Zon discusses, the Amsterdam example has been extensively documented. The start in Amsterdam was promising. Profits were made and although these profits started to decline in the course of the years they were a strong reason to continue with the system and expand it. However, operating the Liernur system became increasingly problematic. According to the documentation on the Amsterdam example this is related to the dilution of faeces making the economic value of the excreta lower. After cleaning, residents threw buckets of water in the iron privies. From the year 1899 onwards also water closets were connected to the Liernur system in Amsterdam diluting faeces even more. By that time the adage of ‘flush and forget’ had become increasingly popular. Furthermore, there had been some experience with using water for toilet flushing, while the pneumatic technology of Liernur was still in its

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infancy. Although the pneumatic system generally functioned well, its large-scale application was still considered a risky affair. Whereas ‘flush-and-forget’ became the new norm for consumers, providers preferred ‘fit-and-forget’. Most municipalities preferred to install only one piped system. Furthermore, it was considered a major drawback that the management of faeces asked for continuous attention. Municipalities had to maintain a customer base of farmers. This was laborious and risky, because disengagement of the most influential (opinionated) farmers would likely cause disengagement of other farmers as well. In fact the main interest of municipalities was to get their waste removed from the city centre. From social distinction to civilization of the masses – piped water supply One easily gets the impression, reading the work of Van Zon, that the emergence of piped water supply, the associated adage of ‘flush and forget’ and the subsequent rise of sewage networks was a deterministic process which influenced the ‘selection environment’ in which the choices between competing sanitation and urban water management systems were made. This is however not the case. It is only because Van Zon predominantly focused on the competing sanitation systems that this impression arises, as a short history of piped water supply – and the wider socio-cultural changes shaping and being shaped by the rise of piped water supply – illustrates. As Geels (2005b) observes, the rise of piped water supply involved mutually influencing technical, institutional and – predominantly – socio-cultural changes. An illustration of this is the notion of cleanliness of the body (Shove 2003). It is nowadays (but also, for example, in the times of the Roman Empire) taken for granted that cleanliness of the body is something positive and that water and soap can be used to get clean. Cleanliness itself is rarely questioned, only perhaps the environmental side effects of it. How different was the situation until the early 19th century. A clean body was seen as something dangerous and the best way to protect oneself against disease was to have the body covered by a protecting layer of dirt (Geels 2005b). Not only cleanliness itself was dangerous. The same holds for the things that make one clean. Most cleaning devices (baths for example) make it necessary to lie in water and get wet allover. This was to be avoided because of all the dangers it would involve. Nineteenth century doctors warned that body nerves and muscles were weakened by the infiltrating water. Further it could affect the brain of women. The bath was even associated with ‘vice and dissoluteness’ (Geels 2005b) because it was predominantly found in brothels or wealthy hotels. All in all, it was seen as undesirable to have a bath too often. It was mostly (some of) the rich who

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allowed themselves such a debauch from time to time. Soap was seen as a luxury product justifying very high taxes making it unaffordable to ordinary people. In the early half of the 1800s it was very difficult to get access to clean drinking water in cities. Most surface waters, especially canals, were highly polluted. Still, they were the only source of drinking water for many. Especially lower class people generally had no other option than to use such polluted sources. Richer people could afford to install a private pump to get relatively clean groundwater (if this was present in a particular city). Other sources of drinking water were public pumps and wells constructed by the municipality, and rainwater collected from roofs. The public facilities, however, were often poorly maintained and the private ones were generally only accessible for the rich. After 1850, there was increasing awareness of the possible relationship between hygienic conditions and public health. Public health problems began to worsen as more and more people moved into the cities, but this did not lead to many public or private initiatives to improve the availability of drinking water of sufficient quality: health was still largely seen as a private responsibility. Although the number of initiatives was low, public concern increased, and it was argued more and more that government should take action to improve the situation. A National Drinking Water Commission recommended implementing policies to improve the availability of good drinking water and to set up a separate public health Ministry. City councils started to pump freshwater into polluted city canals (to improve circulation and dilute pollution) and dug more and deeper wells. Some cities applied piped water systems. Amsterdam installed piped water systems because there was water scarcity in a quantitative sense. In 1851 the English entrepreneur Vaillant founded a private water supply company in Haarlem which extracted water from the dunes and transported it to Amsterdam. This water was sold at public taps where people had to pay per bucket. Rich people could afford private connections, for which the annual charge was based on the number of rooms in their houses. In Den Helder (1856) the market niche was formed by departing ships which needed to have freshwater at their disposal. These two cities provided the first example of piped water supply systems in The Netherlands. It took much time before other cities followed (e.g. Rotterdam in 1870). These first two cities provided important breakthroughs. Piped water supply requires high investments: land has to be bought, concessions are needed to subtract water from the natural environment and infrastructures (pumping stations, water towers, piped systems, deep wells) have to be built. Dutch investors had no experience with piped water supply, so it was difficult to acquire funding. After several failed attempts to secure funding, the Amsterdam system was set up

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with the help of British investors who had learned from positive experiences in their home country. The initial goal of the first piped water systems was to make money. Water was seen as an economic good that could be exploited by private companies. On the other hand the piped water system in Rotterdam was set up and managed by a municipal agency. Piped water supply was a spin-off of the canal-flush system built in 1870. Initially the idea was to make use of the tide to flush the canals, but when experience showed that this system alone did not suffice; reservoirs were created in the year 1874. The water from these reservoirs was used to flush the canals. To regain some of the high investment costs, the water was also distributed to the residents. In this period higher classes increasingly wanted to distinguish themselves from the lower strata of society. More and more, ‘high’ could be equated with ‘clean’ while ‘low’ could be equated with ‘unwashed’. In the view of the higher classes, cleanliness meshed well with other, perceived, good things such as suppression of body smells, self-control and suppression of emotions. All this was seen as a manifestation of underlying virtues of the higher classes: inner purity, virtuousness, sincerity, sense of duty and respectability. These highly pronounced class differences – next to the worsening hygienic problems in cities – can be seen as symptoms of the same phenomenon: the migration of large numbers of ‘uncivilised masses’ and ‘fortune seekers’ to cities. Initially, neither the infrastructures nor the social organisation of these cities was adapted to this unprecedented migration pattern (De Swaan 1988). According to Geels, this shift in the meaning of cleanliness (towards a means to distinguish oneself from ‘paupers’) provided room for small market niches. Public bathhouses emerged, and soap was sold more and more. The rich started to use water closets, showers and baths in their houses. At that time, servants still had to fill reservoirs with buckets of water. Cleanliness was still not linked to health, let alone public health. After 1880 the construction of piped water systems really took off in the Netherlands (Geels 2005b). This take off was only partially related to public health concerns. Although it might be tempting to assume a causal relationship between the discovery of micro organisms and the construction of piped water supply, this relationship is not so straightforward. Other considerations were more important by that time. Piped water supply to citizens could be a means to recover the costs for the canal flush system (Rotterdam) or to overcome water quantity problems (Amsterdam). In other cities municipalities also had a direct financial interest in piped water supply. For example in Maastricht it was a means to raise the city’s prestige and – accordingly – to keep middle class people (tax payers) in. In those

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cities where private parties could make money this was because the rich wanted piped water to show off one’s high status. Rich people were prepared to pay for water from remote sources because it was often cleaner while piped water meshed with the culture of cleanliness emerging within the higher strata of society. Public health improvement was merely a by-product of piped water supply as initially the rich (the healthy) were the ones who benefited most from the piped water systems, before the public health benefits trickled down to other strata of society. We can see a distinction between publicly and privately used systems. A private connection to piped water supply was a means for social distinction. In other neighborhoods public tap water points were available, but private connections were preferred. Piped water systems were implemented in a piecemeal fashion (De Swaan 1988; Van Vliet 2002; Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005). De Swaan shows how, in Amsterdam, piped water supply networks could become widely available after hom*ogenization within and segregation between residential areas. Water supply could take off in the richer areas once crucial social dilemmas were overcome (is my neighbor able and willing to pay?) and all possible free riders (the poor) lived somewhere else. In a later phase the innovations could spread to other parts of the city. Piped water systems were increasingly seen as desirable while they became more and more affordable. The initial investment costs (water towers, concessions, pipes from the dunes to the city) where much higher than the costs for extra connections. In a later stage it was only a small extra investment to connect the last and most remote areas to common taps, washing places and toilets: “In a formal sense, such service networks are hierarchical or tree-like in structure. A number of endpoints are all connected to a node, without being directly connected to one another. The nodes, again, unconnected to one another, are all connected to higher order nodes, and so on, until the heart of the system has been reached. This is usually a large installation such as a water basin, a sewage mill, a gas factory, a power station or a telephone exchange” (De Swaan 1988: 130-131). Gradually the benefits of piped water were no longer articulated in terms of social distinction only. Increasingly, cleanliness was associated with health promotion and combating disease. As piped water supply was continuously spreading, so where the cleanliness artefacts which use was enabled by the water supply networks: baths (public bathhouses for the poor, private baths for the rich), soap, and washbasins. As the lowering of the taxes on soap, in 1893, signals, cleanliness was from then on seen as indispensable for public health reasons. At the same

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time, cleanliness of the house, cleanliness of the streets, in fact cleanliness of everything, also in the areas of the poor was seen as a necessity (Geels 2005b). The spread out of cleanliness, and all the habits and artefacts necessary to promote this, was linked up with a broader civilisation offensive in which ‘common’ people had to be ‘educated’ how to become a ‘respected’ member of society. Proper education was deemed necessary to solve the perceived ‘deficiencies’ of the poor. A broad range of societal actors had an interest in the new cleanliness paradigm. The government realised that it was of public interest to ban ‘the great unwashed’ by having them wash themselves, their clothes, their houses, and their streets. Industry had an interest in producing the cleanliness artefacts. It is no coincidence that several present-day multi-national corporations started as soap producers at the dawn of the twentieth century. But most importantly, the civilisation offensive meant a totalitarian top down reform of common people’s daily life. Leaflets were distributed in schools, doctors started to proclaim cleanliness, and house visits were carried out. By that time the housewife had become responsible for washing, scrubbing and rinsing and she was closely inspected by the civilisation officials. The nineteenth century laissez-faire attitude had completely disappeared. It took much time before large parts of society internalized the new cleanliness paradigm because it contradicted peoples’ everyday-life experiences and beliefs. It was expensive to comply with the cleanliness rules and piped water was not available for everyone. Furthermore, century-old beliefs (‘washing wears out clothing’; ‘dirt protects the body against disease’) were deeply rooted. Furthermore, the visits of public health inspectors were often perceived as a humiliating interference in daily life. Nevertheless the civilisation officers reached their goals, as a two minutes look at present-day television commercials will show. ‘No more dirt’ – a trajectory of development set out Around the year 1900, a particular trajectory was taken and others foreclosed. The most important point had become to remove waste out of the city, and water from remote sources was seen as the appropriate medium to do this. At this point in time human excreta had been gradually redefined from a natural resource (albeit a dirty one) to the most disgusting of all kinds of waste, associated with disease, death and lack of behavioural refinement. While some theorists still argued that faeces are resources in an ecological loop, the notion that waste – faeces in particular – should not be seen and smelled, and its production not be heard, became deeply embedded in the minds of people.

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Maybe Chadwick’s powerful metaphor of the ‘venous arterial system of urban metabolism’ even contributed to this notion, although Chadwick himself (De Swaan 1988) was in fact a reformer arguing that urbanisation should not lead to the dissolution of the natural flow of the nutrients present in faeces: “A constant supply of fresh clean water should be pumped into the city and distributed through a system of ever finer mesh to each individual household, where it would be used for cooking, drinking and washing, next to be carried off through a matching, but strictly separate, sewerage network in which human excrement might also be flushed with running water; industrial waste and street dirt, rinsed away with freshly supplied water, would also flow into these sewers. The waste waters would then be carried out of the city and processed, and the organic contents would be spread over the surrounding fields as fertilizer in liquid form or as solid pellets. The lands fertilized in this manner would yield an improved harvest with which to feed the expanding city: a perfect cycle of urban metabolism” (Chadwick, in: De Swaan 1988). In the minds of several scientists, in modern times ecological cycles should be kept in tact. The basic challenge was to secure public health and to secure that excreta and waste were banned from sensory experience. Initially citizens were not happy with the dilution of their waste as they were deprived of an economic good. The owners of cesspits were visited by farmers who came to empty the cesspit and paid for the content. The owners of water closets were not. Whereas the rich were prepared to pay to get the stuff removed, the WC meant a relative deprivation for the poor. According to De Swaan the elegant management of defecation became a sign of wealth, health and cleanliness. It was the WC that gave the rich an interest in the venous arterial system. They could afford water supply and waste disposal systems themselves (as well as the servants to operate these systems for them) so without the WC there would be no interest in piped systems. But the WC was just the extra status symbol, the means to show off (better: not to show off) their refined manners.

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Towards a modern age: from autonomous self provision to a range of competing systems

1800

1850

= Household

Sewage system coexisting with several other grid-and non grid bound systems for some time

1900

Centralized grid connected sewage system emerges from various grid and non grid bound systems

1950

2000

= Utility grid/provider networks

Figure 4.1: changing household-grid relations into the modern age

4.4 Gradual development of water systems and practices (1900-1980) At the turn of the century water supply and sewage systems were seen as the way to go. Centralized water and wastewater works were by far not so widely branched as they are nowadays, although a process of gradual development had started. In 1900 only 42% of Dutch households were connected to piped water supply systems (Van Zon 1986). The Liernur system functioned in Amsterdam, until 1916. The barrel system was used at many places until after the Second World War. Wastewater treatment took off only after WWII. This shows that the widespread application of a highly desired system requiring large investments takes a considerable period of time. At the same time the changes in peoples’ everyday-life circ*mstances were almost revolutionary. While the cleanliness adage was spreading among citizens, also the manufacturers of several household appliances were increasingly able to do good business. Compared to the beginning of the twentieth century, the organization of everyday-life had changed dramatically.

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On the one hand household tasks could be carried out in a far easier way than before. One can think of the process of washing clothes, which was until the 1960s much more laborious than nowadays and required participation of all members of the household. Especially the task of putting a large cauldron of water on a stove was a task in which several household members had to participate. The washing machine made the task of washing clothes considerably easier. As a result, normality had become redefined: expectations regarding the results of household labor (quality of food, cleanliness of house and clothes) had changed dramatically. In her famous book ‘More work for Mother’ Schwartz-Cowan (1983) describes how household labor (in the United States) had become redefined as a female task, and how ever more output was required in ever less time. With hindsight we can thus reconstruct a path of development in which water and wastewater systems and practices reinforced each other. This section zooms in on some developments looking, respectively, at the level of water systems and at some particular ‘water relevant’ practices in the household. It will be a condensed discussion, not by far pretending to be exhaustive, and excluding some water practices (e.g. gardening). However, the aim is not to be complete, but to get a general overview of the social construction of provider and consumer rationalities that are specific for ‘water’ practices. Towards expert-managed water and wastewater systems In most countries the widespread application of sewage systems came after piped water supply had gained some momentum18 (Juuti and Katko 2005). Wastewater treatment plants were also built19. From a systemic perspective the main characteristics of this period are the widespread application of water supply networks, the establishment of sewage systems and the realization of wastewater treatment plants. The basic institutional shift observable is one towards a more and more increasing scale of management. In The Netherlands, the institutions responsible for water supply and those for wastewater management are quite strictly separated from each other. From the late 19th century onwards a wide range of local water supply companies was municipalized (Juuti and Katko 2005). After the issuing of the water supply act of 1957, provinces had acquired the possibility to steer the organization of the water supply industry. The result of this was that between 1957 and 1975 many small water supply companies were merged into provincial publicly-owned water companies. Sewage networks were predominantly set up by the public works departments of municipalities. Specialized wastewater management agencies (so-called ‘zuiveringschappen’, Wastewater Treatment Boards) were established from the

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1930s onwards. For some time these wastewater treatment boards co-existed with so-called Water Boards, who predominantly focused on water quantity issues in the urban as well as the rural areas. Both the water Quantity and Quality Boards should be seen as local governments specialized in water management (Kuks 2004). Public authorities increasingly started to see wastewater treatment as an affair of crucial societal importance. In 1954 the ‘Waterschapsbank’ (Water Board bank) was set up by the Water Boards. This bank especially aimed to cater for finance needed for water management tasks such as the expansion and upgrading of flood defense, wastewater treatment and other water sector needs. It became a specialized government-owned financial institution of which all undertakings should be socially relevant and contribute to sustainability. The 1969 Wastewater Treatment Act enabled Water Boards to collect wastewater charges allowing for full cost recovery. Another development is the increasing scale of operation of wastewater management institutions20 (Juuti and Katko 2005). Although the precise character of these institutional changes is specific for The Netherlands, they illustrate a more widely observable shift towards an integrated, and – later on – a universal mode of provision21. It is in this period that wastewater collection and treatment started to be a largely invisible undertaking carried out mostly by municipal governments, and that the notions of ‘natural monopolies’ and ‘captive consumers’ apply most. The cause of ‘invisibility’ is, however, not so much that nothing changed but that there arose an ever stricter separation between the system of provision side (professional sphere; no longer part of lay actors’ everyday experience) and the domestic practices co-evolving with these systems. More than a dustbin for excreta – the toilet The water closet has been a crucial artefact from an everyday-life perspective, playing an important role in the rise of urban water and sanitation systems. At different points in time, different actors attached different symbolic meanings to this artefact. Although the first English patent for the water closet was issued in 1775, it took some time for the WC to spread. As Gastelaars (1996) points out the water closet became almost indispensable after its symbolic meaning was redefined from a luxury into a device to secure public health. Although the most expensive part of sanitary infrastructure (the pipes and plants) is generally publicly organized, the WC is largely a privately produced artefact. With the change of its symbolic meaning, also the aesthetic requirements and, accordingly, the shape and color of the toilet changed. Before mass production of the toilet, WCs were often rich and colorfully decorated as they were seen as a

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status symbol. After the start of mass production, the colors and shapes of toilets became more uniform (besides some variations such as the difference between the platform flush and the deep flush toilets: the former apparently reflects the wish to have faeces visible for some time to allow (medical) inspection, whereas the latter reflects how priority is given to cleanliness and ‘out of sight, out of mind’). But in spite of all the differences the single color China pot had become the prototypical toilet in many Western countries. On the one hand single-color China must have been much easier and thus cheaper to produce. On the other hand such a ‘demonstrative purity’ could be associated first with cleanliness and decency, later with hygiene and health. The single color pot made ‘every spot of dirt stand out’, so the toilet could be added to an emerging group of cleanliness devices: baths, tiles and showers which became the standard in American and European households. Did the ‘demonstrative purity’ of the toilet, as a spin off, make production cheaper? Or, on the other hand, was this ‘purity-argument’ invented afterwards, to justify the boring but cheaper design? Either way, this example makes clear that what constitutes normal toilet design is highly socially constructed. Whereas Otnes had to remind us of our connectedness to socio-material collective systems, it seems that the late 19th and early 20th century users of the toilet were very well aware of these systems. These people were highly conscious of what Gastelaars (1996) terms an underworld connecting the private and the public: the sewage system. Although the sewage system may have been an inspiring solution to city administrators and engineers, according to Gastelaars it provoked anxiety amongst many end-users who were afraid ‘to be drawn down’ or to ‘disappear’. People have started to attach an even broader set of meanings to the toilet once its application had become widespread. For many people the WC is nowadays a place to have a moment on one’s own, a place where one can be away from the hustle and bustle of daily life for some time and maybe one of the places where people can claim a basic necessity which has become so scarce in modern society: the right not to be disturbed from time to time. The wish to be alone and undisturbed while using the toilet can partly be linked to the discourse on decency which had emerged in the second halve of the nineteenth century. The activities taking place behind the locked door were increasingly seen as a private affair. But one does not need to search for very long to find out that urinating or defecating was/is a much more public affair in other places and at other points in history than it is nowadays. Not only the infamous example of Louis XIV welcoming his guests on ‘the throne’, and some of Rembrandt’s etches, serve as examples here. We can also think of the examples from India, where in many places relieving oneself in public is seen as a way to

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answer ‘nature’s call’. According to De Graaf (2006) at some places the act of defecating is seen as an inherently social affair and public latrines are places where people meet each other and socialize. Gastelaars (1996) argues that there is more into toilet use than simply hiding what we do and being on our own. Early toilet training can be seen as a ‘rite of passage’. The fact that one has to use the toilet with parents’ help symbolizes that one is not yet ‘a big boy/girl’. ‘To be big’ means to go to the lavatory yourself and to be allowed to lock the door (Turner 1969). Furthermore, using the toilet is associated with (sexual) taboos. ‘Why else would men and women be so strictly separated in public and semi-public conveniences despite the strict individual separation with a lock on the door?’ On the other hand, as Gregory and James (2007) believe, it is a typical European practice to have semi-public toilets in which women have to walk past urinals before they can reach their own individual compartment: ‘for non-Europeans this would come as a shock’. In any case, the publishing of a range of richly illustrated ‘toilet books’ (Gregory and James 2007; Horan 1996; Jongbloed and Sloot 2006) illustrates that we are dealing with a tabooed subject of highly cultural significance. Only for getting clean? – The bathroom The meaning of baths and showers has changed in the late 19th century from being, first, a dangerous and immoral activity, then a luxurious activity undertaken by some, and finally an activity which all ‘normal’ members of society undertake. According to Giedion (1987) there were competing claims about the bath. The question has been, for example, whether the bath should be seen as a ‘surgical instrument’, as an object which is associated with ‘forbidden sexual encounters’ or something else. The use of baths and showers took off after the shift to the cleanliness paradigm, and the associated standardized mass production of baths and showers. As Shove (2003) shows, the ‘surgical instrument’ rationalization for bathing tended to dominate at the beginning of the 20th century. Bathrooms were designed and furnished accordingly: ‘consistent with this logic [of hygiene and health, DH], the ‘normal’ bathroom was typically small and Spartan, white enameled fittings and tiled, easy-to-clean, surfaces being part and parcel of its functional image’ (p. 101). Other symbolic meanings were attached to the bathroom in a later stage. Shove’s analysis shows how bathing routines evolved as a result of a very complex web of mutually influencing and changing understandings of normality, and the rationalities and actions of governments and market parties. As an illustration, when the notions of death and disease were more or less banned from memory, when the last epidemics were long enough ago and less

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omnipresent, and when chemical disinfectants were available, this led to a relaxation of the ‘sanitary regime’ necessary to combat danger and disease. From then on the bathroom could no longer be promoted as a ‘surgical instrument’. The relaxation of the sanitation regime enabled and made necessary a symbolic reinvention of the bathroom. The availability of more decorative furnishing and design from the 1960s onwards made it possible to keep the bathroom in the home. Shove explains how several different meanings have been attached to the bathroom. For some it has become a place to be on ones’ own, and a place to recover from social interaction or a place of leisure and pleasure. For others it is a place for efficiency and convenience, a place where ‘necessary’ routines are enabled by a quick and efficient shower. For again others the bathroom turns out to be the communications centre of the home as it is the place where couples meet and plan or evaluate the present day. In an effort to bring some order in the wide range of symbolic meanings that can be attached to the bathroom, Shove distinguishes between three different dimensions lying behind bathroom practices and the discursive justifications people can give for them. For a start, bathroom practices can be a manifestation of how the self relates to society. Washing is thus seen as a back-stage preparation for public (front-stage) appearance (to put it in Goffman’s (1969) terms). What kinds of backstage preparations are performed, what kind of front-stage appearance people want to make and how important ‘frontstage’ is compared to ‘backstage’ can differ. Shove specifically denominates the issue of whether bathing is to prepare for social interaction (which requires a shower in the morning) or to recover from it (which requires a bath in the evening). A second dimension of bathing practices is whether they are ‘to come into contact with nature’ or ‘to keep nature out’. The wish to comply with sanitary requirements can be seen as an illustration of the latter. Nature is defined as something negative (germs, dirt, sweat and smell) and one should get rid of it as quickly as possible. On the other hand, people using all kinds ‘natural’ bathing oils seem to do this to imitate or replace their bonds with nature. In an urban environment, where waterfalls and pure lakes are not readily available, bathing is used as a substitute. Several contemporary trends can be explained in terms of ‘coming into contact with nature’. Specifically the emerging ‘wellness’ trend – in which ‘rain-showers’, ‘power showers’ and whirlpools are increasingly used – signals that ‘coming into contact with nature’ is indeed a motive behind bathing practices. As a third dimension, bathing practices can be seen as a personal pleasure or as a social duty. Either of these rationalizations can be used by the same persons at different moments in time. The main contrast here is between using the bath or

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shower because ‘one simply has to wash oneself’ or to indulge oneself in the luxury of long lingering baths. Following Shove, different bathing practices and rationalizations for these practices can be distinguished over time, yet they can be caught into three more or less universal dimensions. There is mutual influence between these rationalizations (changes in one dimension will likely provoke changes in others) as well as between bathing practices and the socio-material bathing systems needed to pursue them. Allowed to leisure or forced to wash? – The washing machine Whereas baths and toilets had become indispensable hygienic devices at the beginning of the twentieth century, the widespread application of the washing machine took much longer22 (Oldenziel et al. 2001). Without giving a watertight historical representation of the history of the washing machine, it is possible to denominate some systemic as well as everyday-life issues that influenced the pattern observed. From an infrastructural point of view, all types and prototypes of the washing machine need electricity to function. In the early twentieth century, electricity was either not available in the household, or at one connection only. This must have significantly influenced the debates on washing in the early twentieth century. As Oldenziel sets out, the rationalizations behind doing the laundry were enmeshed in much wider debates. Some argued in favor of public washing places where the housewife could do the laundry making use of the newest equipment. The very demanding chore of doing the laundry could then be carried out in a much more efficient way. Some proponents of such a public/communal mode of provision were ‘household scientists’, which were well-organized female professionals trying to improve the lives of city dwellers (often working-class people with a lack of space in their houses). Other proponents (particularly Marxist-feminists) had a more political motive in favor of such public washing places, as they argued that having to spend less time on washing enables women to participate in the revolution. From the beginning of the twentieth century, industries tried to find a market for the washing machine, initially without success. Although economic considerations partly explain this (new expensive technology, many citizens were rather poor for a considerable part of the twentieth century), there are other reasons as well for why it took a long time before the washing machine was adopted. First, the rationalities behind the washing machine did not match those of the supposed users. A recurring rationality was that using the washing machine,

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privately or publicly, means that money is used to buy time. Was it appropriate for poor families to do this? Was it not better to save the money for other purposes? Is the woman still a good housewife if part of her work is done by a machine? Related to this, Oldenziel observes that in general ‘learning and amusem*nt’ equipment is adopted faster than equipment aiming to ease the burden of household labor. Also – as a more technology-centered explanation – earlier versions of the washing machine replaced only part, not all, of the tasks that first had to be done manually. Whereas the washing machine was initially seen as luxury equipment, it was more and more seen as a necessity from the 1960s onwards. We can observe a pattern illustrative for the development and implementation of many technologies (see for example: Geels and Smit 2000. While the device was initially used to make existing practices more efficient, the requirements regarding the results (what to wash, when to wash, how clean should the laundry be) rose. Also washing practices changed. For example, according to Shove (2003) washing was no longer only a way to get clothing clean and germ free (requiring washing at 95 degrees centigrade). People had started to do ever more washes at ever lower temperature. Rationalizations which can be found are for example sensation and deodorization of the laundry (rather than cleanliness or disinfection). This short history of the washing machine shows that in laundering some additional considerations are at play when compared to using the toilet or bathing. Doing the laundry is more seen as a job to be done relating to the division of labor within the household. As we have seen, Schwartz-Cowan points at the gender perspective when she sets out how mothers became the victims of the industrialization of the household. On the other hand, Cieraad (2004) sets out that women are in part the culprits of an escalation of such household chores (both in terms of the amount of labor and in terms of pressure on the environment) as they are often the ‘watchdogs’ of cleanliness. Evaluation This section has described how water systems and practices co-evolved. Water systems have become increasingly centralized in the discussed period; both in terms of technical scale and organizational scale, and new symbolic meanings of water-related practices were constructed. What do the discussed developments show us about the role of water practices from a life-world perspective? Most importantly, water practices, are closely related to the human body, and with health, well-being (and their opposites) and to some extent with taboo. Some underlying rationalizations can be observed in different practices, at different

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periods in time, in different geographical areas, suggesting that these rationalizations have some degree of universality. First, the extent to which water practices have a front-stage or a backstage character is of relevance. This dimension refers to the Goffmanian front-stage/backstage perspective as used by Shove. The fact that water practices such as toilet use, washing and bathing often take place behind the only doors in the house that can be locked signals that these activities to some extent take place in the backstage. However, the forwardness/backwardness of activities can vary. Toilet practices have more and more moved to the backstage. But on the other hand washing and bathing practices can be rationalized both as a means to prepare for social interaction (more front-stage) or to recover from it (more backstage). The notion of ‘having a moment on one’s own’ also refers to this front-stage/backstage dimension of water practices. Swimming pools are examples of more front-stage water practices. A second dimension is whether an activity is rationalized as a way to connect to nature, or on the other hand as a way to keep nature out. In the former case it would be logical to do the laundry at a low temperature and use a limited amount of detergent. Or it would mean to use a rainshower and ‘natural’ oils rather than water and soap. Likewise, a nature-connected way to deal with human excreta is to see it as a natural resource, while the association with dirt, disease and disgust can be seen as a nature-disconnected way to look upon human excreta. When one wants to keep nature out, it is more logical to disinfect the body. On a macro level, keeping nature out means to use sewage pipes rather than canals to transport urban water, detaching it from sensory experience, while for connectedness to nature one needs to go the other way round. Third, water practices can be seen either as a pleasure or as a duty. In the former case what one requires will be different than in the latter case. If water practices are seen as a chore, issues of efficiency and the organization of labor amongst household members are of more relevance than if these practices are seen as an inherently pleasant affair. Fourth, water practices can have strong or weak sexual connotations. In the former case (e.g. public toilets) one can often see a gendered division of functions (men separated from women). Other practices are maybe less tabooed but it would probably go too far to state that anyone of them is completely neutral. Fifth, one can look whether a certain water practice is seen as a luxury or as something necessary to be a ‘normal’ member of society. Amongst all the differences this involves, a crucial one is that in the latter case issues of affordability are probably most important: do people have the resources to comply with what is seen as the

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norm? In the latter case, distinction can be more important, making financial considerations less relevant. Finally, a water practice can involve strong or weak social interdependencies. Does an activity have direct consequences for other people, or are the consequences more indirect? The extreme example of strong social interdependency is maybe 19th century sanitation practices, which could form a direct threat for other people’s life. People’s actions (e.g. digging a cesspit close to a common tap) can cause death. Other examples are rainwater reservoirs shared by a number of households (if one household uses too much all the others suffer), or sanitary facilities shared by persons within the same household (who keeps them clean and tidy)? A more remote interdependency (in the literal meaning of the word) is the discharge of sewage waters in a river, just upstream another city. Social interdependencies are also reflected in the way the water practice is organized. Public laundry facilities depend on the participation of enough people willing to do their laundry there. Once a critical number of participants shifts to private appliances the public facility will soon cease to exist. The relative ‘scores’ on all these life-world dimensions have changed over time and keep on changing. There is mutual influence between systemic and everydaylife changes. Often the everyday-life changes arose more or less accidentally, while in other cases they were deliberately set in motion by the proponents of new water practices. The definition of bathing as a ‘medical’ activity more or less logically followed from preceding developments (pollution, death, the acknowledged need for cleanliness and civilization of the masses), the ‘Spartan’ bathroom was not deliberately designed as a way to ‘market’ washing and bathing but as an integral part of the broader storyline on bathing which was dominant by that time. A redefinition of what bathing entails was, however, necessary when sanitary concerns became less important. The symbolic meanings attached to the bathroom were de- and reconstructed to keep the bathroom in the household. This is a remarkable difference compared to, for example, the introduction of the washing machine in Dutch households. This was initially a failed innovation because engineers did not link up with the rationalities of the users. This illustrates, that symbolic meanings around water practices can be deliberately de- and reconstructed. The everyday-life perspective should thus be part and parcel of the design of more desired (e.g. more sustainable) water and sanitation systems.

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4.52 Water and wastewater in a late modern age (1980present) In the last part of the 20th century water and wastewater systems were confronted with several environmental and economic challenges. Costs for sewage maintenance and repair had become very high (economic pressure) and environmental concerns became more and more important due to high levels of water pollution in many countries. This section argues that, whereas public health concerns were the driver behind the first wave of environmental concern in sanitation and water management at the end of the 19th century, environmental concerns increasingly govern contemporary developments. Towards integrated and sustainable urban water management – the Dutch water transition Currently, policy makers, scholars and practitioners pay much attention to the transition from technocratic water engineering towards integrated and participatory water management (Kuks 2002; Van der Brugge 2004). This shift towards environmental engineering and integrated management can be observed more widely. Here it will be illustrated by discussing the Dutch situation in some detail. In the course of the twentieth century water management had become a special domain, strictly separated from ‘the rest of society’. Water managers could take the ‘needs of society’ as a given fact and they only had to come up with technological solutions which made it possible – amongst other things – to protect cities against water, remove storm-water and wastewater of various qualities from the urban environment, and to enable house building in areas below sea level. In the mid-1980s, however, the notion of ‘integrated’ and ‘sustainable’ water management was coined as a concept in the policy vision ‘Dealing with water’ (Riza 1985). The Dutch water ministry argued that water managers had to consider water bodies as a system in which surface water and groundwater are interconnected, while ecological concerns increasingly became important (Kuks 2002). The notion of integrated water management was put on the agenda, resulting in the Third Policy Memorandum on Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat 1989). This section is a revised version of chapter 4 of: Hegger, D.L.T., Van Vliet, B. and Spaargaren, G. (2006), “Decentralized Sanitation and Reuse in Dutch Society – social opportunities and risks”, pp. 189. (unpublished draft). 2

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This ecological turn in the mid-1980s can be linked with an overall high degree of environmental awareness in society, changes in the way ‘Rijkswaterstaat’ (state water authority) operated, and a trend towards deregulation (ibid). With regard to the changes in the way Rijkswaterstaat operated, two long-term national water engineering projects are often referred to: the land reclamation projects in the ‘IJsselmeer’ and the building of a system of storm barriers in the southwest of the country (the ‘Deltawerken’). These projects were criticized by various groups in society because of their one-dimensional civil engineering approach. Those who criticized this approach were especially pointing at ‘the need for open water for nature recreation, nature conservation, water storage and the experience of unspoiled space in an already crowded and highly planned country’. As a result of these public concerns, Rijkswaterstaat made significant adaptations in the plans of these two infrastructural projects, implying that ecological concerns were taken into account (Kuks 2002; Van der Brugge 2004). A second shift took place in the 1990s. Contrary to the 1980s, the focus was not on ecological concerns but on water quantity issues. Especially two serious flood events, in 1993 and 1995, made apparent the need for a new water quantity policy. These two flood events were ascribed to climate change and it was expected that the traditional flood protection approach – dike fortification and dike rising – was no longer adequate and feasible. The policy document ‘Ruimte voor water’ (space for water, 1995) advocated a new flood protection approach. This document stressed that water is an – underestimated – threat for The Netherlands. It was stated that the challenge to deal with water in an adequate way will only become bigger because of climate change and the situation of The Netherlands in the delta of large European rivers. Therefore, a new approach was deemed necessary, in which water is integrated with spatial planning, implying, amongst other things, the need for more space for retention of water along river banks. This new approach was laid down in the Fourth National Policy Memorandum on Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat 1998). Another development noteworthy in this respect is the ‘Plan Ooievaar’ (De Bruijn et al. 1987). People were invited to come up with ideas about future water management, which could be submitted anonymously. One of the basic premises of the award winning plan ‘Ooievaar’ was that the link between agriculture and nature preservation was broken down, and that agricultural land had to be removed from river flood plains. Drawing on this plan, the WNF came with the ‘living rivers’ plan in (1992). This plan was based on the idea of restoring broken food chains and the plan presented an alternative route for planned dike enhancements. At the same time a small group within Rijkswaterstaat explored

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possibilities of integrating water policy with spatial planning, resulting in the report ‘Dealing with the surrounding area’ (Rijkswaterstaat 1992). The report ‘Waterbeleid voor de 21ste eeuw’ (Tielrooy Committee 2000) mainly focused on water quantity issues. In this report, the need to deal with issues of water quantity and safety in an adequate way was emphasized and several policy measures were advocated. The most important principle is the principle of ‘retention, storage, drainage’. This principle radically breaks with the tradition of removing water flows as quickly as possible. The new approach is to retain water ‘in the capillaries of the water system’. If this is not possible, the water has to be stored in designated areas. Only if both retaining and storing the water is not possible, the water should be drained. Another recommendation was to establish the ‘Watertoets’ (Water Impact Assessment). This is a procedural policy instrument aiming to introduce water related issues in an early phase of the spatial planning process. It has become mandatory since 1st November 2003 and it states that a ‘water paragraph’ must be included in spatial plans, indicating how spatial planning affects water management. Besides water quantity issues, the water paragraph should also address the consequences for water quality and desiccation (Water in The Netherlands, 2004). To make the citizens in The Netherlands aware of the need to pay more attention to water quantity issues, the national government started a multimedia public awareness campaign, titled ´The Netherlands lives with water’ in 2003 (e.g. www.nederlandleeftmetwater.nl). To sum up, since the mid-1980s a paradigm shift occurred from technocratic water engineering towards integrated water management. The term integrated refers to taking into account all aspects that have to do with water (safety, quality, quantity, use of space and sustainability; Rathenau Institute 2000) and to take into account all water flows (wastewater, rainwater of various qualities, surface water etc). All these changes in water policy imply that a wider range of social actors are becoming or have to become involved in water management. Until a few decades ago, water managers could carry out their tasks in isolation, and it were mainly farmers who had an interest in the work of the Water Board (whose main task used to be to remove water-related impediments for agriculture, since these water boards were originally set up, in the Middle Ages, to act in the interest of these farmers). But nowadays there are other stakeholders as well (municipalities, urban planners, project developers, to mention a few). Guiding principles such as ‘integrated water management’, ‘putting water in the centre’ and ‘water in the city’ reveal that water management has become an issue of interest for large segments

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of society. The citizen-consumer has again been acknowledged as a crucial stakeholder. The relation between water management and the citizen-consumer has changed. The democratic basis of Water Boards has been broadened and citizens are recognized as stakeholders participating in the democratic management of Water Boards (www.UVW.nl). These Water Boards increasingly start to communicate towards the ‘emancipated’ citizens about their activities, among other things to justify the taxes imposed on these citizens. But the most visible changes for citizens are to be found in the urban environment. Many projects have been started in which the new water approach is actually implemented (Arcadis 2004; www.dubocentrum.nl). Water becomes more visible in the urban environment, and moreover, the citizen-consumer actually participates in setting up these projects. Collaboration between water partners In Dutch water management a conceptual distinction is made between ‘water chain’ and ‘water system’. The former refers to the chain from extraction of groundwater and surface water, via the production and distribution of drinking water, the use of this water by households and industry, to sewage services and wastewater treatment. The latter refers to groundwater and surface water bodies. Water chain and water system, it is argued, should be separated as much as possible and – ideally – the extraction of drinking water and the discharge of treated wastewater are the only two points of contact between water chain and water system23. This idea of a distinction between water chain and water system is laid down in the ‘Rijksvisie op de waterketen’ (Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment 2003). Some argue (Rathenau Institute 2000) that responsibilities within the water chain are too much divided amongst institutional actors. Water supply companies are responsible for the delivery of drinking water. ‘Captive’ consumers use this water and process it into wastewater, for which transportation the municipality is responsible. Finally, this wastewater – mostly together with rainwater – is delivered to a wastewater treatment plant operated by the regional Water Board24. An issue which is presently subject for discussion is ‘integration in the water chain’, and cooperation between the (institutional) actors responsible for water tasks. Several ways to accomplish this are subject for discussion, for example: ‘wastewater agreements’ and ‘water chain companies’. The former refers to the idea that municipalities and Water Boards collaborate and – amongst other things – agree upon the amount of water the municipality delivers to the wastewater treatment plant and the amount of water dealt with within the municipality (e.g. via disconnection of rainwater from the sewage system). The latter development –

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on the other hand – is a quite radical change in the institutional organization of wastewater management. The institutional actors responsible for the water chain (water supply companies, municipal sewage departments and Waterboards) are merged into one agency dealing with the water chain. The why and how of integration in the water chain is currently subject for debate and the exact way in which this integration in the water chain will be worked out is still unclear, although there is some experience with wastewater agreements as well as with the establishment of the first water chain company (in Amsterdam). What are the implications of all these changes for the citizen-consumer? This depends on the exact way integration in the water chain is carried out in specific areas. Arguments in favor of integration are that water service providers can combine their communication efforts, billing services and other consumer-oriented activities. The citizen-consumer only has to approach ‘one counter’ for all water services. Furthermore, collaboration in the water chain could lead to more efficiency, and thus to cost reductions from which the consumer might benefit. Arguments against integration are believed to be the high transaction costs which a new mode of organization involves. Disconnecting rainwater, reconnecting the senses As a reaction to contemporary challenges in water management, water managers have started to disconnect rainwater from the sewage system. Disconnection of rainwater implies that the sewage system only removes domestic wastewater from the urban setting, not rainwater. This rainwater is kept in the city rather than removed from it as quickly as possible. By preventing rainwater from entering the sewage system, contamination of this relatively clean water flow is avoided, as well as undesired sewer overflows during storm water events and unnecessary dilution of domestic wastewater. This prevents an increase of the amount of water that has to be treated at wastewater treatment plants (Tjallingii et al. 2000) and can counteract the threat that combined sewers impose to water quality and the health of animals and humans25. In practice, several measures are possible, such as extending the size and number of ponds and ditches in the neighbourhood, decreasing the amount of hardened surface and the use of special infiltration facilities to infiltrate rainwater into the soil. These measures can be taken in public space (streets, parking places) as well as in private space (gardens). Disconnection of rainwater implies several changes for the role of water in the urban environment. The new way to deal with water may lead to an improvement of the living environment, because ‘urban planners are increasingly rediscovering

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water’ (Water in The Netherlands 2004). On the other hand, the new approach implies some other consequences for the citizen-consumer, which can be both positive and negative. Citizen-consumers have the opportunity to take several measures in their own garden, which not only leads to disconnection of rainwater, but also to a more attractive garden. On the other hand, disconnection of rainwater implies behavioral changes for the citizen-consumer outside the home. This citizenconsumer may be confronted with restrictions regarding dog walking and car washing (to prevent contaminated water from entering the soil). Disconnection of rainwater is an example in which water management has become more decentralized. This is true for its technological outlook, because rainwater flows are dealt with locally and not at the end of the pipe. But also with regard to its social organization, disconnection of rainwater is a break with conventional systems: a whole range of actors should be involved to make it succeed. The citizen-consumer cannot be excluded from this range of actors. Disconnection of rainwater is one of the prime examples to show that water management has become an issue again for the citizen-consumer who used to take water management for granted. In terms of the life-world variables denominated earlier in this chapter, sustainable urban water management may in some cases imply that citizens are re-connected to nature and that urban water management (read: gardening) becomes a pleasure. However, of course, it can also work out the other way around. European Integration When discussing the broader shift towards participatory and integrated water management, European integration cannot be left unmentioned. Whereas at the end of the 19th century water policy was seen as a very local affair, what was seen as the appropriate level for water management has shifted, first, to the regional level and later on towards water basin level. As water basins often cross national boundaries, water basin management is something which excellently can be taken care of at a European level. Water quality criteria in many European countries became stricter and wastewater was treated more extensively in many countries. In 1991 the EU adopted the urban Wastewater Treatment Directive stating that secondary (biological) wastewater treatment would become mandatory in all EU countries. At the same time we can observe efforts to arrive at integrated water management in several EU countries. Integration means that several water aspects (quality, quantity) are taken into account at the same time and that a range of new stakeholders becomes involved. As we have seen, water management is no longer looked upon as something which can be placed outside society but something

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which should be integrated within it. Urban planners, societal groups and citizenconsumers all started to play a role in water governance. This integration can also be observed at EU level, where more and more pieces of water legislation have become adopted, culminating in the EU Water Framework Directive (2000) which replaced many of these earlier pieces of legislation. The European Water Framework Directive states that water management should be organized by catchment area26. The care and management of these waters should be organized internationally. Member states have to set up joint action plans, and citizens should be involved more closely in water management. The core objective of the Directive is to achieve a good status for all waters in the European Union by the year 2015. The directive sets clear goals which have to be reached by the EU member states implementing the Directive. It is expected that the implementation of the Directive in the member states fulfills the following goals27: ‘expanding the scope of water protection to all waters, surface waters and groundwater; achieving ‘good status’ for all waters by a set deadline; water management based on river basins; ‘combined approach’ of emission-limit values and quality standards; getting the prices right; getting the citizen involved more closely; and streamlining legislation.’ Piped water supply – a commodity again? As we have seen, the question whether water should be seen as a public good or as a commodity is subject for debate in many countries. The first water supply companies were privately owned. Starting in 1921, ownership of these water supply companies came in the hands of provinces and municipalities. From 1976 onwards, these companies were managed according to commercial principles, although they were still owned by provinces and municipalities (Blokland, Braadbaart and Schwartz 1999). Proponents of a privatized water supply argue that privatized water services enable full cost recovery (the citizen has to pay all the costs of water delivery) and enhanced efficiency. Opponents (Blokland, Braadbaart and Schwartz 1999; Hukka and Katko 2003) argue that there exist several possibilities for public-private cooperation which would be preferable. Privatization was a hot topic, in The Netherlands, at the beginning of the 21st Century. The question whether water supply should become privatized, comparable to for example electricity supply, or not, was reason for debate in parliament. In 2002, new legislation was discussed, dealing with the ownership of water supply companies. It was decided that water supply companies, contrary to other utilities in The Netherlands, should remain publicly owned, because of the importance of reliable, non-exclusive, and safe delivery of drinking water to

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citizen-consumers. Competition for the water supply grid was considered out of the question (www.VEWIN.nl)28. Evaluation Several long term multi level changes are taking place, at the moment. Societal actors, including the citizen-consumer, are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of water management. Whereas water management used to be perceived as something ‘external’ to society, it is more and more acknowledged that it is no longer possible to maintain such a distinction between water and society. An environmental rationality is gaining ground in the water world, next to concerns about safety and public health. At the same time, changes in natural conditions form a huge challenge for water managers. Climate change results in an increased occurrence of heavy rainfall events, larger inflow of water through rivers, a rise in sea level combined with (in some areas)a decrease in surface level. The water sector is no longer a separate sector but an integral aspect of ‘society’. Besides water engineers, a wide range of other actors, including the citizenconsumer – are (or have to) become involved in water management. Water managers can no longer use an internally oriented logic. There are fierce debates (integration or not, public/private mode of provision, ambitious or conservative implementation of the Water Framework Directive). At some places we are witnessing the reverse of what happened at the end of the 19th century. Whereas public health concerns have led to the establishment of sewage systems detaching urban water from sensory experience, disconnection of rainwater means a reconnecting with sensory experience and dismantling of the sewage system, due to environmental considerations. But besides environmental considerations, a range of other rationalities plays a role. We are witnessing the contours of an ongoing water transition, however, whether this transition can be labeled an ‘environmental’ transition can only be judged afterwards.

4.6 Conclusion This chapter has given a review of the historical development of water and wastewater systems and practices in a Western context. As a start, different theories on the development of urban infrastructures and water paradigm were reviewed. These theories were given historical empirical content in the sections that followed and enabled to get some grip on what the development of water infrastructures means from a life-world perspective. As a general line of development, the rise of modern water infrastructures is characterized by a high degree of centralization. Meanwhile, government at an

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ever higher (from the local to the European) level became involved in water policies. Although the actual patterns according to which water systems evolved are much more complex, the transition from a pre-modern to a modern age can be termed a public health transition. The second water transition described, the one from a modern into a late modern age, might turn out to become an environmental transition. We have discussed several domestic water practices. This was not an exhaustive overview, but enough to give a first exploration of relevant life-world variables. Domestic water practices can be front-stage (social distinction dominates over pure functionality) or backstage (functionality dominates over social distinction); practices can be connected to nature (composting toilet) or disconnected from nature (flushing toilet). The practice can be conceived of as a duty (laundry) or as a pleasure (bathing); sexual connotations can be strong (toilet use) or weak. Finally, these practices can be more individualized (toilet use) or more communal (washing in public washing facilities). The life-world dynamics vary over time, geographical region and between different domestic water practices. Life-world dynamics help to understand success and failure of innovations. After primary introduction, baths could be kept in the household because the providers of baths appealed to life-world considerations of end-users. When public health concerns became less urgent, the ‘Spartan’ bathroom had to be reshaped into a more decoratively furnished and designed bathroom. This kept the bathing practice in place when public health concerns had become less urgent. The early versions of the washing machine, on the other hand, did not link up with existing ‘house-wife rationalities’. This observation has significant implications for the niche management of environmental innovations in sanitation and urban water management. It suggests that niche managers always redesign system and life-world, both at the same time. They would better do this deliberately rather than accidentally. Niche managers are not only the designers of new socio-technical systems, but also the co-designers of life-worlds. Finally, this chapter has illustrated that innovation in water and wastewater management can take system as well as life-world dynamics as their starting point. The example of disconnection of rainwater illustrates hat the re-connecting of urban water to sensory experience can be seen as a socio-cultural change. A relevant question is whether such socio-cultural change outside the home would be a stepping stone for more radical changes inside the home (Hegger, Van Vliet and Mels 2005). Does it prepare different social actors, including citizenconsumers, for more radical changes yet to come?

5 Analyzing the greening of wastewater infrastructures 5.1 Introduction As the research questions formulated in chapter 1 show, this research aims to contribute to a sustainable transformation of wastewater infrastructures in Western society by studying the societal embedding of environmental innovations in wastewater infrastructures. More specifically, the aim is to develop an end-user perspective. As these research objectives ask for exploratory research a qualitative research methodology is needed. Furthermore, the main focus is on developments taking place in niches, which are by definition exceptions from the mainstream. This makes it often hard to gather quantitative data, for example when the number of people involved is relatively low. Section 5.2 discusses the overall research methodology. In section 5.3 the research strategy and a general overview of empirical cases is given justifying the set up of the two empirical chapters that follow. Section 5.4 deals with the methodology for each case study and gives an outline of the empirical chapters.

5.2 Qualitative research methodologies Case study research Two opposing research methodologies can be distinguished: the grounded theory approach (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Strauss and Corbin 1998) and the case study approach (Smith 1997; Yin 1993; 1994; 1998). Grounded theory is an inductive approach in which theory is generated from empirical data. Theory development takes place during the research and empirical facts are continuously scrutinized against the theoretical framework under construction. Within the case study approach a theoretical framework is constructed prior to data collection. Theory guides the empirical research and is used to make strategic decisions: what kind of information should be looked for and what kinds of generalizations can be made on the basis of the empirical data collected? A case is an instant or event which is examined longitudinally and in-depth (Flyvbjerg 2004). Rather than measuring a limited number of variables for a large

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sample, much information is gathered from a limited number of cases. According to Yin (1994) case study research can include quantitative evidence, relies on multiple sources of evidence and benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions. Collection of empirical data and the refinement of the theoretical framework go hand in hand and according to Flyvbjerg (2004) the case study research can be used for generating and testing hypotheses. In the current research the case study approach is used. The quest for empirical data on end-user perspectives and niche dynamics is informed and guided by theory. The theoretical concepts will be used as sensitizing concepts giving a perspective on ‘where to look’, not on ‘what to see’. This study is an embedded case study analysis. Contrary to holistic cases, within which no sub-units can be identified, embedded cases do have sub-units. The empirical subject of research is niche-based innovation in wastewater infrastructures. Based on the conceptual model two categories of cases have been identified: expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments. Each of these categories comprises several individual pilot projects. Niche-based innovation in wastewater infrastructures Niche projects by definition do not represent the whole domain of wastewater infrastructures as they are deliberate exceptions from the mainstream. What makes them interesting is that in niches it is possible to alter features of wastewater infrastructures with a high degree of taken-for-grantedness. Besides the sociotechnical changes that actually take place, the changes that do not take place although they would theoretically be possible are of interest. These non-practiced options can point at innovation pathways which are currently overlooked. Likely, lessons from the study of niche-based innovation in the wastewater field are also applicable to other empirical domains such as housing, mobility, or other systems of provision. Niche-based innovation in wastewater infrastructures is operationalised as the planning, realization, dwelling and maintaining of pilot projects with technological environmental innovations in wastewater infrastructures. This operationalisation deliberately does not include the criterion that initiators of pilot projects should have a certain aim (like ‘contributing to a transition’ or ‘making money’). The framing of goals and problem definitions and the consequences thereof are part of the empirical study rather than a case selection criterion.

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5.3 Overview of the empirical research Research strategy This study focuses on Dutch, German and Swedish pilot projects. The gathering of empirical data started in The Netherlands because of the researcher’s involvement in a multi-disciplinary project on the development and implementation of DESAR technologies in Dutch society (Hegger, Van Vliet and Spaargaren 2006). Taking Dutch cases as the starting point was a project obligation. Besides, it has the methodological advantage that in some projects participatory observation of project meetings was possible. Other Dutch, German and Swedish projects were included to compare. Germany and Sweden are ahead of The Netherlands when it comes to environmental innovation in wastewater infrastructures but they have to some extent a similar background. These three countries are all highly developed rich countries, situated in the Northwest of Europe, in which virtually all inhabitants have access to adequate sanitation. There is a high sewer connection rate (99% for The Netherlands; 95% for Germany and 85% for Sweden; (Eurostat 2004)) and no absolute water scarcity. Besides this in-depth research of some selected pilot projects, also an inventory of pilot projects has been made. Inventory of pilot projects The overview includes pilot projects aimed at source-oriented collection and local treatment of wastewater, but also past Dutch experiments with ‘disconnection of rainwater’ and ‘household-water’. Appendix 1 depicts only the pilot projects in which innovation in domestic wastewater management takes place. These are the pilot projects that usually feature in inventories of scholars and practitioners in which they are referred to as pilot projects in ‘Decentralized Sanitation and Reuse’; ‘Ecological Sanitation’; ‘New Sanitation’ or otherwise (see: www2.gtz.de/ecosan/english/publications-GTZ-projectdatasheets.html; www.oekosiedlungen.de; Mels, Zeeman and Bisschops (2005); Raman et al. (1998); Municipality of Berlin (2003)). These pilot projects are candidates for in-depth research. Appendix 2 gives a broader overview of pilot projects. This appendix includes the projects listed in appendix 1 as well as other projects, dealing with several forms of innovation in urban water management. Included were projects experimenting with ‘household-water’; ‘disconnection of rainwater’; and ‘local wastewater management in office buildings’. The overview in appendix 1 gives the scores for the strategic variables identified in chapter three: technical scale, degree of differentiation of water flows, management scale, in-use involvement, degree of choice and citizen-participation.

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The scores for the variables show three general distinctions between the pilot projects and incumbent regimes: in all projects the technical scale is relatively small; there is differentiation of wastewater flows; and all projects involve some extra in-use involvement compared to conventional systems. Expert-led vs. citizen-consumer driven experiments The main difference between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments is the degree of citizen-participation in the planning phase (and to a lesser extent the degree of in-use involvement). The relative scores on the variables are graphically depicted in appendix 3. Most expert-led experiments are new residential areas, although some retrofitting in existing housing stock also occurs. They are all modernized mixtures since their management scale, differentiation of water flows and degree of in-use involvement differs from conventional systems. They resemble conventional systems as citizen-participation and degree of choice for residents is limited. Some cases are a-typical. The Skogaberg project involves no extra in-use involvement for end-users. The same holds for the AKWA 2100, DEUS 21 and Knittlingen project, but in these projects there is also differentiation between technical scale and management scale; and more choice for citizen-consumers. The citizen-consumer driven experiments are all eco-villages. Like most expertled experiments they involve semi-decentralized technologies. There is more citizen-participation and often more in-use involvement. A small number of projects can really be termed alternative systems. Their technical scale is the lowest one possible (household level) and end-users are maximally involved in the management of the system. The Waterland project is a-typical as maximal participation of citizen-consumers is combined with limited choice for them in the actual use phase of the project. This quick-scan of cases illustrates that the main difference between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments is the role of end-users. Besides the differences between the two types of projects, there are also a-typical cases and sub-categories within the two categories. These can stand for prototypes of possible innovation routes (albeit not the most obvious ones) and can be considered unique cases. Case selection The cases Rustenburg Wageningen; Stroomdal Emmen and Lemmerweg-Oost Sneek were part of the EET-DESAR project and were for that reason included in the analysis. They are all expert-led experiments. They were complemented with three other expert-led experiments: Oeko-Technik-Park, Blackwater Skogaberg and

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AKWA2100. Together, these cases represent the different socio-technical constellations observable within expert-led experiments. The Rustenburg, Stroomdal, Sneek and Oeko-Technik-Park projects can be seen as paradigmatic cases representing a range of other expert-led experiments. The Skogaberg and AKWA 2100 projects are both unique cases. The projects EVA-Lanxmeer, Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten and Waterland Groningen provide a cross-section of the citizen-consumer driven experiments and were selected for that reason. By selecting these cases, a range of socio-technical configurations is included in the in-depth research (see appendix 3). Furthermore, the selected projects cover different project phases (planning, realization, use and maintenance). The Lemmerweg-Oost, AKWA 2100 and Skogaberg projects are relatively new. At the time the empirical research was carried out (July 2004-October 2006) these projects made the shift from the realization phase towards the actual use phase. Some older cases (Oeko-Technik-Park; Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten; Waterland; EVALanxmeer) made it possible to find information about what happens if a pilot project has existed for some time. The choice for a qualitative, in-depth analysis of pilot projects implies that the researcher cannot always follow the ideal strategy of selecting cases on the basis of the theoretical starting point only: the availability of empirical material becomes a case selection criterion as well. In the EET-DESAR projects triangulation of methods was possible (interviewing, participatory observation, document research) which is a strong argument for inclusion of these cases. Another reason why this research sometimes necessitated the researcher to ‘run after’ the developments going on has to do with the empirical subject: innovation in niches. Niche developments are ‘hot’ and rapidly moving developments. When following the actual developments, it was often hard to predict what would happen (e.g. whether or not a certain pilot project would actually be implemented). Nevertheless, the selected cases seem to adequately represent the empirical subject.

5.4 Data collection methods and outline of the empirical chapters Data collection methods The applied data collection methods were desk research, participatory observation, site visits and qualitative interviews with providers and end-users. A detailed methodology for each case study is given in appendix 4.

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In the projects in which participatory observation took place, the current research may have influenced the course of affairs in the projects. Preliminary findings were presented to the actually involved actors on a number of plenary meetings and in informal talks. In the case of the Lemmerweg-Oost project the researcher once consulted the involved housing corporations about the information strategy to inform the future residents. This interaction enabled the gathering of information that could not be collected otherwise. It did not decisively influence the course of affairs in these projects though, since this interaction took place when crucial decisions had already been taken29. As the empirical research took sensitizing concepts as its starting point, qualitative semi-structured interviews with providers and consumers were used. Within the provider interviews, it was explicitly mentioned to the interviewees that they were interviewed in their role as expert. The provider and consumer interviews focused on the opinions of the interviewees, although the provider interviews were sometimes used to retrieve factual information that could not be collected otherwise. In some citizen-consumer driven experiments the boundary between ‘provider’ and ‘consumer’ was unclear, as some end-users were also part of the project team. In those cases ‘provider’ and ‘consumer’ questions were combined. During the provider interviews, the interviewees generally took on the role of ‘project ambassador’ and it was often a challenge to get behind PR-stories. Also the residents were generally eager to participate. They often wanted to share their feelings (sometimes frustrations). The provider interviews lasted one hour on average (longer if the interviewee allowed to). They were tape-recorded and summarized. The consumer interviews lasted half an hour, were summarized but not tape-recorded30. Organization of the empirical argument The next two chapters present the result of the empirical research (the expert-led experiments in chapter 6; the citizen-consumer driven experiments in chapter 7). The cases selected for in-depth research form the read thread of the empirical argument. The cases for which most empirical material was gathered are discussed first; the cases that follow are then discussed as a reference. Text boxes will be used to highlight links with other cases that were not studied in depth and to elaborate on information on the role of several institutions in pilot projects (and their (mis)fit with conventional practices). Also links with broader debates about sustainable housing and sustainable dwelling will be indicated.

6

Expert-led experiments in wastewater management

6.1 Introduction Most pilot projects experimenting with radical innovation in sanitation in a domestic setting are of a relatively recent date. Some projects were started at the beginning of the 1990s, but most of them were set up at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. To some extent they are the successors of earlier experiments with less path breaking technologies in the home, such as water saving taps and showerheads, and with disconnection of rainwater from the sewage system. The focus of the current chapter is on expert-led experiments. Wastewater innovations are applied in the built environment, mostly in new residential areas (although some retrofitting in existing housing stock takes place). The chapter combines an analysis of six individual pilot projects with a broader review of scientific and grey literature dealing with pilot projects in sanitation, and broader debates on sustainable housing and sustainable dwelling in general. Section 6.2 introduces the selected pilot projects and – if applicable – the broader research programs in which they are embedded. In section 6.3 the sensitizing concepts of trust and identity are used to better understand the processes taking place in these projects. Section 6.4 concludes by formulating lessons of expert-led experiments: to what extent do they help us to understand the processes taking place in wastewater infrastructures, and what is their contribution to regime change?

6.2 A selection of pilot projects and their background 6.2.1 The Rustenburg Wageningen project The Rustenburg Wageningen project (and other projects in Emmen, Sneek, Swichum and Kornwerderzand) is part of the EET-DESAR project. This Dutch research program aims at radical innovation in sanitation and wastewater infrastructures. The main idea behind DESAR (Decentralized Sanitation and Reuse) is that water, energy and nutrients are resources in an ecological loop. An

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inherent feature of contemporary wastewater infrastructures – so goes the argument – is that this ecological loop is broken. Centralized collection and treatment of wastewater means that the useful value of nutrients (phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen) is for a large part lost while drinking water consumption is unnecessarily high. DESAR technologies aim to close this loop by minimisation of water consumption, recovery of nutrients from human waste and by energy production (using anaerobic digestion)31. The project is carried out within the framework of an innovation program – funded by the Dutch government – called EET (Dutch abbreviation which stands for: EconomyEcologyTechnology). The EET program aims to stimulate and support long-term projects aimed at technological breakthroughs that will generate substantial economic and ecological profit. The basic idea of the EET-DESAR project (and other EET-funded projects) was to combine fundamental research and development with actual implementation of new technologies in pilot projects. The sub-department of environmental technology of Wageningen University initiated this research project. Most of the fundamental R&D was carried out by technologically oriented research departments (chemical/environmental engineering). Besides these research institutions, several other institutions were involved in the (efforts to) set up a pilot project: Waterboards, municipalities, housing corporations, project developers and private firms. In the case of the EET-DESAR project this actual implementation turned out to be a complicated affair. Several pilot projects (Swichum – a small village in the North of the Netherlands; Wageningen – in the middle of the Netherlands – and Emmen – also in the north) were cancelled during their planning phase. At the moment two new projects are running. In a new residential area in Sneek (in the North of The Netherlands) the black water of thirty-two houses is separately collected through vacuum toilets and the collected black water is treated with an UASB septic tank. The residents moved into their houses from June 2006 onwards. Another project, in the Kornwerderzand village, also in the North of the Netherlands, is in preparation. In this project, on site treatment of black water on the scale of fourteen private houses has been planned, using the ‘improved septic tank’ technology which was originally envisaged for the Swichum location. At the time of writing, negotiations for a larger follow-up project in Sneek are running. Actors involved The sub-department of environmental technology at Wageningen University took the lead to set up a system for local collection and treatment of black water in the Rustenburg area, a new to built residential area in the city of Wageningen. A local

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city alderman brought these environmental engineers into contact with the parties involved in setting up new apartment buildings in this area. After some exploratory talks it was decided to set up a public/private consortium in which the municipality, the project developer, the environmental engineers and two firms were involved. Approach followed within the project The original plan was to build vacuum toilets in twenty apartments which were to be built in Wageningen and to apply anaerobic digestion of the black water of these twenty buildings collectively. The technological outlook of the system was explicitly defined in terms of the technologies that had to be implemented and tested within the project. The project proposal stated that it is a technological demonstration project and that – in a timeframe of two years – vacuum toilets and anaerobic treatment systems had to be tested within the project (Van Vliet and Stein 2004). During the planning stage of the project the involved project developer and the municipality of Wageningen disengaged from the project. The project developer had been chosen by the municipality of Wageningen before the other EET-DESAR partners became involved in the plans to set up a new building area in Wageningen. This project developer was critical about the project and expressed fear of problems with smell and noise which were played down by the environmental engineers (ibid). Furthermore, the proposed technological options did not fit the rationality of the project developer, who stated that the houses are relatively expensive private apartments (price at least 265.000 Euros – www.bemog.nl) and that the residents should be given the opportunity to choose between different types of toilets, while there was only one version of the proposed DESAR vacuum toilet (ONSS 2006). This project developer would, however, be the main risk taker in financial terms because it financed the apartments in the first place. It was thus rational for the project developer to object to any alteration of the building which – according to this developer’s rationality – could have a negative influence on the prices of the houses. According to the assessment of the project developer, there was a too high financial risk. Also the municipality of Wageningen had serious doubts about the project. It turned out that the employees of the municipality’s ‘Public Works’ department did not share the commitment initially expressed by the local city alderman. An important reason for the municipality to disengage from the project was that there were no arrangements regarding wastewater collection and treatment after termination of the experiments (ibid). The DESAR project had a very strict time horizon: in 2001, at the beginning, the project was expected to end in 2006 and the

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extra financial resources stemming from the EET funding would end by then. Because clear management arrangements for the period after 2006 were not in place, the municipality feared that it would be responsible, by then, for a system which they were relatively unfamiliar with. This distrust was probably enhanced by the attitude of the supplier of the digestion tanks, who turned out to be only interested in installing this system and not in its maintenance. It was stated that this maintenance is something ‘every local plumber can deal with’ (Van Vliet and Stein 2004). In the end, both the project developer and the municipality indicated that they wanted to quit the project. The plans to realize a DESAR system in the Wageningen Rustenburg area had failed and another project location had to be found. 6.2.2 The Stroomdal Emmen project After the Rustenburg Wageningen project backfired, the parties involved in the EET-DESAR project found another new building area to connect their plans with, the Stroomdal area in Schoonebeek. In 1994 the Schoonebeek village was an independent municipality planning to set up a new building area. The provincial government, in charge of issuing building permits, would only allow this when ‘above average’ attention was given to ‘sustainable development’. Even before the DESAR project team became involved, decentralized wastewater treatment had been put on the agenda of the project. In 1997 there was the intention to include a biological water treatment facility (a so-called ‘living machine’) in the project. In 2001, however, the water board indicated that they preferred a local membrane reactor, because this was deemed a more innovative system. The spatial zoning plan of the project (2002) includes possibilities for decentralized wastewater treatment (Mels, Zeeman and Bisschops 2005). Actors involved In this stage the Stroomdal project was linked to the DESAR consortium. In 2003 a steering committee and a project team were established. The project team worked out four different scenarios for the sanitation and wastewater system. Ultimately, however, the steering committee of the project objected to the establishment of a local wastewater treatment facility altogether. This meant that no local treatment of domestic wastewater would be implemented, but – instead – the option of a connection to an ‘ordinary’ wastewater treatment plant. This decision of the steering committee was for a large part based on the advices of members of the project team (consisting of the municipality of Emmen, two consulting firms and

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the local Waterboard), of which some members had objections to the plans for local wastewater treatment. The municipality of Emmen had various serious doubts about the implementation of decentralized sanitation technology in the Stroomdal project. These doubts had to do with the technologies that were planned, but also with the expected future behavior of the (by then unknown) residents as well as with the management of the technological system and the general economic situation (in 2004 The Netherlands were in an economic recession). As a public party involved in this project the municipality feared that their inhabitants would hold them responsible for wasting large sums of ‘public money’ in a ‘too innovative’ project, in a difficult economic period. Approach followed within the project The project description of the Stroomdal project (1st June, 2004) states that the residents ‘should not experience any disadvantages compared to the conventional way of waste collection and treatment’. Nevertheless, some persons involved in the project saw the proposed technologies as too disruptive to implement them. The following quote of an employee of an involved consulting company illustrates this: ‘Within these kinds of projects, I think as much as I can from the point of view of a project developer. I want to be able to sell my plot. So you may do some additions that are comfortable, nice, positive, but I am also aware that the buyers of those houses … they do not want to have too many problems. So a separation toilet with a vacuum sewer is not so handy from my point of view, although well explicable from a technological point of view. But when I have to sell the houses, then I consider this just too complex (…) I welcome each innovation, as long as the consumer does not know about it and does not notice it. I am convinced … all improvements are possible: only at that spot (toilet) and at that moment you must not have to do or leave anything for it. One must not want to change the defecate-and-pee behavior of humans, because that is how the consumers think about it and this is a consumer product.’32 The head of the ‘sewage and water management’ department of the municipality of Emmen was one of the members of the project team. He stated that it was already difficult to sell the houses in the project due to the economic recession and he also turned out to be skeptical about the vacuum system with which part of the houses would be equipped. His employees thought that inhabitants would add chlorine and other substances to flush and clean the toilet, ‘because a toilet cannot function with only a low amount of water’. According to an employee of the

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municipality of Emmen, spending a relatively large amount of money on a malfunctioning system would appear to be ‘hobbyism’ and therefore it was not possible ‘to justify this behavior towards the citizens of the municipality’33. This statement of the head of the sewage and water department is even more illustratively worded by one of his colleagues: ‘The Waterboard says for example: we want the yellow water, but no flushing-water may be added. So you need a toilet without flushing-water. Yeah, guys, isn’t that impossible?! Isn’t that impossible? Those kinds of things. Or the black water… only one liter may be added. What we have to be aware of (…) people will use cleaning stuff (…) and then they will add a bucket of water (…) we have to be aware of that, or build the system in such a way that it can deal with this [behavior, DH].’34 Another reason for doubt from the part of the municipality, just like in the project in Wageningen, was uncertainty about the management of the system. The sewage and water department feared that – after a five year probation period – the municipality would be responsible for the management of the vacuum system, without having achieved the necessary (maintenance and repair) skills by that time. Besides this distrust of the municipality another complicating factor in the Stroomdal project was the complex project structure. There was a wide range of parties with often (partly) competing interests which could not be reconciled in the end. One of the consulting companies participating in the project mentioned that the DESAR consortium was a negative factor in this respect35: ‘the most innovative system would have to be installed and the project should be linked with a number of PhD research projects.’ In short, the project team felt too much pressure to build a system which was deemed ‘unrealistic’. Furthermore, the involvement of many different parties has led to an ‘uncontrollable’ social structure. As an employee of another consulting company puts it: ‘Because of the involvement of so many parties, it takes a lot of time to deal with this project. But because you try to be the spider in the web, it takes you more time than you can imagine beforehand. So it takes a lot of time to realize such a project. That puts pressure on the budget, and on the budget of the project itself. (…) I think the biggest threat [for the project, DH] is that there is no kind of ‘umbrella’ for the whole project (…) I think there should be an arrangement that serves as an umbrella for a project [like Stroomdal, DH] in which each party takes some risk and each party says ‘Well, this is

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the limit for us, no more than that’ (…) This helps because … I do not know if you should call it a warranty, because than they say ‘they cannot finance it themselves’, but I think it is stimulating if one party says: ‘we find it important that it really succeeds.’36 Besides these struggles internal to the project team there were also struggles with the residents of other parts of the Schoonebeek village, who would become neighbors of the new residential area. Some of these neighbors had serious objections against the project. This became very clear during a stakeholder workshop organized by one of the involved consulting companies. This workshop had been set up for two reasons: first, it was acknowledged that the planned innovations would imply large changes for the future inhabitants and for the other parties involved. A goal was therefore to investigate what attitudes the project team members, some potential residents as well as scientific institutes had with regard to the system. Also, this workshop was a way to create a dialogue with the residents of some neighboring areas (who radically opposed the idea of a treatment plant in their backyard) and to look for ways to settle the conflict. During the stakeholder workshop (Report of workshop 2003), the people present were able to indicate their ‘dreams and nightmares’ with regard to local wastewater treatment in the neighborhood. It became clear that the opposing neighbors mistakenly thought that the treatment facility would be an eight meters high factory. When it was explained that the facility would be much lower, their opposition decreased. Nevertheless, the workshop showed that there still existed a conflict about the visibility of the system, as can be read in the report of the workshop (2003) in which all the ‘dreams and nightmares’ of the people present at the workshop were listed. On the one hand, people indicated (anonymously) that ‘the wastewater treatment facility may be conspicuous’ and ‘everyone in The Netherlands may come and watch/it will be a magnificent piece of art’. On the other hand, it was indicated that ‘the installation should be invisible/not a large construction’ and preferably ‘no busses full of Japanese people’ should come and watch the facility37 38. This stakeholder workshop was the only moment in which the project team had the opportunity to learn something about the opinions and rationalities of the future residents and their neighbors. The information about them was in fact relatively limited. Nevertheless, actors within the network of provision did not refrain from giving their opinions/assumptions about the future residents of the project, as the following quote of an employee of the sewage and water department of the municipality of Emmen illustrates:

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‘It is a very ambitious concept, but … you live in an ordinary village in Drenthe (Dutch province, DH) and the people in Schoonebeek just want to buy a nice house and have a fine life in it. The people in Schoonebeek are not so involved in those kinds of things (environmental issues, DH). And as a municipality, you may want to do a lot, but it has to be realizable.’39 The quote above illustrates that the cancellation of the Stroomdal project is due to more than economic and institutional factors alone. The interviewed actors saw the negative economic situation combined with budgeting problems as the major failfactors for the project. Also the involvement of a large number of institutional actors was frequently pointed at. It is telling that in this ‘unfavorable climate’ the proposed environmental innovations were seen as threats for the project and not as opportunities. In fact issues of trust and identity played a major role. Several of the involved actors – of which the municipality was the most outspoken party – distrusted the future residents which were deemed unable to use the innovations ‘in the right way’. Furthermore, from the point of view of the municipality and the neighboring residents, these innovations have a negative symbolic meaning: ‘a factory in our backyard’; ‘a waste of precious public money’. It is impossible to tell with hindsight whether the project would have succeeded if there had been trust instead of distrust and if the proposed innovations had had a positive instead of a negative symbolic value. We can, however, say that not all involved parties really wanted the project to succeed. Box 6.1: Planning and realization of new building areas in The Netherlands The planning and realization of new building areas usually involves a wide range of institutional actors. Municipalities are always involved. In most cases they are the initiator of a new building project in a certain area. Sometimes the municipality is the owner of this area. In those cases the municipality selects a project developer which is allowed to develop the project. In other cases the area is already owned by a project developer. In both cases the project developer has to negotiate with the municipality about the essential preconditions for the project (such as the number of private vs. rental dwellings; the amount of parking space; the amount of playground for children; the required energy efficiency of the houses). The project developer is generally the owner of the project during the realization phase of the project and finances the houses in the first place, making the project

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developer the main risk taker and a powerful player with bargaining power vis-àvis the municipality. The project-developer-role is often carried out by private firms only, but in an increasing number of cases it is a public private partnership between the municipality and several private parties. Occasionally – in case of special projects – the municipality takes on the project developer role itself. The project developer generally hires consulting companies, architects and subcontractors in the planning and realization phase of the project. As a commercial party, the project developer will critically assess whether new developments (such as the implementation of decentralized sanitation technology) can be sold to its customers, the future owners of the houses. After realization, the dwellings – and in most cases also the ground on which they have been built – are sold to housing corporations or private house owners. The municipality remains the owner of the physical infrastructure (roads, sewage system) and the public green areas in the neighborhood. The residents of a new building area mostly enter the stage when the houses are about to be rented or sold, although the project developer sometimes uses marketing research in an early stage to find out about the specific preferences of their target group. In some cases these residents are the initiators of a project and establish a residents’ association. Examples of such citizen initiatives can be found in chapter 7. Real estate agents and housing corporations are most often the residents’ access point (Giddens 1990) to the network of providers setting up the new building area. Before renting or selling the houses they are obliged to give potential residents all information which they know and which is relevant for the residents. This makes their role a crucial one, especially because they are to some extent the judge deciding about the relevance of certain information (in case the information is not specified in law). Waterboards also play a role in the planning and realization of new building projects. These institutions nowadays have to be involved in an early stage of the planning process (Rijkswaterstaat 1998) to deliberate water management issues in the area (e.g. ground water level). Furthermore the Waterboard is legally responsible for wastewater treatment. In case of local wastewater treatment there is a special situation because then wastewater is discharged on local water bodies (ditches, canals) for which water quality the Waterboard is responsible. To discharge treated wastewater to these surface water bodies a permit is required and it is the Water Board’s responsibility (not) to issue this permit.

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6.2.3 The Lemmerweg-Oost project in Sneek After Wageningen Rustenburg and Stroomdal Emmen, the Lemmerweg-Oost project in Sneek was the third effort – within the framework of the EET-DESAR project – to implement a vacuum sewer system and anaerobic treatment of black water. The project in Sneek aims to test the combination of a vacuum sewage system and anaerobic black-water treatment in a group of 32 newly built houses in a residential area in the municipality of Sneek to achieve the necessary experience to implement this technological concept on a larger scale later (project plan). If for any reason the system is considered unfeasible, it is possible to replace the vacuum toilets with conventional ones and to connect them to the conventional sewage system which is also in place. Actors involved The environmental engineers started to collaborate with a company specialized in sewage and wastewater treatment technologies; a supplier of vacuum systems; the municipality of Sneek; two local housing corporations; and the local Water Board.

Figure 6.1: Left: entrance of the neighborhood; centre: toilet in one of the houses; right: wastewater treatment in a garage in the neighborhood (source: Brendo Meulman)

Approach followed within the project At the end of 2004, the project phase started with project meetings. Until early 2006, the planning process has been dominated by cooperation between the small circles of institutional actors involved in the project. The building and actual implementation of the environmental technologies was completed in June 2006. Contrary to the projects in Wageningen and Emmen some degree of network building had taken place in the course of the years. Several of the actors involved in the project in Sneek either had experience in collaborating with each other through the Frisian Water Alliance (www.wateralliance.nl40) whereas other actors

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(the environmental engineers as well as the supplier of vacuum systems) were involved in the earlier (failed) EET-DESAR projects. These existing networks and acknowledged shared interest in developing more sustainable wastewater management systems have made it considerably easier to reach consensus over the goals of the project and to reach the actual implementation phase. Based on the experiences in the previous projects, especially the one in Emmen, it was decided to keep the network of actors as small as possible to avoid clashes of interests. Another difference is that the future management of the technological system has been taken up as a serious issue early in the planning process. The project team deliberately decided to maintain the same division of tasks and responsibilities (between institutional actors) as is the case in conventional residential areas. That is, the municipality is responsible for wastewater collection, the Waterboard is responsible for treatment of the collected material and the residents are ‘passive’ users of the technological system. This is an important difference with the earlier projects, in which the management structure of the system was almost ‘forgotten’. In comparison, it is a major step forward that the social structure of the project is deliberately experimented with. One aspect is similar to the earlier – cancelled – EET-DESAR pilot projects: there is a very strict time horizon. The deadline of the EET-DESAR project had been extended to 1st August 2007. This was a strict deadline though, as after this date, co-financing from the EET program would end. At the time of writing, the program team is still deciding what will happen with the DESAR system and its management after this date. An important consideration is that the project leader is one of the residents in the project. A special permission of the housing corporations was necessary to allow him to live within this area; it is uncertain how long this ‘special situation’ can be continued. Another crucial factor, according to members of the project team, is the degree of satisfaction of the other residents with the system. However, large investments in the system have been made, so it would in principle be a waste of money to deconstruct the system. The main interest which the municipality of Sneek has in the project is to promote itself as a progressive municipality contributing to sustainable development. Sneek promotes itself as a ‘water city’ and through the EET-DESAR project tries to contribute to solutions to deal with the regulations stemming from the EU Water Framework Directive and the Kyoto Protocol (press release, 2006). Both housing corporations involved expect that considerations of water and energy efficiency will become increasingly important selection criteria for house seekers and see the pilot project as a way to promote themselves as progressive housing corporations (ibid).

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The inhabitants became involved shortly before they moved into their houses. The actors involved in the provider network of the project see the changes related to the new sanitation system as relatively minor changes which do not influence the day-to-day routines of the inhabitants too much. At several project meetings – November 2005-January 2006 – it was stated that ‘the presence of innovative wastewater technologies in the houses should not be stressed too much, at least not more than necessary’. The residents received information about the implemented innovations at two occasions: in a plenary meeting for all new residents the sanitary system was explained to them (as part of the whole process of informing the inhabitants about their new dwelling). Also at the moment the inhabitants received the key of their new house the sanitary system was included in the information procedure. The residents were told that the vacuum toilets in their houses are part of an innovative sanitation system and that this system requires some minor changes in the way in which the toilet should be cleaned (e.g. using detergents without bleaching agents). To stimulate the inhabitants to use the right detergents, a stock of detergents was given to them at the moment they received the key of their houses (together with a list of detergents that may/may not be used to clean the toilet). Another aspect of this information strategy is that the, perceived, advantages of the new sanitation system (for the inhabitants) are stressed. According to the project team the main advantage for the inhabitants of this specific project is their savings on the water bill (which were estimated to be approximately 50 euros a year). It was expected that the inhabitants are a relatively low income group and that this is a relatively high saving for these inhabitants. At one of the information meetings the expected reduction in water use was illustrated to these inhabitants with bottles of water: ‘six bottles are needed to flush a conventional toilet, only one is needed to flush this vacuum toilet’. It is important to note that the majority of the residents of the project in Sneek previously rented other houses from the same housing corporation, houses which will be demolished. The residents of these old residential areas could choose between three new residential areas within the borders of the Sneek municipality, one of which is the Lemmerweg-Oost project in which DESAR systems are applied. However, the residents did not deliberately choose (or not choose) for a DESAR system. At the time the residents had to make a decision, it was still uncertain whether the DESAR system would be implemented in the LemmerwegOost project and the residents were unaware of the plans of the project team, so the choice in favor of (or against) a DESAR system did not influence their decision.

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In fact the actors within the provider network trusted the residents more than was the case in the Wageningen Rustenburg and Stroomdal Emmen project. Contrary to these two projects, the provider actors saw the environmental innovations as only minor changes which do not bother the residents too much, as the choice in favor of (or against) a DESAR system was deemed irrelevant for these residents. Perspectives of the residents in the project Most of the residents moved into their new houses in summer (July) 2006. Eighteen of the thirty two households were interviewed, in October 2006, to find out about their first experiences with the new sanitation system. At the moment of interviewing, there were problems with noise of the vacuum toilets. All of the interviewees reported that the vacuum toilets make much noise, which is generally seen as a disadvantage of the system. When asked about their opinion of the vacuum toilets, some interviewees spontaneously mentioned that they do not flush their toilet at night because they do not want to wake their family members or their neighbors. Others state that their children have serious problems with the vacuum toilets: these children do not dare to use the toilet, they do not dare to flush or they do flush but it makes them anxious. At the time of writing, the project team is still looking for ways to reduce these noise problems. Before the interviews had been carried out, several members of the project team expected that the residents are generally negative about the DESAR system as a whole, because of these noise problems. However, the results of the interviews show a different picture. Only four of the eighteen interviewees indicate that they will opt for a conventional toilet rather than the DESAR system if the choice between the two is offered to them now. The other residents indicate that they will opt for the vacuum system if the noise is reduced; or they are in doubt. A small majority of the interviewees indicates that they will opt for the DESAR system anyway41. Given the persistent and pervasive nature of the noise problems, the residents are in majority remarkably favorable towards the new sanitation system. When inspected more closely, it shows that there is a divide between the majority of the residents which is positive about the system and the minority which is negative. The negative (opt for conventional system) group unanimously mentions the noise problem as the main reason for their answer, although one interviewee indicates that she thinks that the vacuum toilet is unhygienic which is a secondary reason for her to be negative. Although the respondents who would opt for the conventional system are generally consistent in their negative answers, we can see some interesting exceptions when we look in some detail at the answers of these interviewees to some propositions. Counter intuitively, some of the negative interviewees

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disagree with the proposition that ‘they better had chosen another neighborhood to experiment with these toilets’, agree with ‘they should have this system everywhere’ and disagree with ‘this system is nonsense, please act normally’. A possible interpretation of these answers is that at least part of the residents makes a distinction between their own interest (they see the innovation as something bad for themselves and would not have opted for it if they had had the choice) on the one hand and concerns about sustainable development and the interests of society as a whole on the other hand. In other words, environmental concerns play a role in their judgment of the innovations. The interviewee who disagrees with the proposition ‘they had better chosen another neighborhood to experiment with these toilets’ explains that: ‘well, at least they should experiment somewhere’. Not only do some residents distinguish ‘self-interest’ from the interest of ‘society at large’, they also seem to believe that the institutional actors involved in the project team genuinely want to contribute to these interests of ‘society’ and that it is legitimate to make some residents the ‘victim’ (my formulation, DH) of this. This signals that even in case of severe problems (as judged by these residents) there can be trust in the expert systems providing a new socio-technical system. Whereas the negative interviewees mostly attribute their negativism to the noise problems, the positive group gives a more diverse set of reasons to be positive. A first reason is related to identity/distinction. Ten interviewees see the fact that their residential area receives much media attention as a ‘nice’ or ‘positive’ thing. One of the positive interviewees states that the system looks ‘modern’ and that it reminds him of other ‘modern’ things such as using vacuum toilets on board of an airplane during a flight to the holiday destination. Another motivation is that ‘we are the first area in The Netherlands where they have this system’. The interviewees were also asked to respond to the proposition: ‘I am one of the happy persons who already have the toilet of the future installed in their house’. Ten interviewees indicated that they ‘agree’ (nine times) or ‘fully agree’ (once) with this proposition. One interviewee is neutral. Part of the residents’ opinion of the technological system relates to, perceived, enhancement of domestic comfort, cleanliness and convenience. Contrary to the members of the project team, the residents do not make a distinction between a ‘DESAR’ system and a ‘conventional’ system, but between the toilet in their old house and the one in their new house: some of the mentioned advantages are related to the fact that their sanitary system is a DESAR system, but others are not. Some respondents mention the fact that the toilets are wall-mounted rather than floor-mounted as a major advantage (easier to clean the floor). Others

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mention the fact that they now have two toilets – rather than one toilet – as an advantage. One respondent mentions that the light in the bathroom switches on automatically (rather than through pressing a button). These aspects are of course not specific for (or restricted to) DESAR systems. However, other perceived advantages are specific for the new system in their house. For instance, the vacuum toilet has no ‘edge’ which is by some (three interviewees) mentioned as an advantage (easier to clean, more hygienic). However, some see it as a disadvantage because they can no longer use the toilet fresheners which they used to place under the edge of the toilet. Finally, one interviewee indicates that he finds the vacuum toilet more ‘practical’ because the water reservoir fills up quicker due to the lower water use. Ten of the interviewees mention as a disadvantage of the toilet that it should be flushed more than once to completely remove faeces from the toilet bowl. Six interviewees mention that it is more difficult to use – and to clean – the toilet brush because less water flows through the toilet, the water flow stops quicker than they were used to and ‘the hole through which everything should disappear’ is rather small. However, these aspects generally do not seem to influence the residents’ overall opinion of the toilet. Only one resident thinks these aspects make the toilet less hygienic and none of the respondents who prefer the conventional toilet over the DESAR system does so because of these aspects. Although the residents make no distinction between ‘DESAR’ systems and ‘conventional’ systems when it comes to their use and maintenance, they are generally very well aware of the fact that their sanitary system is intended to be an environmental innovation. The residents were asked to mention the advantages (from an environmental point of view) which their sanitary system is deemed to have. Unsurprisingly, seventeen out of eighteen inhabitants mentioned ‘lower water consumption’ as an important aspect: this is the aspect which the project team stressed most. Eleven respondents mention ‘biogas production’. Other aspects such as ‘recovery of nutrients’ and ‘more efficient wastewater treatment’ are less well known but the fact that at least some residents spontaneously mention them signals that the introduction of environmental innovations (in relation to the way these innovations are offered to the residents) can raise awareness42. Two residents mentioned ‘recycling of treated wastewater’ as a characteristic of the DESAR system in their neighborhood. Such recycling does not take place, but this was these residents’ interpretation of the claim of the project leader that ‘the treated wastewater is so clean that you can use it to water your garden’. We see that provider and consumer rationalities differ. The project team sees a lower water bill as the most important selling point of the sanitary system.

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Although this aspect is of importance to some residents, this importance is much smaller than the project team expected. Some residents are even skeptical about this claim that the water bill will be lower: ‘I first have to see my bill’. Some residents believe that their lower water use for flushing will be outweighed by other water consuming activities. One respondent indicates that she has started to take longer showers because of the introduction of the vacuum toilets. Another respondent mentions that she uses more water via the kitchen tap, because in the new house it takes more time to get hot water. Also some of the interviewees – some of those who indicated that they flush more often – believe that this leads to a higher total water consumption43. For the residents who are favorable towards the DESAR system water saving is not the most important part of the system. These residents find hygiene and practicality more important while some residents see their toilet system as a status symbol. To the residents the innovation is an environmental innovation, although it is for sure not the only aspect which makes these residents favorable towards the system. Other concerns play a role as well. 6.2.4 Akwa 2100 The AKWA 2100 research program (2000-2006) was a German project aimed at system innovation in wastewater infrastructures. This project had been set up to come up with solutions for several contemporary sustainability problems. The project focused on the German situation, although the project leaders acknowledge that research into new sanitation concepts is of much wider importance for developed as well as developing countries44. The main trigger to do research into new water and sanitation concepts was that generally, in Germany, management, maintenance and renovation of existing sewage systems will become a major economic and environmental challenge. The costs for renovating existing systems will amount no less than 12 billion euros in the upcoming 10-15 years. According to the project team it is far from sure that German municipalities can carry these costs (Hiessl et al. 2002). A secondary motivation was to export the knowledge and technologies generated through the project. Other pressing challenges as identified by the project team include: clogging of sewage pipes due to a too low (!) water consumption of residents; overflow of combined sewers in case of heavy rainfall; increasing discharge of hormone and medicine residues (due to increased use of medicines); the need to meet the strict norms stemming from the implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive; the need to close material substance flows (especially phosphorus and nitrogen).

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Actors involved The AKWA 2100 project was coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for system innovation. This research institute collaborated with a range of social actors: (technical, water-related and economic) university departments; the municipalities of Selm and Dortmund; consultants and private firms; EGLV (Emschergenossenschaft/Lippeverband Essen; Public Institution responsible for wastewater treatment, surface water maintenance and flood protection). Approach followed within the project The AKWA 2100 project acknowledged the major implications which radical innovation in the field of wastewater infrastructures implies, such as sunk costs problems in case of existing infrastructures, and the dominance of existing technological paradigms and technological trajectories (Dosi 1982). The project argued that a shift towards sustainable wastewater infrastructures in Germany requires system innovation. Within the research program a scenario approach was developed, consisting of, subsequently: • the development of three future scenarios for German wastewater infrastructures; • the theoretical application of these scenarios in two concrete residential areas: the Dahler Feld area in Selm and the Achern neighborhood in Dortmund; • the actual realization of one of these scenarios in the Dahler Feld area.45 The three water and sanitation scenarios formulated were: Weiter so!’ (business as usual scenario); ‘Kommunaler Wasserkreislauf’ (communal water circulation); and ‘Kleinräumige Stoffkreisläufe’ (Small-scale substance flows). The business as usual scenario would imply a connection with large-scale infrastructures in a conventional way. The communal water circulation scenario would involve an important adaptation of these infrastructures, because part of the treated wastewater would be delivered back to the households via a second piped system (with a backup connection to conventional infrastructures). The third scenario – small-scale substance flows – was the most radical one: there would be no connection to conventional infrastructures at all and water and sanitation services would be provided through systems with a small technological scale. The feasibility of any of these scenarios, judged by technological, environmental or economic criteria, were deemed to be context-specific. Characteristics of the physical environment such as the quality and quantity of water resources, the presence/absence of existing infrastructures, the number of (industrial and

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domestic) users, the amount and type of housing stock and climatic conditions are heavily influential in the case of wastewater infrastructures. For that reason the scenarios were worked out for two concrete sites with existing housing stock, Dortmund Achern and Selm Dahler Feld, which were deemed to represent many other German municipalities. The area in Dortmund is a densely populated urban area with relatively old housing stock. The area in Selm is a loosely populated area with expansion plans. A theoretical assessment of the three scenarios was made according to several criteria – environmental compatibility, flexibility, cost reduction and transferability – using a long term perspective. A time span of 150 years was taken into account. The theoretical comparison was between two transition paths: ‘Grüne Wiese’ (green meadow) and ‘Step-by-step’. The first transition path was based on the assumption that building ‘from scratch’ was possible. In the second transition path a step-by-step shift from existing to new infrastructures and buildings was taken into account. In reality only the latter scenario is realistic because existing housing stock is in place. The ‘business as usual’ scenario was deemed most cost effective in the short term, ‘communal water circulation’ the least cost efficient with the ‘small-scale substance flows’ scenario somewhere in between. However, an analysis looking beyond ‘cost efficiency’ shows another picture. Based on a long term sustainability analysis using 13 economical46, 12 social47 and 14 ecological48 criteria the small-scale substance flows scenario was deemed most preferable in economic, social and environmental terms, both for the ‘Green meadow’ and for the ‘step by step’ transition path (Hiessl et al. 2002). It was decided to work out the ‘small-scale substance flows’ scenario in more detail and to try to achieve actual implementation at the Dahler Feld area. Water and sanitation services were provided through wells and cesspits (which urgently needed replacement), and there was no existing connection with water supply and sewage systems. The Fraunhofer Institute for system innovation took the lead in deciding which technological system they deemed most feasible for the area. Installation of individual membrane bio reactors – at household level – was considered as the most efficient option, taking into account all the criteria used. The AKWA 2100 project team considered the management scale of the innovations a crucial issue to be dealt with within this project. The project team asked the residents’ opinion about the desirable scale of management. Would they prefer to carry the responsibility for the system themselves; or to have an agency manage it? The following options were offered to the inhabitants:

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• • •

every homeowner is solely responsible for his/her system (reference scenario); the wastewater system is owned by the homeowner, but operated by EGLV (river association); EGLV not only operates the system, but they are also the owner of it and engage in a ten year contracting agreement with the inhabitants.

Ultimately, 80 percent of the homeowners opted for the latter solution (presentation by Harald Hiessl, The Hague, 27th January 2005) which has therefore become the management structure of the project. Actual implementation of the systems is taking place at the moment and the systems have been running since early 2006. 6.2.5 Blackwater Skogaberg The Skogaberg area is a semi peripheral area in the municipality of Göteborg. A project developer (Egnahemsbolaget) who was planning a new building area in this district took the initiative to implement environmental innovations in this area. This project developer wanted to do ‘something’ with sustainable development and subsequently involved the municipality of Göteborg in these plans. The municipality of Göteborg has, like several other Swedish municipalities, a recycling office; an agency involved in the long term planning of systems for urban waste and water recycling49 (the Department of Sustainable Water and Waste Management). This recycling office came up with the idea to implement a system ‘to close the eco-cycle of plant nutrients’ (project plan, 2005) and therefore proposed to experiment with an innovative wastewater system.

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Figure 6.2: Impression of the Skogaberg area (pictures: DH)

Actors involved Besides the project developer who initiated the project, two departments of the municipality (the sewage and water department, and the recycling office50) were involved as decision making parties. The recycling office is a planning agency dealing with the resource recovery within the municipality, whose task it is to promote environmental innovations leading to the sustainable use of natural resources. The sewage and water department51 is the agency responsible for the proper management of the implemented systems. Approach followed within the project Both municipal departments preferred another system for wastewater collection. The Recycling Office was in favor of a vacuum sewage system, while the sewage and water department feared that they would not have the knowledge necessary to manage such a system. It was ultimately decided to implement a system in which black and grey water are separately collected, and black water is treated on a community wide scale. The implemented system is a system with two sewage pipes, one for grey water and one for black water. We can see here that the project is a combination of progressivism (in terms of ‘the environmental ambition level’) and pragmatism. The objective ‘to close the eco-cycle of plant nutrients’ was a general principle for the project, governing the decisions of the involved actors. During the planning process, this approach was followed in a pragmatic way. Technological solutions were assessed according to their feasibility and all actors in the project team had the possibility to influence the process. Ecological considerations and their feasibility were important in the planning process and the decision for the collection system (conventional sewage pipes instead of a vacuum system) illustrates that the involved actors were prepared to negotiate in order to achieve a realistic project. The inhabitants of the project were still unknown during the planning phase and would not become known until the houses had been built and sold. Also, it

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was stated that these consumers should notice the new technologies as little as possible in order ‘not to scare them off’ (52). The project team, therefore, opted for a system with as little changes in day to day practices as possible53. This project was promoted as a mainstream new building area consisting of private houses with a price of approximately 250.000 Euros, an average price in Sweden54. The project team deliberately tried to make the environmental innovations in the project as invisible as possible, because it thought that these inhabitants would otherwise be ‘scared away’ (ibid). However, some conscious awareness of the inhabitants is necessary to use the system in the right way. A separate black water sewer is used to dispose of toilet waste and domestic kitchen waste (via a food-waste disposer). To avoid clogging of the system and to ensure the quality of the sewage sludge, it is important that inhabitants do not introduce ‘harmful substances’ into this part of the system. To ensure that this does not occur, an agreement between the recycling office and the inhabitants will be made (project proposal, 2005). The residents have a list of substances which they may not throw in the toilet. Another change for the inhabitants is the introduction of food waste disposers within the households. These food waste disposers involve a new way to get rid of organic kitchen waste: instead of collection bins, a piped system is used for transportation. In the first two years of its existence the water management system in the Skogaberg area will be carried out by the Department for Sustainable Water and Waste Management. After these two years, the responsibilities for using and maintaining the sewage system and the wastewater treatment system will shift to the Water and Sewage Works department. The residents are responsible for the inhouse equipment such as toilets and pipes (Van Betuw 2005). In short, in this project the conventional division of tasks between institutional actors is maintained, with the exception that wastewater treatment is not carried out by the sewage treatment agency (co-owned by the municipality of Göteborg) but by the sewage and water department of the municipality. Interviews with the residents in the Skogaberg area suggest that the visible parts of the wastewater system do not have much impact on these residents (neither in a positive nor in a negative sense) while the sanitary system enhances the residents’ environmental concern.55 The residents consider the food-waste disposer as a luxury equipment because they see it as a more convenient and cleaner device (they do not have to take the garbage out and clean dirty garbage bins, and they have less problems with smell and flies (ibid). The residents in the Skogaberg area seem to share the providers’ view that the sanitary system in their neighborhood has relatively little impact on their daily life. These residents have to take into account that some substances may not be flushed through the toilet but, besides that, the system in their home looks like a conventional wastewater system.

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An important difference between this Swedish pilot project and several German and Dutch projects is the social landscape. Resource conservation, reuse and recycling of natural resources have been put relatively high on the (political) agenda in Sweden and the fact that some municipalities have a special agency dealing with natural resource issues signals that some degree of institutionalization of these issues has taken place. Because of this relatively wide acknowledgement of the need to reuse and recycle nutrients, nutrient recycling became a crucial driving force to get the project realized in the first place. However, also other motivations have played a role in the planning phase of the project as can be read from the ‘drivers’ and ‘barriers’ which the other involved actors mention for this specific wastewater system. The Water and Sewage Works Department of the municipality indicates that reduction of wastewater emissions and sewer overflows was an important driver for them. Another advantage which is mentioned by a consultant involved in the project is the future possibility to lower the Waterboard fee and sewage taxes. The aspect on which the involved actors seem to disagree mostly is the visibility of the water management system. For example, the Kretslopp department mentions the fact that the system looks like a conventional wastewater system as an advantage. But one of the architects involved sees the ‘not visible environmental behavior’ as a risk for this wastewater system56 (Van Betuw 2005). 6.2.6 Oeko Technik Park The Hägewiesen housing area, in Hannover’s Sahlkamp district is an existing housing area built in the 1960s. In 1992, it was decided to combine modernization of this housing area with the implementation of environmental innovations in the fields of water and energy. The main party responsible for the refurbishment project was a real estate company. A main guiding principle within the project was to test environmental technologies (both water- and energy-related) in practice (project description, 2000). In the planning phase, there was little experience with the technologies available, so it was decided to implement several technologies in the project and to find out which ones worked out well and which ones did not. The main goal of the project was to find out which environmental technologies are feasible (in ecological and economic terms) and to what extent they are compatible with the everyday-life experiences of residents. The implemented environmental innovations were related to water as well as to energy. Especially for the water-related innovations an explicit goal was to draw lessons from the project in order to apply these in newer projects. Second, the Oeko-Technik-Park aimed at education of the inhabitants within the Sahlkamp area. The decision to set

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up this project in the Sahlkamp area in Hannover had to do with the fact that this was an area with structural social problems (such as a high unemployment rate). Transforming this existing neighborhood into a sustainable housing area was a part of a refurbishment project, offering the possibility to test relatively new environmental technologies in practice and to increase the environmental consciousness of the residents. Actors involved The following institutional actors were the main parties involved in the project: • Baubecon Holding (Housing corporation); • Stadtwerke Hannover A.G., the water and energy company57; • Epiphanian Church community (church building); • Aquaplaner Ingenieurgesellschaft (a consulting firm); • Grundschule Hagewiesen (a primary school); • Stadtteilbauernhof Sahlkamp (a city farm).

Figure 6.3: Left: solar panels; middle: reed-bed filter in the middle of the neighborhood; right: reed-bed filter near city farm (pictures: DH)

Approach followed within the project The Oeko-Technik-Park project entailed the retrofitting of environmental technologies in existing housing stock. In the planning phase of the project, the project team knew who would be the residents. The image the project team had of these residents was based on stereotypical information about them. These residents were thought to belong to the lower socio-economic strata of society58. An explicit goal of the project was to educate the inhabitants about the ‘necessity to carefully deal with natural resources’59 (besides the primary objective of testing environmental wastewater technologies in practice). In the Oeko-Technik-Park, new water and wastewater technologies have been installed in four apartment buildings, a primary school, the ‘Stadtteilbauernhof Sahlkamp’ (city-quarter farm) and a church building. These technologies vary in the extent to which they imply a disruptive change in domestic practices.

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In one of the apartment buildings, a conventional sanitation system was replaced by toilets connected to a vacuum system. At the time of installation, there was experience with this technology as a water-saving solution for airplanes and trains, but there was little experience with this technology in a domestic setting. Because of this limited experience, several problems occurred, with an average frequency of once every two or three weeks (Hermann and Hesse 2002). These problems were annoying, since they implied that all residents in the building could not use the system for some time, until the problem was solved. Half of the problems could be attributed to a lack of experience with the installation of vacuum systems in a domestic setting. The other half, however, was linked to the behavior of the inhabitants. For example, some of the malfunctions were caused by cat litter, a paint roller, and sheep’s wool (ibid). These are objects which need not lead to problems with conventional toilets, but which cause troubles in vacuum toilets. An education program for the inhabitants was started and this considerably lowered the number of problems. Within the project there are various other experiments, for instance with the use of rainwater or treated grey water for toilet flushing. In some of the houses in the project special bathtubs have been installed. These bathtubs have a tank in which used bathing water is stored. Inhabitants can choose if they want to use this water for toilet flushing, or want to discharge the water to the sewage system. Furthermore, in several buildings (the Stadteilbauernhof Sahlkamp and three rental apartments belonging to the church community), urine diverting toilets have been installed. In the primary school, waterless urinals are in place. In one of the other apartment buildings, the wastewater from showers and washing machines is treated in a reed-bed filter before it is reused for toilet flushing. It was always maintained that the environmental innovations within the project had to be absolutely ‘fool-proof’. According to an interview with one of the consultants involved in the project60, there were several structural social problems and the inhabitants have a relatively low education level. This consultant states that ‘They throw everything in the toilet; if you can do it [such an experiment] here, you can do it everywhere’.

6.3 Rationalities of expert-led experiments Although sustainable wastewater technologies often form the starting point of expert-led experiments the societal embedding of sanitary solutions is at least as important as the ‘technological functioning’ of these solutions – if one can speak about such a thing as ‘technological functioning’ (vs. ‘technological failure’) at all.

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Technologies are closely intertwined with rules, regulations, institutional organization, management structures, user practices etc. Besides plain technological functioning, these ‘social’ variables are important success- and failfactors for new sanitary solutions61. 6.3.1 Approaches in expert-led experiments Although individual pilot projects differ among time and place we can identify some recurring patterns. First, the expert-led experiments introduced above are highly provider-driven. As an illustration, none of the projects (besides the AKWA 2100 project) really offers choice to the residents with regard to the sanitary innovations: these innovations are part of a package deal. Residents can only ‘opt-out’ by not buying/renting the house or moving away. Furthermore, participation in the planning phase is relatively limited. Second, within these expert-led experiments there is little experimentation with the social structure of the project, although such experimentation would have been possible in some cases. Most projects, however, keep the conventional power relations between providers and consumers of wastewater infrastructures in place. Groups of households received the same wastewater and sanitation systems (uniform provision) while the residents are approached as captive consumers. The only exception is the AKWA2100 project in which the residents were given the power to choose for their preferred power relations. To successfully apply innovative sanitation technologies in expert-led experiments, ‘technological’ actors need more than their technological expertise alone: they need (to acquire) competencies with regard to project and process management, network building and looking for win-win situations. Such competences can be seen as necessary preconditions to set up a successful project. However, ‘technological’ actors first need to become aware that such competences are needed at all. All projects need a strategic phase in which the involved actors have to collectively determine the goals of a project. This first step (becoming aware) was an important (second-order) learning experience in several projects. For example, the projects in Wageningen and Emmen were technology-driven only. The involved research institutes focused much on technological target images and their rationality was one of rational ‘means-end’ reasoning where it should have been strategic reasoning – that is finding out about the interests and rationalities of other involved actors and looking for ways to take these into account (e.g. what could be the direct interest of the project developers in Wageningen and Emmen to participate)? One of the environmental engineers involved in the projects in Wageningen and Emmen indicated that she had not

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realized beforehand that being involved in a pilot project means that she would have to carry out the job of network building62. Such blindness for the goals and interests of other actors has turned out to be a major fail-factor for pilot projects. The projects illustrate that learning processes taking place have much more to do with acquiring experience in collaboration between various stakeholders, than with learning about technologies. The EET-DESAR pilot projects also show that the environmental engineers were able to draw lessons from the failed cases and to apply them in new settings. A major issue in all EET-DESAR pilot projects is the management of the technological system and especially the question: ‘what will happen when the experiment ends?’ While this question was not addressed at all in the projects in Wageningen and Emmen, a deliberate choice with regard to the management of the system was made in the project in Sneek. These examples show that within the pilot projects second-order learning did take place. Contrary to the projects in Wageningen and Emmen (and to a lesser extent the projects in Hannover and Sneek) the AKWA 2100 and Skogaberg projects took guiding principles as their starting point: abstract and general rules of thumb, which are made more concrete during the planning phase (e.g. from ‘sustainable water concept’ via ‘local water circulation’ to ‘an MBR system at the level of individual dwellings’ (Akwa 2100 project)). Such guiding principles included very general principles (‘an integrated social and environmental sustainability approach’) but also more specific ones: ‘recycling of plant nutrients’. These principles did a good job to maintain interaction and to find out what kinds of measures are feasible in the context of the project. As opposed to that, target images seem to be feasible only if consensus about them is possible and all stakeholders have the possibility to participate in the formulation of these target images. A guiding principle approach has, however, an important consequence. It means that actors have to compromise their initial goals in order not to put the project at risk altogether. So sometimes it is not possible to apply the most innovative technology in a pilot project. It is then probably wiser to go for a lower ‘technical ambition level’ (Skogaberg) than to be forced to terminate the project. 6.3.2 The role of trust Trust, and the absence of trust, is a relevant explanatory variable within expert-led experiments. The projects in Wageningen and Emmen were cancelled because there was no trust within the project team and there were – perceived – conflicts of interests between the institutional actors within this project team. In the other

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discussed projects the actual implementation phase was reached and trust was shaped in several different ways. In all the projects discussed above a major role is played by technologically oriented actors such as research institutes, university departments, and consulting companies. These actors depend heavily on other actors. In the AKWA 2100, Selm and Stroomdal projects ‘real’ citizen-consumers entered the stage in the planning phase of the project. In the other projects, however, other institutional actors claimed to be the spokespersons of these citizens-consumers. It was mostly project developers, housing corporations and municipalities who had a tendency to represent the citizen-consumer. The ‘real’ and ‘represented’ citizen-consumer played a considerable role, as the engineers in the project had to look for ways to link up their interests (long-term sustainability, development of exportable technologies) with those of the ‘real’ and ‘represented’ citizen-consumer. Directions of trust Several directions of trust played a role: trust within provider networks; trust of citizen-consumers in the expert systems providing the innovations; and trust of institutional actors in the citizen-consumers who are supposed to use the sanitary innovation. It is tempting to attach most importance to the first form of trust. After all, the actors within the network of provision had the power to make the go/nogo decision in these pilot projects and in an initial stage the citizen-consumers who were supposed to make use of the sanitary innovations were often unknown. We have seen, however, that consumer influence through the ‘represented’ consumer often played a considerable role. Debates within project teams were often dominated by the question: ‘what will citizen-consumers think about the technology?’ and ‘how will they deal with it?’ Another point is that citizen-consumers did not direct their (dis)trust at technologies only, but at whole expert systems. Technological artefacts and their adequate functioning are an important part of these expert systems, but certainly not the only part. In some cases trust in other aspects of these expert systems even compensated for technological failure. In the case of the project in Sneek, for example, some residents indicated that they trusted their housing corporation and its good intentions, as well as the project leader living in the neighbourhood. This may have helped these residents to live with their innovations at a moment when these innovations caused many problems. Finally, trust of providers in consumers played a (mostly negative) role. In the project in Emmen, for instance, the project team assumed that the residents are unable to use the innovations in the ‘required’ way and this made the municipality of Emmen less favorable towards this sanitary system.

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Rules and resources The character of rules and resources, organized as structural properties of social systems has been an important shaper of (dis)trust. First, this relates to the roles of different actors in the pilot projects. As we have seen, within expert-led experiments the conventional relations between institutional actors were often kept in place. In most cases, these relations were much taken for granted. With the exception of the AKWA 2100 project, changes in this institutional structure were seen as a threat. In the projects in Sneek, Selm and Göteborg it was a deliberate choice not to change the management structure too much, while in the other projects this was not a choice but a taken for granted fact. The complexity of the social structure of pilot projects is related to this. The project in Emmen, for instance, had a very complex social structure as there was a wide range of actors involved. Therefore, it took much effort in terms of time and money to collaborate. A second point is the degree of institutionalization of systems. The EET-DESAR projects illustrate this. In the projects in Wageningen and Emmen, several parties had to collaborate which previously had nothing to do with each other (environmental engineers and project developer). In Sneek much more work in terms of network building had taken place at the moment the project began, making the planning process in the project considerably easier. The project in Sneek was started up after earlier efforts to implement a DESAR system in the framework of the EET-DESAR project backfired. These earlier projects were cancelled in their planning phase because of distrust of some of the ‘nontechnological’ institutional actors involved in the project. But in the Sneek project, existing networks have been connected. Several of the partners (one business firm and the governmental agencies involved in the project) are member of the Frisian Water Alliance. The environmental engineers and the supplier of vacuum systems were experienced in cooperating through the EET-DESAR project. This example illustrates that trust can be derived from institutionalization of the experimentation with sustainable wastewater technologies at a pilot scale. Furthermore, it illustrates that personal relations play a role in this: if people know each other well and see each other frequently this enables mutual understanding, lowers the chance of miscommunication and it makes cooperation easier. We are dealing with a social practice in which there is a crucial role for social network building, a time consuming activity. Within expert-led experiments a wide range of different actors, including the citizen-consumer, starts to contemplate issues which they used to take for granted. Providers start to do new things, not things which have been done many times before. The sanitation and wastewater management system of a new

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neighborhood, for example, is usually not the most important issue which project developers and housing corporations deal with. The projects in Selm and Hannover illustrate that it helps if the involved actors already have some common grounds, because there are actual problems to be solved at the project location. These pilot projects also involve changes for citizen-consumers. First, researchers and media start to pay attention to them. Researchers may want to enter their house to read the water meter or to interview them63. They are invited to symposia at which the project is promoted, or politicians and practitioners visit the neighborhood for guided tours. Willing or not, the residents become part of a demonstration project. Second, residents often participated in the pilot project. In all ‘successful’ (i.e. planned technologies are actually in place) projects at least some degree of participation took place. Minimally, this was the provision of information to the residents (in Sneek before the residents moved into their houses, in Hannover after the occurrence of problems which are related to the behavior of these residents). In the Stroomdal Emmen project the residents were actually consulted (although the number of future residents involved in the participation process was not so high). The highest degree of participation could be found in the AKWA 2100 project in which the residents had the possibility to choose for the management structure of the planned innovations. Finally, accountability of persons and institutions is of relevance. This factor contributed to the (relative) failure of the Stroomdal and Rustenburg projects, while leading to the relative success of the AKWA 2100 project. In the failed projects, responsibility for the functioning of the technological system was not clearly attributed to a party which was trusted to be capable of adequately managing the system. In the project in Selm, however, this accountability was attributed to a single party (EGLV) who managed the whole system. An important point is also the long duration of the service contract (10 years), implying that proper management of the system was ensured, even after the experimenting and researching phase would have come to an end. Another example in which accountability of persons and institutions played a positive role is the Skogaberg project. Here, the fact that a governmental agency (recycling office) was committed to the success of the project as a whole contributed to trust building. Characteristics of technologies used within social practices The characteristics of technologies used by social practices play a role in trust building. When residents actually start to use the innovations, the differences between their mind set and the ‘requirements’ of the implemented technologies

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come to the fore. In the Oeko-Technik-Park for example, the residents and the project team discovered that what residents found normal behavior leads to problems in this pilot project. In some projects (Sneek, Selm, Skogaberg) it was argued that the implemented technologies should not be ‘too radical’ in order not to scare off the future residents. Within expert-led experiments ‘radical’ technological changes are seen as a threat. Technological design sometimes disguises that technologies are ‘different’ (e.g. require conscious awareness when they are used). This factor contributes to distrust as these technologies in fact script the ‘wrong’ behavior. Characteristics of expertise within social practices Trust building within expert-led experiments was often enhanced if the involved experts were able to think ‘out of the box’ and could look beyond the border of their own discipline. The researched pilot projects illustrate that this depends on existing expertise and personal characteristics of the persons brought together in a project team, but also on their mutual familiarity and the degree of institutionalization of the social practice. In the project in Sneek, also representation of expertise to the residents was an important factor. These residents valued the fact that the project leader himself lives in the neighborhood as a positive thing64. Transparency produced within the social practices A minimal degree of participation of the residents (informing them adequately) seems necessary, because of the pilot status of projects. More wide ranging access of the residents to the provider network, however, contributes more to trust building as it makes these residents feel empowered. Furthermore, it enhances transparency towards these residents. A lack of access to the provider network can lead to rumors. For example, in Sneek some residents think that the project leader does not have to pay any rent. Such a lack of access to the provider network needs not cause any problems (in Sneek such problems could not be observed), but it poses a risk: how will such rumors work out if the project brings (new) misfortune? Neighboring residents, rather than the actual dwellers in a new building area, can be important stakeholders as well as the project in Emmen illustrates. Some neighboring residents even went to Supreme Court to prevent the building of a local wastewater treatment plant. In fact they based their decisions on the wrong information. Some residents start to make false statements, which soon become true in the eyes of the residents, at least ‘more true’ than the information coming from the project team.

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Conclusion: trust in expert-led experiments Trust within expert-led experiments can be shaped in several different ways depending upon the local context. Trust building often takes place implicitly: experimentation with technologies sometimes leads to trust, and sometimes it does not. Expert-led experiments lack purposeful experimentation with different forms of trust building. Modulation of several trust influencing factors can partly be done by the actors actually setting up the pilot project: they can negotiate which actors are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the project team, they can choose (not) to involve residents in the project, or to meet more or less often. However, many factors do not lie in their own hands only: some local governments as well as residents are more committed than others. Still, the discussion on trust has shown that much can be gained from designing the social structure of pilot projects deliberately, rather than seeing this social structure as a derivative of new technologies. 6.3.3 The role of identity The introduction of sanitary innovations means that actors become aware of the symbolic meaning they (and others) attach to new and conventional systems. Some proponents of these innovations see this visibility as a threat for their introduction and stress the negative aspects of this: they claim that these innovations should be invisible, should not involve too many changes in day-to-day activities and they should become ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. However, stressing ‘invisibility’ and ‘non-disruptiveness’ works out counter-productive. As these innovations are applied at niche level, their introduction leads to much attention from residents and media. In fact, such attention is exactly what technology developers want, because this is what can put broader implementation of these innovations on the research-and-development agenda of the not yet involved actors. So even if it were possible to achieve this ‘invisibility’ and ‘non-disruptiveness’ at the level of niche projects, one can question whether it is desirable to do so. Second, the symbolic meaning of sanitary innovations can be an important driver for these innovations enabling social actors to distinguish themselves from others or bringing a range of advantages which ‘conventional’ sanitation systems cannot bring (e.g. enhanced cleanliness; enhanced quality of the built environment). If the innovation is something which residents want, housing corporations, project developers and municipalities get an extra interest in their application. This is crucial because environmental concerns alone do not seem to sell such sanitary innovations to these actors. Thinking in terms of positive symbols makes it possible to further develop a perspective on why actors which do

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not have environmental reform as their core business would have an interest in these innovations. Related to this, the introduction of environment-induced sanitary innovations can put ‘environment’ on the agenda of citizen-consumers and thus enhance the development of an environmental rationale in a field in which there is as yet limited public concern. This is an important argument to further extend the debate on the role of identity in the introduction of sanitary innovations. Within pilot projects, meanings are attached to several artefacts: the social construction of technologies accelerates. How this social construction takes place depends on characteristics of technological artefacts; the way the innovation is brought to citizen-consumers and other actors such as project developers, housing corporations and municipalities; as well as on the role played by media, and the storytelling that goes along with the innovation. In Sneek all these factors together resulted in a situation in which the residents are relatively favourable towards the sanitary innovation, which they saw as more than an environmental innovation only (although environmental concerns certainly played a role for several residents). The project developer in the project in Wageningen on the other hand could not redefine the innovation in terms relevant for him (convenience, freedom of choice). However, rather than concluding ‘that vacuum toilets are suitable for cheap rental houses and not for expensive private apartments’ we should conclude that it is necessary that the rationalities of the buyers of such apartments are taken into account during the process of technology development if implementation in private apartments is put on the agenda again, because then it may be possible to find new ways to link the innovation to the rationalities of residents (and their representatives). Visibility of the applied artefacts varies considerably between the researched pilot projects (e.g. Sneek vs. Hannover). This visibility can be a positive point for a pilot project, especially if education/demonstration is an explicit goal of the project65. However, this visibility can also be a controversial issue (Stroomdal), leading to conflicts amongst actors within the network of provision. From a providers’ perspective, it matters whether environmental innovations fit the PR and marketing needs of housing corporations, project developers and municipalities. Do they achieve a ‘progressive’ or ‘socially-responsible’ image when they participate in the project? This played a decisive role in the projects in Sneek, Göteborg and Hannover. Also in the failed projects in Wageningen and Emmen the initial decision of the involved municipalities to participate in the project has to do with such considerations of PR and marketing. However, in these projects the ‘green’ commitment of the politicians setting up the project was not shared by their colleagues of the public works department who proclaimed that

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they are the more pragmatic people concerned with the well-being of citizenconsumers and the adequate functioning of technologies. Degree of autonomy of end-users Neither providers nor end-users aimed to create autonomy. In all projects, highly grid connected technologies formed the starting point and uniform implementation (every household the same system) was taken for granted. End-user identity to other end -users Environmental innovations in the wastewater field influence the process of identity formation of end-users vis-à-vis other end-users. In Sneek, the residents saw the sanitary innovations as something with which they could even show off. The DESAR system had become a way for the residents to distinguish themselves from others because it makes them feel progressive and modern (which these residents see as something positive). These end-users relate the innovation to other changes in their living environment which they see as improvements (new bigger house, more luxurious toilet). Several ‘provider’ actors ‘representing’ the consumer thought in terms of negative identity. In Wageningen, the imago of the proposed environmental innovations was an important fail-factor. The apartment buildings in which the innovations would be implemented are relatively expensive private apartments. The project developer did not see his ideas of what buyers of such apartments want (luxury, the possibility to choose) reflected in the proposed technological system. End-user identity as co-producer/co-manager Providers generally did not see end-users as co-producers/co-managers of innovations. They tried to let the implemented technologies resemble ‘conventional’ systems, often based on the claim that ‘the citizen-consumer should not be bothered too much’. This is often proposed as a self-evident fact, and wrongly so, because it should be subject of discussion. An important reason that sanitary innovations often resemble conventional systems is that a possible change in day-to-day practices is generally referred to in negative terms: ‘the consumer should not have to do or leave anything for it’; ‘the consumer should not notice…’ or ‘the system should not involve disadvantages for the users’. Sometimes, positive (side) effects are taken into account, but the possible negative effects dominate the discussion. In fact, some provider actors try to downplay the role of end-users as comanagers. They maintain that the changes associated with the new system are only

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minor ones and that ‘instruction notes and proper information’ will do the job of teaching the end-users the correct behavior. Others, however, state that the required changes are so radical that it is impossible ‘to sell this technology to the inhabitants’. Besides mere familiarity about the proposed innovations, this signals a (perceived) clash of interests between the professional actors involved. The opinions (‘pro’ as well as ‘contra’) often smoothly fit with the interests of an involved institutional actor in either ‘technological development’ or ‘the interests of the citizens’ (respectively)! The conventional sanitation system seems to have a strong symbolic value for many providers: invisible ‘flush and forget’ systems seem to be the standard and if this standard is ‘compromised’ this is perceived as a step in the wrong direction. End-user identity as an engaged citizen Many providers see end-users merely as passive users rather than engaged citizens. The introduction of environmental innovations in expert-led experiments, however, means that end-users often start to see themselves as such. They are sometimes willing to participate in the planning phase of project. The interviews in Sneek form a further illustration. Some residents indicate that they would like to give their opinion to the participants of the frequent guided tours in the neighborhood ‘but they are only interested in that garage (where the treatment system has been installed, DH) and no one is interested in what it means for us’. These residents in fact felt excluded from the possibility to fulfill their perceived role as a citizen. Conclusion – identity in expert-led experiments Within expert-led experiments, providers and consumers mutually influence the process of identity formation of end-users. Within the discussed experiments, this aspect is often played down, or it takes place unnoticed. If this process is acknowledged, it is often portrayed as a threat for the success of projects. The discussion on identity has shown, however, that the formation of new end-user identities related to innovation in wastewater infrastructures brings many opportunities as well. This process of identity formation should therefore become subject of deliberate experimentation.

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6.4 Expert-led experiments and their contribution to the greening of wastewater infrastructures Expert-led experiments have gained some momentum in the course of the years. Besides university departments, the ‘technologically actors’ involved in contemporary pilot projects are also consulting companies. Furthermore, media attention for such new sanitation concepts is increasing66. Expert-led experiments often have a plain focus on technologies. Their success is enhanced if other variables such as management scale or degree of choice for residents are taken into account and if the importance of negotiating processes between institutional actors were better acknowledged. The most crucial learning processes which have to take place are not related to the adequate functioning of single technologies but to the parallel development (or co-evolution) of these technologies with management arrangements, practices of residents, rules and regulations. It is necessary to look for ways to reconcile the often conflicting interests between technology developers and the actors who (claim to) represent the interests of residents. Many technology developers are gradually becoming aware of the importance of linking up with the interests of other actors. This marks a crucial step in the process of socio-technical learning because these actors have started to look beyond the boundaries of their own discipline. A major pitfall of expert-led experiments is to limit the execution to experts only. These projects bear the risk that too much emphasis is put on ‘having a real life test-bed for new technologies’ and ‘demonstrating that a technology works’. Besides that, consumer influence (through participation, offering choice or better representation) is necessary, even if experts are the initiators67. To bring this debate one step further the concepts of trust and identity are useful. If the project is expert-led only, regular interaction between different stakeholders, knowing each other, and (second-order) reflection on the PR value of artefacts for providers and the symbolic value of these artefacts for citizenconsumers are less obvious. Providing the optimal circ*mstances to enable second-order learning processes in practice is as much a responsibility of the actors setting up a pilot projects as it is the responsibility of funding agencies. The EET-DESAR projects show how funding structures both enable and constrain innovation processes. Without funding from the EET-DESAR program there would not have been a pilot project at all. However, the project team had to work under very high pressure (in terms of time and money) to get a pilot project realized and – more importantly – the aspect of technological demonstration was given much attention in the funding structure

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of the project. The actual negotiations about the ins and outs of the pilot project had to be finished before it was possible to apply for funding. The point is that such negotiating processes should be part of, rather than a prerequisite for, an innovative project. Without too much exaggeration, these negotiating processes are what these projects are all about: successful negotiating processes can contribute significantly to trust building. This implies that funding agencies should not only, financially, reward the successful application of technologies, but also successful network building, exploration of the interests of the involved actors, or awareness raising. The AKWA 2100 project provides a positive example. Here a pilot project was realized as the result of a very long preparatory phase. In fact the original goal of the project was to theoretically assess several scenarios for socio-technical change. The actual implementation of technologies in one of the researched areas took place afterwards, at a moment in which a lot of work in terms of network building had been done. This is maybe related to the fact that the AKWA 2100 program was initiated – in the first place – to deal with contemporary and future challenges in German (waste) water infrastructures. In the EET program, the question whether the goal of the project is to contribute to a transition or merely to produce an exportable technology was left open. Another crucial issue is the role of residents in these projects. The experiences from the researched pilot projects show that their participation in the planning phase is necessary. Knowledge about the (future) inhabitants of a pilot project, especially their wishes with regard to the technologies implemented in their houses makes it easier to gear the technologies to the wishes of these inhabitants. This is most notably the case when new technologies are proposed that involve conscious awareness of the inhabitants or a change in day to day routines. When the inhabitants are known, and/or are involved in the project such specific knowledge about these inhabitants can be taken into account. The importance of dealing with the role and rationalities of the residents is, however, often underestimated. The roles and rationalities of residents often did not enter the stage before municipalities and project developers started to voice the concerns of the ‘represented’ consumer (Wageningen, Emmen), or even later, when ‘real’ consumers caused problems with the implemented technologies (Hannover). Participation of these residents can counteract the general and subjective claims about ‘the citizen-consumer’ which are often used within these projects. The (future) end-users in a project are implicitly portrayed as a hom*ogeneous group, ‘with an average motivation for sustainable development’ (unless there is proof of the opposite), without taking into account possible differences (e.g. in age, gender, or lifestyles). The perceived interests of the consumer vary along with the kind of

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institutional actor that ‘gives a voice to the interests of the consumer’. In most projects, however, there is too little information available to justify the general and subjective claims that are made throughout the planning phase. One does not need to wait until technological artefacts are actually implemented in a pilot project. Much experience could have been gained before the actual use phase of the pilot projects. For example, providers can open the discussion with residents by showing them prototypes. Several problems (e.g. in Hannover) thus could have been prevented. The step from niche to regime Many actors in the field seem to believe that translation to regime level should take place in a one-to-one fashion. Socio-technical systems are experimented with at micro level, before wider application at regime level takes place. The idea of uniform provision seems to be deeply rooted. However, if one pays serious attention to the idea to translate not whole systems, but elements of these systems to regime level new possibilities enter the stage. Technologies could be offered in modules (e.g. single devices; parts of systems are offered at a collective level, while other options are decided upon by residents at an individual level). Related to this, niche experiments are the place to experiment with new management structures or other social changes. One should not strive to invent social constellations that are universally applicable, but to gain experience with a wide range of possible forms of social organization which can be applied differently in different situations.

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7 Citizen-consumer driven experiments in wastewater management 7.1 Introduction Almost halve of the pilot projects with local treatment of domestic wastewater are citizen-consumer driven experiments. Citizens’ groups and NGOs collaborate to realise pilot projects in which their ideals about what sustainable development entails are made manifest. In The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden there is a range of eco-villages in which such innovations in wastewater infrastructures are applied. This chapter analyses some of these pilot projects in more detail. Section 7.2 discusses the projects EVA-Lanxmeer Culemborg; Passivhaus Wohnen Und Arbeiten Vauban, Freiburg; and Waterland Groningen. In section 7.3 an in-depth analysis of these projects is given, using the concepts of trust and identity. Section 7.4 concludes by pointing out what the role of citizen-consumer driven experiments in innovation in wastewater management is.

7.2 A selection of pilot projects and their background 7.2.1 EVA Lanxmeer Culemborg68 Based on the initiative of the EVA foundation (an NGO aiming at environmental education of large groups in society) and the municipality of Culemborg, a new residential area has been built (from 1999 onwards) in which the concept of sustainability is dealt with in an integrated way. Besides 200 houses (of which 173 were realised at the time of writing) also office buildings have been built, while a visitors’ centre (aimed at education) is in preparation (www.eva-lanxmeer.nl).

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Figure 7.1 Impression of the EVA-Lanxmeer area (Pictures: DH)

The Lanxmeer area has a special water situation because the water company Vitens uses this area for drinking water extraction. Special measures had to be taken to prevent groundwater contamination; for example, it was not allowed to drill through the layers of clay protecting this groundwater. Sustainable water and wastewater management measures are inextricably linked to the rest of the concept behind the project. A range of water related measures has been taken: retention of rainwater; separate collection and treatment (in reed-bed filters) of wastewater from washing machine, shower and kitchen sink; separate collection of wastewater from the toilet (this water is now transported to a wastewater treatment plant but plans for local treatment in a biogas reactor are in preparation); and delivery of two different qualities of drinking water (so-called household-water). The household-water plan was ultimately cancelled: due to changes in the Dutch government’s policy with regard to household-water, using such a household-water system would require a costly monitoring and control program. Box 7.1: The total concept of the EVA-Lanxmeer project The EVA-Lanxmeer concept includes a new residential area as well as office buildings and an ‘EVA centre’ in which the principles behind the project are made visible to large groups in society (www.eva-lanxmeer.nl). In this centre water is used as an important design principle and a living machine, a biological water treatment facility, has been built for educational purposes.

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Figure 7.2: One of the hoven in the EVA-Lanxmeer area (source: Paul de Graaf).

Start-up phase of the project The initiative for the EVA-Lanxmeer project was taken by ‘Stichting EVA’, a foundation aiming to raise awareness and to enhance involvement of groups in society with (global) environmental issues (www.eva-lanxmeer.nl). This foundation saw the realization of a pilot project somewhere in the Netherlands as an important means to realize this goal. The EVA foundation was established, at the end of 1994, by Marleen Kaptein together with a group of engaged citizens. EVA is a Dutch abbreviation which stands for ‘Education, information and advice’. The core group of this foundation consists of several professionals – amongst which an architect, a landscape designer and an energy specialist – who wanted to participate in the development of this sustainable new building area. The main goal of the EVA foundation was to set up a new residential area in which it could apply its ideas about sustainability. A minimum size of 200 houses was deemed necessary to include infrastructure in the project. Also much emphasis was put on the educational side of the project, so the new building area would have to be accessible to as many interested people as possible, not only future residents. By the year 1995, after initial publicity about the goals of the EVA foundation, a group of about 80 future house buyers was formed. At that time a possible location for the project was not yet found. The foundation found a partner in the municipality of Culemborg. In the 1990s a range of ‘sustainable housing’ initiatives was already running within this municipality. The spatial planning director of the municipality was interested to collaborate with the EVA foundation but the plans for ‘again a new project’ initially were met with skepticism within the city council, which argued that previous initiatives should be finished first69. The foundation, however, managed to convince this city council. They had a network of respected experts standing behind the project, while their plans coincided with the municipality’s wish to build houses and offices in the Lanxmeer area. This site used to be reserved for groundwater extraction. The provincial government was

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prepared to issue additional building quota if the project would be a ‘sustainable’ project. Planning and realization phase of the project The partnership with the municipality of Culemborg, officially confirmed in February 1996, marks the start of the planning phase and the participation of several new parties. There was close collaboration between the Water Board (responsible for groundwater quality), the water supply company, the municipality and the municipal project bureau. This project bureau was the executing branch of the municipality: to cut down on costs the municipality decided not to delegate the project to a project developer, but to become the main commissioner of the project itself. The ‘Project Bureau’ was set up to deal with ‘all the telephone calls that would otherwise go to the city hall’70. The additional building quotas obtained from the province of Gelderland were only valid for two years. By then the first phase of fifty houses had to be built71. This put time pressure on the project and was an extra reason for the municipality to have an interest in realizing the project: if the planning phase would take too long, the building quota would expire and the new residential area would have to be cancelled. This was an important reason for the municipality to commission the project itself. It was more in control, and had the possibility to adapt plans during the planning phase. The municipality also partly financed the buildings. Reasons for this were engagement of the municipality, and the existence of a database of potential house buyers, lowering the financial risk. The municipality became the facilitator of a citizen initiative with mutually shared interests between the project partners. These shared interests, more than the formal division of tasks, ensured that the process was kept going. The following quote of the municipality’s director of spatial planning illustrates this: ‘I remember being at a brainstorm session, when I suddenly realized that, all afternoon, I had not used the word ‘municipality’. That is what I said: ‘Well, I have not used the word municipality; and actually that is very good.’’72 It seems that the project team was trusted by the governing bodies. Control by the city council and by the Major and alderman of the municipality was relatively informal. These governing bodies had to formally approve major decisions such as the overall city plan but many ‘minor’ decisions were taken without such formal approval (www.eva-lanxmeer.nl). Future residents participated within three workshops in which these residents could ventilate their ideas about the project. Initially a higher degree of

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participation was envisaged, but time pressure made this reduction necessary. The ideas of the residents were included in the final design for the EVA-Lanxmeer project, which was made by Joachim Ebele. During the actual planning phase of the residential area the municipality of Culemborg and the EVA foundation collaborated with a wide range of consulting companies, utilities and two companies involved in facilitating the process of citizen participation. In April 1997 the future residents established a residents’ association (BEL). During the main part of the planning phase, the three partners carrying the project were the EVA foundation, the residents association and the municipality of Culemborg. In the year 1999 the building process began and since then the residential area has been built and approximately 200 families have moved into the neighborhood. The EVA-Lanxmeer project comprises, amongst others, a sustainable energy concept, a mobility concept and social sustainability (e.g. combination of rental and private houses; urban design promoting social interaction). Sustainable water and wastewater management is an important aspect of the project as well. A range of sustainable water management measures was planned, but not all of them have been implemented (www.bel-lanxmeer.nl): Water supply: in the neighborhood two piped systems for water supply have been built, one for drinking water and one for ‘household’ water. The idea of the latter system was that water of a lower quality than drinking water is used for ‘secondary’ purposes such as toilet flushing and washing clothes. However, it was decided not to use this system because its use would be too expensive. The Dutch national government requires very strict control of household-water. The quality of this water has to be monitored at least once a year and this so-called householdwater may only be used for toilet flushing. National government’s policy on household-water has become very strict after previous experiments indicating potential public health risks associated with household-water. The costs for producing household-water would become even higher than those for ‘regular’ drinking water production. The residents, therefore, decided not to use the household-water system which is in place in the Lanxmeer area; although the idea fitted well with the principles used in the new building area and a major part of the needed infrastructure was already in place. Rainwater: rainwater from roofs is collected in ponds. Rainwater from streets is transported to ditches which remove it from the neighborhood. Domestic wastewater: greywater (wastewater from kitchen sink, shower and washing machine) and black water (wastewater from the toilet) are separately collected and treated. Grey water is collected in a separate sewer system (not used for black water and rainwater) and is treated in reed-bed filters. The effluent from

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these reed-bed filters is transported from the neighborhood via the same ditches that remove rainwater. Black water is collected with a third sewage system (a first sewage system is for rainwater, a second one is for grey water). The toilets applied in the area are so-called booster toilets (Gustavsberg toilets). These toilets use a relatively low amount of water (2.5 up till 4 liters per flush) for flushing. The ‘wet fraction’ of the black water is treated in the reed-bed filters, while the ‘dry fraction’ is transported to a wastewater treatment plant (using a connection to a conventional sewage system).

Figure 7.3 Rainwater ponds in the EVA-Lanxmeer area (picture: DH) and reed-bed filter near office buildings (source: Paul de Graaf).

Plans for a biogas installation in which anaerobic digestion of biomass takes place are still in preparation. In the planning phase of the project the possibility to use vacuum toilets was discussed. Several experts (for example the firm which designed the energy concept for the neighbourhood) proposed this system because a low volume of water would make anaerobic treatment of the black water easier. However, it was decided to implement a system which uses water for flushing (the Gustavsberg system) because this looks more like a conventional toilet73. Box 7.2: Household-water in The Netherlands In the 1990s several experiments with ‘household-water’ were conducted. Households were connected to a second piped system which provides water of a ‘second-quality’ to these households. This water would be fit for toilet flushing, washing of clothes and for the outdoor tap. The main rationality is that ‘precious drinking water should not be misused for purposes that do not require water meeting drinking water standards’. The potential environmental gain of using household-water is in some cases ‘less need for groundwater extraction’ (if surface

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water is used as a source for household-water) and in other cases it is ‘energy saving’ (less extensive water treatment is necessary). The official definition used by the Dutch national government was that ‘household-water is tap water which may only be used for toilet flushing, use in the washing machine or watering of the garden’ (Oosterholt 2003). Several water supply companies started to experiment with ‘household-water’ and at the end of the 1990s household-water was applied in several new residential areas. The principle was (and is) also applied on a smaller scale, for example in some individual office buildings and at camping sites. Some of the experiments in new residential areas (Buitenhof, Druten; Meerhoven, Eindhoven; Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht; Waterwijk, Amsterdam; Noordwest, Wageningen) were extensively monitored and attention was paid to the opinion of residents about these systems, the environmental achievements of the implemented systems and the potential for public health risks (ibid). In 2003 the secretary of state for the environment argued that there are too many risks for public health associated with household-water while the added value of household-water in economic and environmental terms is relatively low. Therefore, it was decided not to enable large-scale delivery of household-water by water supply companies (although incidental exceptions are possible) (Van Geel 2003). An important reason for this decision has been the public health risks related to the microbiological quality of household-water. In some monitored cases this water did not meet the standards set by water supply companies and the national government. A large role was also played by two cases of misconnections: two Dutch households received household-water on their drinking water tap by mistake and it took some time before this mistake was discovered. These cases received much attention in the Dutch media. This led the Secretary of State to the conclusion that delivery of household-water is only possible if water quality is strictly monitored and controlled, which he deemed inconsistent with the wish of the national government ‘to cut back on bureaucracy and redundant legislation’. Currently, large-scale delivery of ‘household-water’ by water supply companies is only allowed with special Ministerial permission, if accompanied with extensive monitoring and control programs. Furthermore, household-water may only be used for toilet flushing. Application of household-water at a smaller technical scale (smaller than a complete residential area) remains possible (ibid). Large water supply companies quitted most of their experiments with household-water even before the Secretary of State made this decision.

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In the EVA-Lanxmeer project several frontrunners played an important role. Within the carried out interviews (autumn 2004) three persons were frequently pointed at: Marleen Kaptein, the ‘founding mother’ of ‘Stichting EVA’ as well as two employees of the municipality (the alderman and the ‘director of spatial planning’). These persons were deemed important because of their commitment, expertise and access to relevant networks: ‘You need someone like that in such a project. She (Marleen Kaptein) is a charismatic person with a strong personality and a lot of knowledge. If you do not have someone like her standing behind the project, then the project would not have been there. You need someone who sends out the massage: I believe in this concept for 2000 percent and if you do not, you’re crazy.’74 Residents’ access to the neighborhood In principle citizens can choose themselves to move to the EVA-Lanxmeer area. The project team argued, however, that living in this area is something special and that a minimal degree of environmental awareness is necessary to live in this neighbourhood. For that reason residents are obliged to have an intake meeting with a member of the ‘Stichting EVA’ or the ‘Projectbureau’. This meeting aims to establish a ‘small barrier’ for potential residents to make them conscious of the fact ‘that there are things they have to take into account if they decide to live in the EVA-Lanxmeer area.’75 The water and sanitation system is explicitly part of this intake meeting, as every resident has to comply with the rule ‘to respect the outlets of your house.’76 This intake meeting seems to serve as a tool to promote self selection, because occasionally interested people decide not to move to the EVA-Lanxmeer project after they have had the intake meeting.77 Each resident also receives a manual in which the ‘Lanxmeer concept’ is explained in more detail. The manual includes a chapter on the water concept as well as a list of substances which can harm the reed-bed filters. The reed-bed filters are robust enough to cope with some ‘misbehavior’, however, this is not told to the residents ‘otherwise everybody thinks: ‘well, I can be that only person [that uses chlorine].’78 In spite of this all, the project aimed to set up systems in which residents do not have to compromise the level of comfort they are accustomed to: ‘And actually I think that it has to be organized in such a way that an average inhabitant of a neighborhood does not notice whether he is connected to a conventional wastewater system (…) or lives in a neighborhood like this (…)

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in principle I think that you should not have to compromise your level of comfort, in order to make it succeed.’79 The reed-bed filters involved a permanent change (compared to a conventional wastewater system) for the inhabitants. The impact of the new sanitation system was however more temporary. The Gustavsberg toilets led to problems with clogging, which could be solved but were quite unpleasant. As a resident of the project, also member of the ‘werkgroep Energie en Installaties’ (‘task force Energy and Installations’) puts it: ‘We installed for example the so-called boosters and in practice this confronted us with a lot of troubles, because they were clogged and then you had to (…) in your house (…) in the hall there was such a thing which had to be opened and it smells like hell of course (…) it did not lead to resistance of the inhabitants, so a high degree of tolerance was present (…) also we did not have problems with the installation of the reed-bed filters, which had the reputation that they could smell in winter, but no one made a big problem of that.’80 Management phase of the project The residents are also co-managers of the systems in their neighbourhood. All these inhabitants are, obligatory, members of an inhabitants association, which is co-responsible for management of green areas in the neighborhood (it was agreed that the municipality would delegate this task to the residents). Also, there are task forces of inhabitants engaging in several sustainability issues such as installations in the neighborhood, the traffic concept, and monitoring. Some tasks of this residents’ association were formalized (www.evalanxmeer.nl). The association registers all its members and uses this list for allocation of houses. After the intake meeting a ‘behavior contract’ is signed and the association controls whether the residents comply with this contract. Furthermore, the association represents the residents in the project team and can be held accountable by the residents. Also, the residents association organizes the management of public space in the neighborhood (including budgeting and accountability) (ibid). Within the EVA-Lanxmeer project it is argued that ‘personal commitment of people is a prerequisite for realizing a sustainable living environment’ and that ‘care, accountability and participation are closely intertwined’. The EVA foundation deems wide-ranging involvement of the residents necessary as it will make them ‘the carrier of the concept, even after the original planners have left the stage’ (ibid).

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The residents’ association received special subsidies from the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment to conduct three workshops with all future residents which were known at the time, and professional assistance was provided to help the association deal with all the juridical aspects related to their formal tasks (www.eva-lanxmeer.nl). Looking at the way in which most residents become involved in the EVALanxmeer project, we can expect that these inhabitants have a relatively high ecocommitment. A large part of these residents was already involved in the planning phase of the project, when the plans for the neighborhood existed only on paper. In a study, 43 out of 52 respondents spontaneously mentioned ‘attention to the environment’ as the most important reason to decide to live in the EVA-Lanxmeer project (V&L 2003). A study into opinions of the residents about a future biogas installation in the neighborhood (De Vries 2006) shows that the residents are generally very favorable towards such an installation (e.g. 80 % of the residents thinks such an installation is important, 10 % is indifferent while only 9 % thinks such an installation is unimportant). Residents’ perspectives In March 2003 fifteen interviews with residents were conducted to find out about their first experiences with the water systems in their neighborhood. At the time of interviewing most parts of the water system were not yet in place (no reed-bed filters, no biogas installation). The plans for household-water were still running and the national government had not yet taken the the unfavorable decision with regard to policy related to household-water. The majority of the interviewees was satisfied with the level of influence they had had on the decision making process. They think that their own role in the process was minimal, but they are not too much bothered about this, possibly because they had enough trust in the project team to delegate important decisions to them. Apart from that, their influence was considerably higher than in ‘conventional’ new building areas in which actual consultation of future residents rarely takes place. The residents in the rental flats would have liked some more influence and are not completely satisfied with the functioning of the housing company though. Most interviewees regularly go to meetings. Most visited are the meetings of their ‘hof’ (a group of houses grouped together in such a way that social interaction is promoted)81. Meetings of the inhabitants’ association BEL are visited less often. Although some interviewees find the number of meetings sometimes cumbersome, in general people are positive about the social interaction which the neighborhood involves.

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The hof (and not so much the neighborhood at large) seems to be the level at which social cohesion and identification is highest. For one of the interviewees, an architect by profession, this is even a reason to argue that the water treatment system within the neighborhood should have a technical scale at ‘hof’ level. Not only, he thinks, this would be more efficient, but people would also be more involved with the system if it would be literally on their doorstep. Negotiations between the water supply company and the project team about delivering second-quality water to the neighborhood were still running. Most residents indicate that they are dissatisfied with the information they (did not) receive from the water supply company. Almost all interviewees knew the supplier of household-water, but it was unclear when the actual supply of the water would start. The company distributed letters falsely stating that the household-water project would be cancelled, which is the case for the rest of Culemborg, but was at that time not the case for the Lanxmeer area. The state of affairs regarding household-water was unclear and it was unknown who would be responsible if something would go wrong. Information towards the residents mostly came from the residents’ association, while most interviewees think it ought to come from the water supply company. At the moment of interviewing the first two phases of the EVA-Lanxmeer project – 55 and 44 houses respectively – had been realized. Most of the residents who were active in the planning of the project live in the houses built in the first phase. The original plan was to set up a separate planning process for the second phase, but due to time pressure it was decided to implement the second phase immediately after the first phase, with the same architects and the same contractor (www.eva-lanxmeer.nl). There seems to be a subconscious division between inhabitants of the first phase (who are seen as ‘green people’ while they perceive themselves as being the pioneers) and inhabitants of the second phase. The distinction between rental and sale houses is less apparent, although some interviewees (both rental and sale) ventilate a worry that some rentals never participate in meetings and are ill-informed about the behavioral changes they have to make. The distinction between ‘us at Lanxmeer’ and the rest of Culemborg is, however, more pronounced than the other mentioned distinctions as can be read from a quote of one of the residents: ‘Positive about this neighborhood is the ‘it’s our type of people’ feeling. Everyone feels responsible for the environment. Where we used to live, people found it strange we didn’t have a car, here it is accepted. We always separated our waste, were careful with water and energy use. That is much easier here).’

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The innovations implemented in the area are clearly visible. The water-related innovations in the neighborhood certainly played a role in this: a different toilet system has been installed (Gustavsberg toilet system), so the toilets look slightly different than conventional toilets. The most visible water technologies can be found outside the house, where two large and three small reed-bed filters have been installed82. Source-oriented wastewater collection and treatment is only one out of a range of measures to arrive at integrated water management in the neighborhood (which is explicitly a goal of the project, see: www.eva-lanxmeer.nl). Also prevention of droughts or – on the other hand – prevention of an excess of water in the natural environment are important goals of the water concept. Rainwater falling on the roofs is retained in special ponds and the natural character of the neighborhood is actively reinforced. Some interviewees, who do not see themselves as environmentally conscious, indicate that they are influenced by their neighbors who provide them with ‘good’ examples. Although these interviewees sometimes also felt pressurized, they did not perceive it as very cumbersome. In general the interviewees feel that the water system is an integral part of the EVA-Lanxmeer area. Although at the time of interviewing the majority of the water system was not yet in place (only the rainwater systems, not the other planned innovations), they would be very disappointed if these innovations would not be implemented. The water system is one of the core principles of the EVALanxmeer project so it would be a defeat and the project would be considered failed if the water innovations would be cancelled. This feeling of failure would be even bigger because of the important showcase function of the EVA-Lanxmeer project. One interviewee indicates that the water system also has an important social/controlling function: because the reed-bed filters are sensitive, people have to be careful with it. If it would be removed, the urge to be environmentally friendly would diminish, and so would the feeling of ‘we are in it together’. Most interviewees indicate that they are confident that the project team has made a good decision regarding the choice of the water system. When asked about possible health risks attached to filtering the water in the neighborhood or using second-quality water, almost no-one expects problems. Even the mulch produced from the black water would be used in communal gardens or to produce crops in the city farm. Some interviewees defend their trust in the project team by pointing to ‘unidentified’ others: ‘if the project bureau screws up, I am sure that they will be reprimanded’. So there is trust vested in the abstract ‘they’. These ‘they’ might be other residents who are more actively involved in the project or experts who are supposed to monitor the water system.

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But there are also some interviewees who seem rather distrustful towards the project team: some residents indicate that they have to trust the Projectbureau, because ‘there is no other option’. There is also some distrust in the other inhabitants; some people are worried about what might happen if someone uses forbidden products in the reed-bed filter. Especially the people who did not come and live in the EVA-Lanxmeer project for environmental reasons are the object of this distrust. The rental houses in particular are sometimes pointed at because ‘these people can simply move out when the system collapses, unlike the owners of the private houses’. Many residents thus acknowledge that inhabitants of the EVA-Lanxmeer project have to do or leave things to make it possible to live in this area. One of the residents, who is actively involved in ‘energy and installations’ in the project argues that ‘I think you should not do these kinds of things in neighborhoods which by definition have a low education level.’83 In the EVA-Lanxmeer project we can see that residents are actively involved in the project, both in its planning and in its in-use management. In accordance with the overall project philosophy, several green areas are communally owned: the socalled ‘Binnenhoven’ are communal property of groups of residents (at ‘hof’ level). Furthermore, the residents are co-responsible for the management of some public spaces and have made a management agreement with the municipality which is renewed each year. The reed-bed filter example illustrates that the behaviour of the residents is crucial for the proper functioning of the system. In the EVA-Lanxmeer project residents will directly be confronted with the consequences of ‘misbehaviour’: several residents do maintenance work themselves (and not the municipality). If the reed-bed filter does not function, all residents are confronted with the problem, although it is as yet uncertain what this problem will be ‘if some residents screw up’ and the system collapses. One of the founders of the EVA-Lanxmeer project therefore indicates that, for future projects, he would not only make use of enduser involvement, but also of the possibilities of modern technologies: ‘if you can monitor, for example, which households discharge harmful substances, you should definitely do this.’84 Box 7.3: Extreme cases of in-use involvement: composting toilets When it comes to in-use involvement of residents, composting toilets form the extreme example. In a Western context, most toilet systems use water for transportation of urine and faeces. Composting toilets do not. In some cases users have to add straw or other components to get the composting process going.

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Another example is the use of barrels in the basem*nt of apartment buildings which have to be carried away and emptied regularly. Composting toilets are applied in several pilot projects, where they are installed in the house. These composting toilets are also often ‘self-build’ projects.

Figure 7.4, Left: urine separating composting toilet; middle and right: faeces collection bins (source: Helena Krantz).

Users themselves have to suffer the consequences if the technology is not functioning, or if it is used in the wrong way. In the Gebers project (near Stockholm) each household has its own barrel because faecal matter is considered a private affair (Krantz 2005). This makes residents inclined to use the toilet in an environmental friendly way: ‘only biodegradable products are thrown into it and cleaning agents are environmentally friendly’ because ‘all items thrown in ultimately have to be taken care of by the residents themselves’ (ibid: 233). The consequences of ‘misbehaviour’ are thus felt at the lowest possible level: that of the household (rather than ‘a group of houses’ (EVA-Lanxmeer); or even a larger scale (conventional connection to a wastewater treatment plant). 7.2.2 Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten, Freiburg, Vauban The Passivhaus Wohnen Und Arbeiten is part of a larger housing area, the Vauban area in Freiburg, Germany. In this area, Baugruppen (private groups of future residents) are encouraged to buy their own premise and to set up their dwellings together. The main innovations in the Passivhaus project are a sustainable energy concept, an Ecological Sanitation85 concept and integrating and combining dwelling and working (Wohnen und Arbeiten). The 20 families in the apartment building have vacuum toilets in their house which, at the time of writing, have a

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connection to the sewage system and to a wastewater treatment plant (a biogas reactor is being built at the moment). Start-up and planning phase of the project The Vauban area in Freiburg is a relatively large new building area in the city of Freiburg, in the South of Germany (2000 residents moved in since the year 2001). The goal of this project is to set up a new building area ‘in a co-operative, participatory way which meets ecological, social, economic and cultural requirements’ (www.Vauban.de). An important aspect of this approach is that groups of citizens (Baugruppen) are encouraged to realize their own project within the neighborhood. Several sub-projects, often at the level of single apartment buildings, have been set up and a range of concepts and technologies have been implemented: sustainable energy concepts (solar collectors, co-generation plants); sustainable traffic/mobility concepts (e.g. integrating dwelling and working; a reduced number of private cars to be parked in the periphery of the area, good connection to the public transport system). The municipality of Freiburg presents itself to the outside world as the ‘Ökohauptstadt und ‘Solar-City’ Deutschlands und weltweit’ [Ecological capital city and solar-city of Germany and the world]86. The Passivhaus ‘Wohnen und Arbeiten’ is a sub-project within this larger new building area, entailing a single apartment building with twenty private apartments. The initiative to set up this project (in 1995) came from Michael Gies, an architect, and Jörg Lange, a biologist. The former wanted to set up a low energy house, while the latter wanted to implement an Ecological Sanitation concept (www.forum-vauban.de). They established the ‘Baugruppe Wohnen und Arbeiten’, a group of future residents who all agreed with the objectives of the initiators. Agreement with these objectives was a prerequisite to be admitted to the ‘Baugruppe’87.

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Figure 7.5, lLeft: impression of the Vauban area; right: the Passivhaus Wohnen Und Arbeiten (pictures: DH)

The goals of the project can be grouped according to three themes: a low energy concept, an Ecological Sanitation concept, and ‘integration between working and living’. Both frontrunners had a specific technological system in mind with regard to the low energy concept and with regard to the Ecological Sanitation concept (respectively) and they were seen as experts for their part of the planning job (ibid). The Ecological Sanitation concept entails separate collection and treatment of grey and black water. Vacuum toilets are used for the collection and transportation of black water. Membrane technology is used for greywater treatment. A biogas reactor for black water treatment has been planned, but at the time of writing this system is not yet in operation. The firm which would supply the biogas reactor went bankrupt during the building of this reactor and the Baugruppe is still looking for another firm to complete the job. This technological system has been in operation since 1999. For the technical management and maintenance of the Ecological Sanitation system the Baugruppe collaborates with a private firm. Realization phase The parties involved in the realization of this project can be situated at two different levels: the Vauban area at large, and the ‘Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten’ project which is one sub project within this wider area. At the level of the Vauban area at large, the main actors involved in the project are the Project Group Vauban, a collaboration between several local administrative bodies dealing with the Vauban area; a special City Council’s committee dealing with the Vauban area; and Forum Vauban, the local citizen’s association serving as a coordinating medium for extended citizen-participation. At the level of the Passivhaus ‘Wohnen und Arbeiten’ the main actor in charge of the project is the Baugruppe Wohnen und Arbeiten, an association of all the residents of this apartment building. This

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group of residents is the main driver of the project. Commitment to the goals of the project was a prerequisite in order to be admitted as a member of this group. The Baugruppe was the actor in charge of the pilot project, contracting the other parties involved in the realization of the project. To realize the Ecological Sanitation concept within this project, the Baugruppe collaborated with a firm supplying treatment technology, a supplier of vacuum technology and a German research institute. All other parties involved in building the apartment building and installing the environmental innovations were contracted by the Baugruppe, the only exception being the Fraunhofer institute, which voluntarily cooperated in the project, provided that the project would be available to them for research. However, the main driving force for the Ecological Sanitation concept was that some of the residents, Jörg Lange and Arne Panesar, are themselves experts in the field of sanitation. Because Jörg Lange was seen as an authority in the field of Ecological Sanitation, the other members of the ‘Baugruppe Wohnen und Arbeiten’ adopted the sanitation concept he proposed.88 Management phase In the Passivhaus project, the residents are themselves accountable. They decided upon the vacuum system themselves. Residents could only join the project if they agreed with all environmental innovations which were applied in their building. This has likely contributed to their inclination to accept the vacuum toilets. Although some inhabitants expected that the sound of the vacuum system would be annoying, none of them – in the end – made a problem of that (Mels, Zeeman and Bisschops 2005). Residents’ perspectives The residents did not consider this vacuum system as something that is (or should be) applicable in every setting. Jörg Lange, the initiator of the sanitation concept in the apartment building, argues that changes in toilet habits form a too important barrier for the proper functioning of new technological systems, something for which one cannot blame residents, ‘who just do not know about it and are not accustomed to it.’89

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Figure 7.6, left: Anaerobic digester partly located underground; centre: front garden used for rainwater retention; right: vacuum toilet of one of the residents (pictures: DH)

Contrary to EVA-Lanxmeer, the visibility of the sustainable water technologies in the Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten is more concentrated inside the houses, where the vacuum toilets and the piped system to which they are connected are clearly visible and audible90. The (waste) water technologies outside the house are less visible than the ones in EVA-Lanxmeer: the wastewater treatment devices, membrane reactor and anaerobic digester, are situated partly underground. Only rainwater retention ponds are clearly observable features indicating sustainable water management. Box 7.4: application of biogas reactors in pilot projects: misfortune and institutional barriers In several pilot projects anaerobic treatment of black water in biogas reactors has been planned (in this chapter: EVA-Lanxmeer and Vauban). The actual realization of this technology turns out to be very complex: the only projects in which the technology is actually in operation are the projects in Sneek and Göteborg discussed in the previous chapter. The supplier of the technology in Freiburg went bankrupt, and the system in Flintenbreite has been unused for a couple of years because too few people moved into the neighborhood to have the minimum input to get the system going. There is also a common denominator: the considerable institutional changes a biogas reactor requires. Experiments with anaerobic technologies illustrate that the existing institutional structure is geared to centralized solutions for wastewater collection and treatment. The financing structure is a case in point. Local treatment of black water leads to reduction of the input of organic matter in a wastewater treatment plant, so from a users’ point of view a considerable reduction of the wastewater treatment tax would be logical. But from the point of view of the operators of wastewater treatment plants this is not logical: a major part of the

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operating costs of these plants is fixed costs (those for building the plant) and these will not go down if ‘waste input’ is reduced (COELO 2004). In the EVA-Lanxmeer project negotiations about this financing structure are still not resolved. The responsible Waterboard ‘is willing to investigate whether it is possible to return the sewage fee, or a part of it, to the EVA-Lanxmeer residential area by means of a subsidy for the biogas installation’ (De Vries 2006). The residents in the Vauban area intend to continue their plans for the biogas installation either way (with or without such subsidy) but they hope that they do not have to pay the sewage fee any longer as soon as the biogas installation is in operation91. Other recurring questions are related to: - How to use the biogas: delivery of the biogas back to the public piped gas system is highly complex and can only be done ‘if expensive measures are taken’. Another possibility is to use the gas for local/domestic heat or electricity production, an option which is also considered in the EVA-Lanxmeer project (De Vries 2006). In Freiburg the residents have the plan to use the produced biogas for cooking. - Whether or not to use organic kitchen waste and how to get it into the digester: in the EVA-Lanxmeer project the possibility of a ‘city farmer’ collecting this waste and entering it in the reactor is being discussed (De Vries 2006). In Freiburg there is a kitchen waste disposer at a central spot in the building. - How to use the products of the digestion process: it is frequently stated that after anaerobic digestion ‘nutrients become available for reuse in agriculture’. However, the question whether farmers are really willing to use these products is controversial (Van Vliet 2006a; Van Vliet 2006b) 7.2.3 Waterland Groningen The Waterland project is part of a residential area in Groningen consisting of 166 houses. The initiative for the project was taken by the EWG (association for Ecological Living in Groningen) in 1989, but soon the municipality and a local housing corporation became the main executors of the project. Greywater from washing machines, showers and kitchen sinks is treated in two large reed-bed filters near the neighbourhood. The project was also innovative in other respects: e.g. compared to 1995 standards these houses have relatively good heat insulation (Mels, Zeeman and Bisschops 2005). Start-up phase of the project A group of inhabitants of the city of Groningen, inspired by ideas of ecological living, came up with the idea to set up an ecological neighbourhood in the city of

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Groningen. A group of twenty persons was formed soon, but their initial plans to realise their own ecological residential area encountered scepticism from the municipality. A housing corporation was interested to assist the group of initiators, but initially the municipality of Groningen was not really interested in the plans. The responsible city alderman indicated that he did not like such ‘goat wool socks initiatives’ (Cuijpers 2006). However, half a year later chances to realise an initiative of this kind had increased. The Dutch national government started to stimulate local initiatives for sustainable living, which led to interest of the municipality. In the meantime, the group of interested residents had grown to forty people, and the EWG foundation was established. This foundation started lobbying and seeking media attention to attract more people, which ultimately resulted in a group of one hundred interested persons. However, the majority of these people were not actively involved and the board of the foundation had to carry out much work themselves. Ultimately, the lobbying work of the foundation was successful and the city council facilitated the realization of the neighbourhood. Planning and realization phase of the project At the beginning of the realization phase the EWG foundation had several different ideas related to water, energy, use of materials and waste management. In negotiating with the municipality the residents had to compromise their ideals. Ultimately water became the spearhead of the project, because the municipality considered the water related innovations as the most realistic ones and because this was the aspect which the responsible civil servants were most enthusiastic about (Cuijpers 2006). A key person in the planning stage of the project was an employee of the municipality who was also a member of the EWG foundation. This person could play an important role in linking the interests of both organizations. In particular he was responsible for sewage and wastewater management. He indicated that at that time the municipality took over the initiative for the project. The responsible civil servants deemed the far-reaching plans of the EWG foundation too idealistic and thought of themselves as more capable of executing the project. During the main part of the planning stage the municipality cooperated with a project developer and a housing corporation to realise the houses in the area. It is not possible to objectively judge whether the term ‘too idealistic’ is indeed applicable to the EWG foundation. However, what can be observed is that there is an obvious clash of interests between the EWG and the municipality. The latter is interested in moderate change compared to ‘conventional’ new building areas (just enough to justify the term ‘ecological living’), while the former association wants

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radical change. Some members of the EWG foundation also indicated that they lacked the capacity to be an equal partner in the negotiation process: with a few exceptions, they did not have substantive knowledge on environmental issues and they only had limited access to relevant networks. This may have led to distrust in the capability of this association. Expert knowledge of the EWG foundation was relatively limited, for example when compared to the capacity of the EVA foundation in the EVA-Lanxmeer project, although some environmental experts were part of the EWG foundation. In the Waterland project relatively little value has been attached to lay knowledge. As opposed to that, lay knowledge was valued higher in the EVA-Lanxmeer project, since all residents of the latter project have had at least a minor say in the course of affairs. The municipality was (and is) officially responsible for wastewater collection via the sewage system while the Water Board is normally responsible for wastewater treatment. In the Waterland project, however, the municipality decided to also take the responsibility for greywater treatment, because the province did not want the Water Board to become responsible for the reed-bed filter in the project. This province argued that the existing wastewater treatment plant had enough capacity to deal with the greywater from the Waterland area, which would make a local wastewater treatment system redundant. Because the system had a relatively small scale, the municipality decided to become itself responsible for it (Cuijpers 2006). Responsibility for the in-house installations had shifted to the project developer by that time. The municipality decided not to meddle with the technologies implemented inside the houses: realizing the reed-bed filter was innovative enough for them.92 The EWG foundation also wanted to realise composting toilets inside the houses but they did not manage to convince the project developer to implement them. Management and maintenance within the project The municipality carries the main responsibility for management and maintenance of the grey water filter. However, in practice adequate management of this system is complicated because this responsibility is divided over a range of municipal departments, while there is nobody who has the ultimate responsibility for the functioning of the system. Besides that, a resident (with higher vocational education in environmental sciences) argues that the municipality does not have the expertise necessary to deal with the system: ‘they insufficiently realise that this is a wastewater treatment system, not just some reed.’93 The employees of the municipality maintain the reed in exactly the same way as they do with ditches,

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although in the case of a reed-bed filter the reed should be cut in another way. Besides that, problems in the design of the system also complicate its maintenance (Cuijpers 2006). The management and maintenance of the greywater system has led to problems, although the explanation which the involved actors give for these problems varies. The system has been unused for a considerable period of time. A resident of the neighborhood thinks the system has been unused for two years, because the municipality is unwilling to take its responsibility for maintenance, while an employee of the municipality argues that this was a period of one year, due to ‘communication problems’. Besides, the greywater system in Groningen is only operational part of the year and it is the cause of bad smell (Van Dijk 2000). This has led an employee of the municipality to the following quote: ‘It is purely nonsense. There was a lot of reed and then it is called a ‘helophyte filter’ which costs huge amounts of money. It has been implemented in an area in which there was already a lot of reed and ditches. Then this is destroyed to develop a residential area with a ‘reed-bed filter’. It has been a political decision just to score.94’ The consequences of the reed-bed filter for local water quality are unknown. The Water Board is responsible for monitoring of the water quality. However, it was discovered (Van Dijk 2000) that water quality is not monitored because this task was somehow ‘forgotten’. Residents of the Waterland area The Waterland residential area has existed for more than ten years now. At the moment the EWG foundation does not exist anymore, since its existence was only deemed necessary in the planning and realization phase of the project. At the moment there exists a residents’ association of which every resident is a member. However, at the end of 2005 the role of this association seemed to be rather small (Cuijpers 2006) because it was difficult to find board members and most residents only use the association to file complaints. At the moment there seems to be a strong division between the 'ecological’ residents and the rest of these residents (ibid). Contrary to the EVA-Lanxmeer project, it seems that it is the people living in rental apartments who are most ‘ecological’, not the private house owners. Many private house owners in the area are unaware of the fact that greywater is treated in a reed-bed filter. The broker selling these houses does not inform the residents about this aspect, basically because he is unknown of its existence. The sellers of the houses, the previous

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house owners, seemingly do not consider this a relevant aspect to mention to the broker. Furthermore, this broker considers other aspects of the neighborhood more important: the size of the houses (suited for families), and its location close to the highway. At the moment the area has lost much of its sustainable identity and the residents do not seem to be more environmentally conscious than those in other areas (ibid). This is probably due to distrust of institutions in the residents initiating the neighbourhood. The project was ‘captured’ by institutional actors who were driven by more considerations than green commitment alone. This may explain why the management of the innovations in the project did not receive the necessary attention during and after the realization phase of the project. Inexperience with such projects and the fact that management of the innovations did not contribute to the (PR) goals of the municipality may have contributed to this. Box 7.5: Management and maintenance of grey water systems The Waterland Groningen project is a case in point when discussing the problems of management and maintenance of grey-water systems. It seems to be part of a recurring pattern. In other Dutch examples (e.g. ‘t Groene Dak (Utrecht) and Polderdrift (Arnhem) similar problems occur. In Utrecht greywater is partly treated in a greenhouse and partly in a reed-bed filter. The residents think current maintenance is insufficient which may lead to groundwater contamination (Van Betuw 2005). However, it is not clear whether this really is the case, since the last time water quality was monitored was in 1996 (ibid) In Arnhem (as in Utrecht) the residents carry out maintenance work. This went well for a considerable period of time and effluent quality was regularly monitored. However, at the moment the visible status of the system is not good and also data about effluent qualities are lacking (ibid). Management and maintenance of grey water filters is thus far from unproblematic. Especially after a longer period of time problems occur: important management and maintenance work is not carried out and Water Boards have difficulties dealing with these systems. They have difficulties fitting the reed-bed filters in their normal routines of monitoring water quality. Finally, it is far from clear how grey water systems can be financed. In Utrecht, residents receive restitution on the sewage fee. In Arnhem such a reduction has existed for several years but it does not exist anymore. These problems are similar to those with local biogas reactors (see box 7.4).

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Figure 7.7: ‘t Groene Dak (source: Paul de Graaf)

7.3 Rationalities of citizen-consumer driven experiments Citizen-consumer driven experiments in wastewater management constitute a social niche which has gained some momentum in the course of the years. Unlike expert-led experiments, citizen-consumer driven experiments focus on several different systems of provision, rather than on a single one. There is often experimentation with new forms of social organization and residents play an active role in the planning and use phase, taking on management and maintenance tasks which used to be done by specialised institutions. Generally, eco-idealists initiate the development of that neighbourhood. Their very high ambition level with regard to sustainable innovations is however often compromised and, even in those cases in which obviously radical innovation has been realised (EVA-Lanxmeer), some residents are disappointed about the achievements. Another recurring clash is the one between initiators and new, less committed residents. Finally, the management of the innovations is often not, or too late, taken into account (EVA-Lanxmeer seems the exception rather than the rule). 7.3.1 The role of trust In the planning stage mutual trust between a residents’ foundation and the local government (municipality) is of importance: it ensures that the pilot project is carried out and partly determines what kind of pilot project it is. The residents initiating the pilot project have a relatively high eco-commitment. In the EVALanxmeer case a group of engaged residents voiced the opinion of the future residents and together with the municipality they were co-responsible for the

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outcome. In Vauban, the residents were the main party executing the Passivhaus ‘Wohnen und Arbeiten’ project. In Groningen, some initiators became residents. Although their influence diminished soon, their wish to realize a sustainable residential area contributed to the municipality’s inclination to realise this area. Commitment of the municipality is a prerequisite to get the pilot project realised. This is sometimes in the municipality’s direct economic interest (i.e. obtaining additional building quota). But this interest can also be more indirect: the ecological housing area serves as a means to show a sustainable imago towards the outside world and thus serves as a PR tool for the municipality. In the management and maintenance phase other forms of trust become important: trust of the project team in the residents and trust of residents in each other, two forms of trust which cannot be separated from one another since residents are often present in the project team. More than with expert-led experiments the success of the innovations depends on the actual behaviour of residents, and risks in case of collapse of the system are often higher. This is especially the case with reed-bed filters without a back-up connection to a sewage system. Closer involvement of the residents in the manament of the system is seen as a trust builder: these residents have maintenance tasks themselves, there are often (formal and informal) rules how to deal with the system and sometimes new residents are asked to make an explicit choice: in Culemborg the choice to (not) move to this new building area is explicitly presented as a choice for or against living in a sustainable new building area. Citizen-consumer driven experiments try to bring wastewater management systems closer to residents. Identification with these systems is seen as something positive. As opposed to that, within expert-led experiments it is more often argued that wastewater management systems should be robust, invisible and managed by experts. The clash between ‘eco-radicals’ and ‘eco-moderates’ is often present. Mostly new residents, who were not involved from the beginning, are the ‘moderates’. The residents seem to have become segregated along the ‘rental-private’ dividing line but in different ways and for different reasons. In the EVA-Lanxmeer project we can find the ‘moderates’ in rental houses and they are met with some distrust from the house owners because ‘they can simply move out if the system would collapse’. In the Waterland project on the other hand it is the owners who are met with distrust, because ‘they do not even know about the environmental innovation’. In citizen-consumer driven projects, trust relations are more personal. These projects are characterised by deep-green commitment of the initiators, radical distinction between ‘us’ (eco fanatics) and ‘them’ (municipalities, other residents

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etc) and often the engagement, persuasiveness and charisma of frontrunners in the project. Rules and resources Citizen-consumer driven experiments focus more on life-world dynamics than expert led experiments do. As citizen-consumer driven projects often experiment with radical social changes, these projects differ more from incumbent regimes. This leads to tensions. In Freiburg, for example, investments for decentralised water management systems are not rewarded by a reduction of the sewage fee (which however did take place in other projects). In Culemborg, at the level of the pilot project it was thought that wise use of water by capable residents would be enough to counteract public health risks related to household-water. However, this view radically opposes the current regime, in which strict monitoring and control of water quality and avoidance of risks are seen as more relevant: this is a clash between two competing views on how to deal with water in a domestic setting. Paradoxically, radical social change can be conducive to trust building rather than the other way round. Distinction from the mainstream is often a trust builder binding social actors within the project together. If these actors have a more or less specified direction for social change in mind (e.g. sustainability through closer involvement of residents in the planning and management of environmental technologies) this contributes to trust building. Still, citizen-consumer driven experiments benefit from the institutionalisation of the practice of ‘setting up a pilot project’: in Culemborg there was already some experience with pilot projects; in Freiburg the Vauban project at large provided a favourable environment in which the Passivhaus project could take place. Characteristics of technologies used within social practices Technologies are often explicitly designed to bring water flows closer to residents, both in a physical and in a social sense. Characteristics of expertise within social practices Within citizen-consumer driven experiments often a wide range of different experts was involved. Often, residents themselves are experts and become system builders themselves. The project in Groningen suggests that such expertise can play an important role since the municipality initially distrusted the residents because they lacked such expertise. Transparency produced within the social practices Institutional actors are less often the carriers of citizen-consumer driven experiments. Compared to expert-led projects their role is more that of a facilitator.

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The main feature within citizen-consumer driven experiments is the relationship between end-users and the social practice of setting up and dwelling an ecovillage. These residents take on responsibilities regarding the technologies in the neighborhood. In EVA-Lanxmeer these responsibilities are laid down in agreements, although actual enforcement of norms seems to take place through informal mechanisms, such as relatively strict social control. The fact that behaviour of others is often more visible because of closer social interaction may play a role here, but also the fact that the physical environment ‘scripts’ environmentally sound behaviour. In Freiburg mutual agreement between the residents played an even more important role because there were stricter selection criteria for these residents. In Groningen the greywater system in the neighbourhood is not really ‘in the minds’ of most residents. A small number of committed residents feels responsible for it, but the majority of them are not even aware of its existence. Yet, some engaged residents distrust the municipality because its employees come up with ‘excuses not to take care of the reed-bed filter’95. Because of the close involvement of residents, they more often want feedback about the performance of the new wastewater management systems in the neighbourhood. In several projects (Waterland, Groene Dak) water quality data are not available, or not made available to the residents. Some interviewees, however, indicated that feedback on the actual performance of these systems may be conducive to trust building and that it can enhance enthusiasm of residents. Conclusion: trust in citizen-consumer driven experiments Also within citizen-consumer driven experiments trust is shaped in several different ways. A common denominator is, however, that the involvement of engaged residents works as a kind of ‘insurance policy’: there are end-users who actually want the project. Fail-factors are not so much ‘trust within provider networks’, but ‘trust between radical and moderate residents’, and ‘trust of institutions in residents’. Contrary to expert-led experiments, social experimentation is not seen as a threat but as a goal in itself. 7.3.2 The role of identity The role of identity in the discussed citizen-consumer driven pilot projects is of a different nature than in the expert led projects. Compared to the latter the intrinsic motivation of environmentally engaged residents played a larger role. Rationalities of actors within the network of provision are however more similar to those in the

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expert-led projects: for municipalities the sustainable projects were often a way to give rise to a sustainable imago towards the outside world. Within the municipality of Groningen, the agencies which would be responsible for management of the reed-bed filters were not involved from the beginning onwards and for these agencies the symbolic meaning of the reed-bed filter as a sustainable innovation was not there. Not only the official objectives of institutional actors – stated on web sites and in position papers – are of importance. Within these institutions there also work people with their own lifestyles and their personal objectives, who can or cannot identify themselves with the objectives of citizen groups and NGOs initiating an ecological residential area. Civil servants, city aldermen and employees of firms often do their job out of personal commitment, and environmental concerns can be an important aspect of this personal commitment. These persons can, therefore, be important frontrunners and key persons in the realization of pilot projects, especially if they play a double role in the project (e.g. both civil servant and member of an NGO involved in the project). Degree of autonomy of end-users Through their pilot projects, citizen-consumers often seek autonomy, however, more in a social than in a technical sense. The infrastructures in a project rarely close-off from conventional urban infrastructures altogether. Mostly, a connection to the sewage system remains in place. In the cases analysed in detail, the applied technologies are all grid-connected (although pilot projects with less gridconnected technologies such as composting toilets do exist). The residents, however, often want to decide for themselves how to manage green areas in the neighbourhood and they want to carry out several tasks themselves; or they want to have more influence on the costs for wastewater treatment. This requires (sometimes unsuccessful) negotiations with different institutional actors, illustrating that it is very laborious to achieve autonomy from conventional urban infrastructures. End-user identity to other end-users In all citizen-consumer driven experiments at least part of the residents had a relatively high intrinsic commitment for environmental issues. ‘Sustainability issues’ were important aspects of how these residents paint their lifestyles and these residents’ participation in a pilot project was a manifestation of this lifestyle. This has influenced the meaning which the implemented innovations have for these residents: a means to distinguish themselves from others who lack these sustainable innovations. In the EVA-Lanxmeer and the Passivhaus Wohnen und

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Arbeiten project this aspect of distinction is most pronounced. Besides this – often clear – social distinction between the residents of eco-villages and those of surrounding neighbourhoods, there is also distinction within eco-villages between radicals and moderates. The citizen-consumer driven experiments illustrate that some see wastewater treatment systems as symbols of a ‘better life’. In Culemborg such symbols are: reed-bed filters, the signboards next to these reed-bed filters (used to inform passers-by), ‘water playgrounds’, and communal gardens in which no fences are used; but also: solar panels and the absence of cars. In Freiburg such symbols are the vacuum toilets in the houses (which technical functioning is sometimes made highly visible); signboards in the whole neighbourhood and, again, the absence of cars. However, far from all residents agree that the adjective ‘better’ is applicable. In Groningen, some of the residents refer to the smell of the reed-bed filter as ‘smell of an ecological sewage’ (‘ecologische putlucht’; in Van Dijk 2000). The way in which these innovations are looked upon has – in turn – influenced their design and visibility. The reed-bed filters in several projects (EVA-Lanxmeer, but also Groene Dak) are easily accessible for passers by; contrary to for example the reed-bed filters in the Oeko-Technik-Park (previous chapter) which is fenced off. It is the conflicting symbolic meaning attached to these artefacts which explains why some take it for granted ‘that wastewater treatment systems should be invisible’ while others argue ‘that these systems can contribute to the quality of the built environment’ (De Graaf 2006). End-user identity as co-producer/co-manager End-users in citizen-consumer driven experiments become co-producers and comanagers. This identity formation takes place in several different ways. In Culemborg the carrying out of tasks by residents is the result of a deliberate process. In Groningen, however, some residents take on management and maintenance tasks because they feel personally committed and have no trust in the institutions that are formally responsible. End-user identity as an engaged citizen Obviously, end-users in citizen-consumer driven experiments often act as engaged citizens. The pitfall in these projects is that these citizens ‘want to achieve more’ than the institutional actors involved in the project want (or deem realistic). In Groningen and Culemborg, several residents initiating the project would have liked more influence in the planning process. Furthermore, these residents are often disappointed about the achievements of their projects. Important barriers for

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the wishes of these residents are contradicting rules and regulations, or a municipality that does not exactly do what they want.

7.4 Citizen-consumer driven experiments and their contribution to the greening of wastewater infrastructures Citizen-consumer driven experiments are initiated by a specific segment of the environmental movement: engaged citizens who actually carry out experiments at niche level, both for their own benefit (living in a residential area meeting up their own requirements) and as a means to get their message across of what sustainability means for them. Contrary to expert led projects, experimentation with new social constellations is more often an explicit goal of the project, as the residents see it as an integral aspect of a sustainable future. Nevertheless, organizing pilot projects and management and maintenance of new technologies can be problematic in citizenconsumer driven experiments as well. There is, however, often more tolerance towards problems and the residents have a greater willingness to invest effort, time and, sometimes, money in the project. Residents often see new relations, in which citizen-consumers become empowered (vis-à-vis the providers of technologies), as a prerequisite for the implementation of environmental innovations, rather than as a consequence. We also see more overlap between providers and consumers; a significant proportion of the consumers are an active part of the network of provision. The step from niche to regime The engaged citizens within the citizen-consumer driven experiments should be seen as frontrunners. They form a selective group and their high environmental concern is not shared by the majority of people. One could thus question the value of their experiments: what about the other ninety-seven percent or so of the population? The value of these social experiments, however, should not be sought in their immediate applicability on a larger scale. These citizen-consumer driven experiments help to explore where the boundaries for socio-technical change are. In Culemborg vacuum toilets were rejected as an applicable sanitation system because they do not look like a conventional toilet, while they were implemented in the Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten project. The experiments are more radical, but not necessarily in terms of the implemented technologies only. Citizen-consumer driven experiments show that more sustainable alternatives can also be sought in different directions than the ones identified by expert-led

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experiments. These projects question conventional trust and identity building mechanisms, and thus open other possible pathways towards a sustainable future. A downside of citizen-consumer driven experiments is, however, that distinction from mainstream practices can be ‘too radical’, almost turning eco-villages into some sort of gated communities.

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8 Conclusions 8.1 Introduction This study aimed to contribute to a transition towards sustainable sanitation and wastewater systems and practices in Western society by developing a social science perspective on sanitation and wastewater management. More specifically, it was aimed to develop an end-user perspective on the greening of wastewater infrastructures. The following research questions were used to structure the research: 1. How can we understand and describe the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures? 2. What distinguishes wastewater infrastructures from other environmentally relevant systems of provision? 3. Through what mechanisms – and to what extent – do small-scale experiments in niches contribute to the ecological restructuring of wastewater infrastructures? 4. What can we learn from incorporating an end-user perspective on wastewater infrastructures? The research has been carried out with the help of a theoretical framework that focused on the role of end-users of wastewater infrastructures. This theoretical framework has been used to analyze niche-based innovation in the wastewater field comparing Dutch, German and Swedish pilot projects. This chapter provides the answers to the research questions and formulates conclusions for this study. Section 8.2 deals with the special character of wastewater infrastructures by comparing them with other environmentally relevant systems of provision. Section 8.3 focuses on the mechanisms through which niche experiments contribute to ecological restructuring of wastewater infrastructures. Section 8.4 concentrates on the development of an end-user perspective. The final section (8.5) concludes this study by pointing out how to describe and understand the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures and by giving recommendations for follow-up research.

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8.2 Wastewater and sustainable transitions: infrastructures and practices The debate on innovation in wastewater infrastructures is part of broader debates about system innovation and sustainable transitions. Transition theories portray systems of provision as systems comprising large sets of ‘heterogeneous elements’ such as technologies; cultural values; user practices; institutions; and rules and regulations (Elzen, Geels and Green 2004; Rotmans, Kemp and Van Asselt 2001). Transitions in such systems are often portrayed as S-shaped curves suggesting a general shift in society from one dynamic equilibrium to another. What makes wastewater infrastructures special systems of provision? First, from a systemic perspective, wastewater infrastructures are large-scale technological systems which have gained momentum, because large investments have been made in the past (sunk costs) and because a range of social actors has vested interests in the system. The presence of existing infrastructures, established institutions and crystallized trajectories of innovation all adds to the relative inertia of the system. The review of literature on technological change (chapter 2) shows that such large technical systems are hard to change. The dominance of widely implemented technologies as well as the vested interests of a range of social actors gives the dominant system a competitive advantage (Hughes 1987; Summerton 1994). The dominant message that can be derived from the theories concerning technological regimes (Nelson and Winter 1982), technological paradigms (Dosi 1982) and socio-technical regimes (Rip and Kemp 1998) is that the choice for a particular social and technical trajectory locks certain solutions ‘in’ (e.g. flushing toilets) while it locks other solutions ‘out’. Hence, one cannot easily change to a different technology. As argued in chapter 2, the momentum of large technical systems is broader than technological or economic momentum only. Established systems reflect past social constructions (Mol 1991; Pinch and Bijker 1984), which through their omnipresence, project their socially constructed features to the future and thus give these features some degree of robustness. The services which these systems provide, and the way these systems provide them, get a taken for granted character. Second, wastewater infrastructures are specific large technical systems, as they belong to so-called network- bound systems (Van Vliet 2002), a category that includes electricity grids, piped gas networks, water delivery systems and (conventional) telecommunication systems. These systems provide what have become essential services for many Western societies. For some time, after WWII, such services and

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modes of service delivery were seen as nonnegotiable needs for end-users which had to be met in a uniform way under all circ*mstances (universal mode of provision: Van Vliet, Chappells and Shove 2005). In a context of liberalization, privatization and global-localization, the debate on changing the modes of provision of network-bound systems has been opened. However, as the example of The Netherlands (chapter 4) illustrates, public authorities (and the public at large) see liberalization and privatization of water and wastewater services as controversial in some crucial respects, especially when compared to other network bound systems. Undoubtedly, water and wastewater systems are seen as the most public of all network-bound services. Third, wastewater infrastructures shape – and are being shaped by – domestic water practices. The distinguishing features of these domestic water practices are most clearly visible in the social practices of toilet use, washing and showering. These practices show that, besides the obvious need for a daily minimum amount of drinking water of sufficient quality, water has also become a means to get rid of all kinds of human waste. The use of water for cleaning the house; cleaning the body; transporting urine and faeces (and the associated norms concerning hygiene and cleanliness) have become strongly socio-culturally embedded. A focus on domestic water practices shows that water and wastewater services, more than any other network bound service, are closely associated with the human body and with the relationship between ‘self’ and ‘society’. End-users use and discharge water mainly to prepare for social interaction, but it is often not the social interaction itself. In Goffmanian terms, water practices are ‘more backstage’ practices than practices related to other network-bound services are. However, this feature of water as a ‘backstage’ activity is a Western and ‘modern’ one. The historical analysis of domestic water practices in chapter 4 shows that in other cultures situated in other times (and geographical regions) water practices are more seen as ‘front-stage’ activities. Moreover, within the analyzed pilot projects we see that the notion of water practices as backstage activities is also being challenged. End-users may even see their toilet as a status symbol and deliberately show off this artefact to visitors. On the other hand, some domestic water practices concern a highly tabooed subject because they deal with (human) waste, and involve sexual connotations as the gendered division of functions (separate toilets and bathrooms for males and females) shows. Domestic water practices, at the most fundamental level, involve a tension between ‘linking up with nature’ and ‘keeping nature out’. The wish to keep nature (dirt, disease and death) out was an elemental feature of the broader sanitary transition taking place at the end of the 19th century, as the historical analysis in chapter 4 shows. Under conditions of reflexive modernity (Beck 1992;

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Beck, Giddens and Lash 1994; Giddens 1990) it is no longer obvious that nature is something that should be combated. However, neither is the other extreme, ‘embracing nature under all circ*mstances’ valid. The new rationality is that of a continuous tension between the two extremes, with different degrees of bringing nature into domestic water practices. Seen as a way to connect with nature, the use of bathing oils and rain-showers are means to imitate or replace the bonds with nature. These bonds have been broken because large-scale infrastructures enabled a distinction between the sites of ‘addition and withdrawal’ of water and the sites where the actual water practices take place. In the analyzed niche projects we can see examples of ‘natural’ wastewater treatment systems (reed-bed filters, composting toilets; especially in the citizen-consumer driven experiments discussed in chapter 7) but also of efforts to develop invisible ‘high-tech’ wastewater management systems (mostly in the expert-led experiments, see chapter 6). Another manifestation of ‘keeping nature out’ is the deeply embedded notion of ‘flush and forget’. Interviews with consumers and providers – who are often self proclaimed ‘representatives’ of consumers, such as civil servants – indicate that the idea to use water for toilet flushing is much taken for granted and using less water (or no water at all) causes much opposition. To conclude, how does this examination of the special character of water as large technical, network-bound systems – shaping and being shaped by domestic water practices – relate to the picture which transition scholars portray? From a socio-cultural perspective, it is doubtful whether the changes taking place in water practices should be seen as an S-shaped shift from one stage in society (or the water system) towards another, as these scholars would put it. Instead, the uniformity and taken-for-granted character of water practices are being replaced with a continuous tension between often opposing rationalizations. The search for more sustainable solutions does not take place in a single direction. And, more importantly, it is far from sure that the final outcome of the transition process will be a single new socio-technical system replacing the current one. But transition theorists, and many other scholars, are correct in putting niches central in understanding any idea of innovation.

8.3 Niche management in the wastewater transition Expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments Niches are the places where experimentation beyond existing trajectories takes place. Compared to incumbent regimes, socio-technical changes are often radical. The main premise of niche management theories is that experiments in niches can

CONCLUSIONS 189

and do contribute to technical, economic, social or environmental reform at the level of socio-technical regimes. This study has explored through which mechanisms, if at all, niche experiments contribute to the (primarily ecological) restructuring of wastewater infrastructures. In investigating niches, the starting hypothesis (developed in chapter 3) was that an analytical distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments is relevant to understand the (different) innovation patterns taking place at niche level96. In expert-led experiments institutional actors, firms and governments take the lead in setting up niche projects in a ‘top down’ fashion. These niche managers focus their experiments on the field of wastewater infrastructures – that is on one particular system of provision. The starting point of the experiment is a new technology, or broader, a new socio-technical system. The institutions setting up the experiment portray end-users as a hom*ogeneous group of passive recipients of new technologies; or as neutral system elements. Within expert-led experiments socio-technical innovation is approached from a systemic perspective: end-users’ everyday-life has to – and is believed to – follow the changes the new system brings. In citizen-consumer driven experiments the initiative rests with citizens’ groups and NGOs. These citizens’ groups and NGOs have a broad view on what sustainable development entails. The experiments are targeted at a hom*ogeneous group of highly eco-committed end-users. The envisaged changes in peoples’ lifeworld go along with changes in several systems of provision, amongst which the wastewater field. This analytical distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments helped us to actually observe distinct patterns of innovation in a range of pilot projects. Expert-led experiments were set up by research institutes and consultancy firms, often as part of government-funded innovation programs. These projects were often approached from a narrow engineering perspective, focusing on technological variables (technological scale; degree of differentiation of wastewater flows). These expert-led experiments were more successful when they also involved experimentation with other systemic variables apart from the purely technological ones. For example, experimentation with management structures (a specialized institution managing highly decentralized technologies) or degrees of choice (residents who could opt for different modules of small-scale technologies, or could choose for a certain management structure). However, such ‘broader’ experimentation rarely took place. There is a tendency within expert-led experiments to let the social structure of the project resemble ‘conventional systems’ as much as possible. Especially the idea of uniform provision of wastewater services (the same system for every household) is deeply rooted.

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Citizen-consumer driven experiments tend to focus more on life-world rationalities of citizen-consumers. Social change is often seen by end-users as something positive (rather than negative, as in expert-led experiments). The following example illustrates this. In both types of projects technologies are installed that lead to more direct social interdependencies between households (compared to conventional systems). If one household uses detergents with bleaching agents, this can affect the functioning of an anaerobic digester or a reed-bed filter. This involves a risk: if one household ‘screws up’, several other households have to suffer the consequences (collapse of a wastewater treatment system). Such wastewater management systems necessitate more solidarity/communality between end-users. In expert-led experiments this is seen only as a risk. In citizenconsumer driven experiments end-users also attach positive connotations to these interdependencies: it is deemed positive that people take care (for each other, for the environment). For both types of projects a main pitfall can be identified. Expert-led experiments risk a narrow focus on technologies. The main risk within citizenconsumer driven experiments is that the ideals of a (core) group of eco-minded people are not translated to others, leading to high social distinction (as compared to other neighborhoods within the same city, or – within the project – between ‘radical’ and ‘moderate’ end-users). Eco villages may even develop into some sort of ‘gated communities’. The review of empirical cases confirms the hypothesis that expert-led experiments put systemic rationalities in the center whereas citizen-consumer driven experiments focus on life-world rationalities. It is however an exaggeration to say that the expert-led projects embrace system rationalities only, or to say that citizen-consumer driven experiments focus only on the life-world. In citizenconsumer driven experiments, for instance, engaged end-users can become system builders themselves and can propose their more sustainable solutions in a technology-driven way. And there are expert-led experiments that managed very well to link up with the rationalities of end-users. It is most accurate to see expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments as two ideal types. These ideal types are useful to analyze niche-based innovation dynamics in wastewater management from a social scientific angle, because they point at the chances and (potential) pitfalls of a particular project. Expert-led experiments have a tendency to neglect the social side of the project while citizenconsumer driven experiments have a tendency to come up with high-profile social reform. The most successful projects were the ones which could take on board features of both ideal type projects. In expert-led experiments this implies closer involvement of the (real, represented or imagined) citizen-consumer. In citizen-

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consumer driven experiments it means involvement of not only the radical citizenconsumers but also the moderates, both in dialogue with the (institutional) experts. Towards heuristics for sustainable wastewater management3 The theoretical analysis of niche management approaches in chapter 2 has led to the hypothesis that niche-based approaches risk a narrow focus on technologies. After studying the cases we can conclude that such a focus on technologies indeed occurs, but that there are also experiments which focus too much on behavioural change. If the initiators of niche experiments go too much into either of these extremes they risk a struggle with ‘opponents’ of the innovation trajectory they want to propose. This observation points at two fundamental problems inherent to niche experiments in wastewater infrastructures – and possibly also to niche experiments in other systems of provision. First, there is a tension between niche and regime level – which some other scholars also observe (see for example: Smith, 2005). This tension is inherent to the special character of niches as incubation rooms for innovations, but it complicates wider application of innovations. On the one hand, niche managers want to make innovations highly visible to attract publicity and funding. Innovations should lead to positive identity building and they should fit the PR needs of institutional actors or end-users. On the other hand, niche managers argue that residents should find the innovations ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. But as high visibility of experiments is unavoidable, this latter demand is rather unrealistic. To go one step further, niche managers would better make positive use of the conspicuousness of their projects. The niches are the places par excellence to deliberately construct new meanings and rationalizations for sociotechnical innovations. Second, and related to the first point, second-order learning is often hampered within niche projects. How to involve those crucial actors that did not initiate the experiment in the first place? Actors who put alternative sanitation concepts to the fore have a very high interest in the success of these concepts. This interest is generally more than a commercial interest alone. These proponents are often ‘believers’ who have a range of – in itself legitimate – arguments and interests in favor of their concept. However, these arguments and interests often do not coincide with the rationalities of the other actors (municipalities, project developers, housing corporations) they try to convince. 3

This sub-section is a revised version of section 5 of: Hegger, D.L.T., Van Vliet, J. and Van Vliet, B. (2007). “Niche management and its contribution to regime change: the case of innovation in sanitation”, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 19.6.

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To arrive at niche-based approaches with a better chance of contributing to regime change, it is necessary to stop seeing niche experiments as ‘experiments with technologies’ or as ‘social experiments’ only. Changes in technologies, rules and regulations, user practices, institutions etc. are not the end-goal but the means towards the goal to institutionalize a new concept of socio-technical systems. A too narrow focus on technologies only or on social experiments only leads to problems when enlarging and social embedding of the experiment is at stake. A solution is to make a core group of actors fit for the job by including all relevant key-knowledge fields also at pilot/niche level. These actors need to be brought together around a certain guiding principle that has to be worked out in a technical and in a social sense. Such an approach of bringing together a broad range of actors around a certain guiding principle can be labeled conceptual niche management (Hegger, Van Vliet and Van Vliet 2007). Conceptual niche management (CNM) can be defined as the coordinated management of socio-technical experiments taking concepts of sustainable transformation of socio-technical systems as their starting point, and being executed by all actors that are deemed relevant to fulfill the concept. The term concept refers to guiding principles used for the fulfillment of societal functions. In the wastewater field, such concepts include ‘on-site treatment of grey water’, ‘closing the nutrient cycle’, ‘separate collection and treatment of black-water, grey-water and rainwater’. In the approach of conceptual niche management, the social embedding, institutionalization and proliferation of new concepts gets more attention vis-à-vis technological experimentation, making it likely that concepts develop into realistic and desirable new practices that can vary in time and place, enhancing broad and deep learning.

8.4 Towards an end-user perspective on wastewater infrastructures The role of end-users in the greening of wastewater infrastructures is crucial. First, end-users play a role in the use, management and maintenance of innovations. Innovations fail if end-users are unable to use them, or lack adequate information. The case study research has shown examples of pilot projects in which there was a ‘misfit’ between the technological design and the actual use pattern (e.g. the vacuum toilets in the Oeko-Technik-Park did not ‘communicate’ to the residents that they cannot cope with the large objects some of them threw in their toilet). Second, end-users can play a role as active citizen-consumers capable of changing systems of wastewater services provision. These residents can initiate

CONCLUSIONS 193

pilot projects themselves (in the citizen-consumer driven experiments) and (through participation in the planning phase of projects) they can vote sanitary solutions ‘in’ or ‘out’. Citizen-consumer influence can also take place indirectly, when citizen-consumers enter the stage as represented consumers (housing corporations, project developers, municipalities, and consumer organizations) and imagined consumers. These end-user roles need to be adequately conceptualized next to the systemic dimensions of wastewater infrastructures. The search for smart combinations (modernized mixtures) between ‘conventional’ and ‘alternative’ wastewater systems should be carried out from a provider and from a consumer perspective, both at the same time. Modernized mixtures can be identified as those late-modern socio-technical configurations (of wastewater infrastructures) in which various features of simple modern systems have been deliberately and reflexively reconstructed to deal with contemporary social, economic and environmental challenges. In chapter 3, six strategic variables were identified to conceptualize modernized mixtures from a systemic perspective. These variables are: technical scale; degree of differentiation of water flows; management scale; citizen-participation; degree of choice; and in-use involvement. The quick-scan of empirical cases (chapter 5) and the in-depth study of selected pilot projects (chapter 6 and 7) has shown that these variables are relevant to characterize the differences between the empirical cases. While these systemic variables have been well-documented in other studies, it was less well-known what could be relevant variables from an everyday-life perspective. Therefore, in chapter 6 and 7, the concepts of trust and identity, identified in chapter 3, have been used as sensitizing concepts to investigate the citizen-consumer dimensions of modernized mixtures. The results of the case study research enable us to formulate five dimensions of wastewater systems that are relevant from an end-user perspective: Degree of normality of water practices Conventional domestic water practices have a very high degree of normality or taken-for-grantedness. Notwithstanding this highly routinized and taken-forgranted character, citizen-consumers can also use innovations in domestic water practices for reasons other than pure functionality. They can relate themselves to others and see innovations as status symbols to show off a ‘sustainable’ or ‘modern’ identity. In citizen-consumer driven experiments such distinction is often the result of deliberate efforts of the citizens’ groups and NGOs setting up the project. In expert-led experiments social distinction between end-users is often an unintended (and under-explored) result of the introduction of innovations.

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The process of identity formation of end-users towards other end-users has started to change. Under conditions of simple modernity all end-users were captive consumers making use of comparable systems. If social distinction through domestic water practices took place, this was merely negative distinction: a household that does not comply with the cleaning schedule which is considered ‘normal’ distinguished itself in a negative way. In late modern infrastructures a component of positive identity (positive from the point of view of the end-user in question) has emerged: feeling ‘better’ than others. Domestic water practices have become a highly tabooed subject and a status symbol at the same time, and now also the greening of domestic water practices has entered the identity playing game. Connectedness with nature End-users can use domestic water practices as a way to connect with nature and as a way to combat nature. The wish to connect with nature is most clearly visible in citizen-consumer driven experiments, although it also occurs in expert-led experiments. Through composting toilets, reed-bed filters or ‘Living Machines’, citizen-consumers want to ‘restore’ (sometimes ‘imitate’ or ‘replace’) their bonds with nature. In some of the citizen-consumer driven projects this connectedness with nature was the result of the wish to integrate wastewater management systems in the green environment (while it has been used for demonstrative purposes as well). Expert-led experiments can also be ‘nature connected’. An example is the use of a relatively vulnerable anaerobic treatment system in one pilot project. However, in this case the applied innovation does not ‘communicate’ this ‘natureconnectedness’ (and the message ‘do not throw in chlorine’) to end-users. This communicative ability of technologies depends on their modes of access and provisioning as well: for instance, do end-users get proper information? Are they actively involved in the maintenance of the system? Not everyone wants to connect with nature. Others may want to connect with nature but at the same time have a wish for a convenient, easy to use wastewater management system. And still others may prefer a trendy high-tech system. This way the wish to connect with nature (or not) is part of end-users self-identity. Dependencies between end-users To what extent has the behavior of one end-user a direct influence on that of others? In many cases wastewater innovations lead to more direct dependencies between households. ‘Misbehavior’ can affect other households in the same neighborhood making use of the same treatment system. In expert-led experiments

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these interdependencies are there, but they are seen as something to be ‘avoided’ or ‘disguised’. In citizen-consumer driven experiments they are more often seen as something positive. This means that from an end-user perspective four forms of trust are of relevance: besides trust in technologies and trust in the expert systems providing these technologies, also trust among end-users themselves and trust of providers in end-users has become relevant. When shaping socio-technical systems, also these trust relations – and their relative importance – are being shaped. In-use involvement In-use involvement refers to whether people take up extra tasks in the use and management of sanitation systems. From a systemic perspective the question is whether end-users should be given extra responsibilities when compared to conventional systems/situations. From an end-user perspective the question is how household members divide tasks; whether they can fit extra tasks into their daily routines and whether they have the necessary skills to carry them out. Environmental innovations that do not require extra in-use involvement are the exception rather than the rule. Most innovations require at least some degree of conscious awareness (e.g. not using chlorine containing products). In citizenconsumer driven experiments the extra tasks involved are sometimes more extensive as residents take up responsibilities with regard to maintenance and repair of reed-bed filters or (in some cases) composting toilets. The variable in-use involvement refers to the end-user’s identity as a co-producer/co-manager. Power of end-users vis-à-vis systems of provision Environmental innovations differ in the degree to which they empower citizenconsumers. In case of highly grid-connected systems, implemented in a top-down fashion, the power of individual citizen-consumers to influence these systems is relatively low. Theoretically, this power is higher in case of stand-alone artefacts for which end-users can choose individually. The latter possibility was, however, not observable in the empirical cases in chapter 6 and 7, although several technological alternatives offer the possibility for empowerment of the citizenconsumer. This illustrates that the idea of uniform provision of wastewater systems is deeply rooted. Another variable influencing the power of end-users is the degree of citizenparticipation (e.g. when setting up a new neighborhood). In their role as citizens, end-users can influence systems of provision deliberately. In citizen-consumer driven experiments the role of end-users is often that of a conscious citizen. They have an outspoken role as a change agent. In expert-led experiments end-users are

196 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

often portrayed as captive consumers only. These projects were often more successful if more power was given to end-users. Conclusion As visualized in figure 8.1, innovation in wastewater infrastructures opens up a whole playground of possibilities as to how domestic water practices can be shaped. After extensive empirical elaboration, these domestic water practices have been specified and approached from an end-user perspective (right side of the figure). We have been able to translate the concepts of trust and identity into five strategic variables that conceptualize domestic water practices from an end-user perspective. The figure shows the tensions that late modern wastewater infrastructures involve. The role of end-users becomes more pluralistic. Although the captive consumer will not immediately be extinguished, the importance of other consumer identities will increase.

Full participation

High in use involvement

Approaching the systemic end-user variables from an everyday-life perspective

Centralized management Combined water flows

Solidarity/communality between end-users part of well- functioning technology

End-users coresponsible for production, management and maintenance

Power of citizen consumers low

Functionality dominant over social distinction

Distinction dominant over functionality Practice connected to nature

Empowered citizenconsumers are crucial change agents

End-users are passive users

Individualized technology

Nature disconnected practice

Everyday-life perspective

Figure 8.1: Domestic water practices seen from a systemic perspective and translated into an everyday-life perspective

= Systemic view on end-user variables: • Offering participation • Offering choice • Shaping in-use involvement

Highly decentralized technology

High degree of choice

Decentralized management

Differentiated water flows

Low in use involvement

No participation

Low degree of choice

Highly centralised technology

Systemic perspective

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8.5 Epilogue Wastewater infrastructures and reflexive modernization How can we understand the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures? Providers and end-users gradually become aware of the environmental and social side effects of the wastewater management systems they make use of. The niche level dynamics mark the start of a diversification of wastewater systems and practices. There is no single direction of change, neither a clear cut formula to prescribe certain water systems and practices and discourage others. Rather, innovation in wastewater infrastructures means the deliberate and reflexive reconstruction of wastewater infrastructures due to social, economic and environmental challenges. The projects and innovations analyzed in this study were all (partly) initiated out of concern for the environment. This illustrates that ecological restructuring of wastewater infrastructures is taking place. In accordance with the basic premise of ecological modernization theory we can observe an ecological rationality in the wastewater field, affecting both providers and consumers of wastewater services. Ecological concerns are, however, continuously weighed against other (economic, social) rationalities leading to different outcomes varying in time and place. In other words: wastewater infrastructures undergo a process of ecologically inspired reflexive modernization. We can identify the places that will most likely be affected first by this process of reflexive modernization. On the one hand there are the classical opportunities which water managers themselves see: new residential areas; office buildings (of – for example – governments or NGOs); or remote areas where conventional sewage connections are least efficient. On the other hand modules of small-scale technologies can be linked up with existing systems in many innovative ways. Providers and consumers have to find new balances between different dimensions. And this will inevitably lead to dilemmas. Actors setting up pilot projects may prefer systems that are exciting and safe at the same time. Consumers may want systems that are affordable and sustainable, without compromising on the desired level of comfort, cleanliness and convenience. Citizens, NGOs and environmental engineers may want to counter the depletion of global phosphorus resources. But does it make sense to do this by recycling human nutrients in The Netherlands (a country with negative prices for animal manure; Van Vliet, 2006b)? These examples illustrate that in the wastewater field, as in many other societal domains, there is no ‘objectively provable’ best direction for change. Experts may find out that, confronted with others’ points of view, the value of their expertise comes to stand in a different light. End-users will discover that domestic water

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practices are part of the wide range of social practices which they have to shape deliberately and reflexively. To put it bluntly, under conditions of reflexive modernization one not only has to choose where to work; whom to marry (if at all) and whether or not to travel long air-miles to a holiday destination (and whether or not to compensate for CO2 emissions). One also has to decide how to deal with one’s wastewater. Fuelling future research agendas The outcomes of this study give inspiration for further research and teach lessons to take into account in new research projects. First, it is possible to extend this research project to other geographical regions. Such extension introduces a comparative perspective and tests the validity of the used theoretical concepts in other contexts. Other social, technical and political landscapes include different states of affairs with regard to existing material infrastructures, water governance structures, degree of economic development, overall societal relationships (e.g. between state, market and civil society) and – last but not least – availability and quality of water resources. A second extension of this study is to shift the focus to the role of end-users in the greening of other forms of (physical) network-bound consumption. Such a study could focus on the greening of environmentally relevant practices comparing the rationalities of the providers and consumers grouped around these practices. Such an extension helps to further develop the theories used. While the focus of the current study was on the role of end-users, future research could be used to complement the developed theories with a governance aspect. Third, it is possible to extend the research to niche management in other empirical domains (such as the energy field or other network bound services). Network bound services share their character of large technical systems, but they each have their own peculiarities. Furthermore, each of these domains is in another stage of transition. The CNM approach can enhance the niche management of these other domains, and wider application further validates the model. Also an extension towards other (non-network-bound) systems of provision, such as those for food and mobility is a potential object of further research.

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Notes Notes for chapter 1 The most conventional way to deal with wastewater flows is to connect residents to a large-scale network of sewage pipes and wastewater treatment plants. For example, in Europe, in 2002, on average 90% of the population was connected to a sewage system. The countries with the largest connection rates were The Netherlands (99 %), Luxembourg (100 %) and Spain (100 %). But even in the countries with relatively the lowest connection rates, such as Slovenia (63 %), Hungary (62 %), and Slovakia (55 %) the sewage system is the most prominent way to deal with wastewater. Only in Cyprus (35 %) less then halve the population is served by a sewage system. However, being connected to a sewage system does not mean that the collected wastewater is treated. The wastewater of approximately 86 % of the European population receives at least primary treatment in centralised wastewater treatment plants. Primary treatment is the first stage of wastewater treatment in which settleable and floating solids are removed. This step is also referred to as mechanical treatment. Secondary treatment is the kind of wastewater treatment used to convert dissolved and suspended pollutants into a form that can be removed. This kind of wastewater treatment is mostly a combination of biological processes (activated sludge, trickling filters etc.) followed by settling tanks. Tertiary treatment is any level of treatment beyond secondary treatment. Tertiary treatment can include filtration, nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus) removal, and removal of toxic chemicals or metals (www.wef.org). Countries in which a relatively large proportion of the population is served by wastewater treatment plants are The Netherlands (99 %), The United Kingdom (98 %), Luxembourg (95 %) and Germany (93 %). These figures are considerably lower for Malta (13 %), Slovenia (33 %) and Cyprus (35 %). Wastewater collection and treatment based on sewage systems is most prevalent in urbanised areas. Mostly, in areas where such systems are not in place, small-scale systems for wastewater collection and treatment are in use (e.g. in the more remote areas of several countries) or such systems are absent (predominantly in Eastern European countries). Source for all these data: Eurostat. Most figures are 2002 data, however, for some countries only 2001 data (sewage connections in The Netherlands), or 2003 data (sewage connections in Luxembourg) were available. 2 Compared to pre-modern times, water consumption is extremely high. For example, in The Netherlands, in 2004, annual per capita consumption was 123.8 litres per day, one forth of which is used for toilet flushing (Kanne 2005). Consequences of high water consumption can be depletion of groundwater resources above their carrying capacity, causing desiccation of natural reserves, swamps and wetlands. If surface water is used for drinking water production, associated problems are related to the required space for reservoirs and the need to use large amounts of energy and chemicals to make the water fit for drinking. 1

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Flushing toilets with drinking water cannot only be considered as wastage of a valuable resource, but it is also a factor complicating wastewater treatment. Human waste is diluted with large amounts of water, making the treatment process inefficient in terms of capacity use, energy consumption and the overall performance of the treatment process. Furthermore, human waste contains valuable nutrients which are now land filled, incinerated or discharged to open water (leading to anthropogenic eutrophication). The debris with all its nutrients cannot be reused because of the toxic materials that are present in it. 3 In many Western European countries large parts of existing sewage systems need to be repaired or renewed in the near future, involving huge costs for the residents who make use of them. In Germany, total investments ‘in the short- and mid-term’, necessary to replace 17 % of existing sewage systems, may amount to 45 Billion Euros (Berger et al. 2002). With 82.4 million inhabitants (first quarter of 2006, http://www.destatis.de/indicators/e/vgr910ae.htm) total per capita costs will amount to 550 Euros. In The Netherlands, a permanent increase in the annual per capita costs for sewer maintenance of 125 Euros (from 125 Euros in 2006 to 250 Euros in 2010) is envisaged (Rioned 2005). At the same time, some remote areas cannot be connected to the sewage system, so another solution should be found for them. 4 The concern over the contamination of surface water with medicines and hormone residues present in the effluent of wastewater treatment plants is a relatively new issue (e.g. www.VEWIN.nl). Although these substances are present in surface water bodies, for example in The Netherlands (Derksen et al. 2003; Mons et al. 2000) the problems associated with pharmaceuticals and hormone residues are not yet urgent. However, water supply companies indicated that this problem will become more pressing in the near future (Mels et al. 2005). For example, due to an ageing population in many Western European countries, an increase in the use of medicines can be expected (H2O 2003) leading to a worsening of the problem. This can pose a risk to humans (e.g. when it comes to the quality of drinking water resources, which are often surface water bodies) as well as to aquatic life (e.g. www.environment-agency.gov.uk). 5 This research project was part of the Dutch EET-DESAR project. This is a multi-disciplinary research program carried out by a consortium of universities, companies and Dutch municipalities, chaired by Wageningen University and funded by an inter-ministerial programme called EconomieEcologieTechnologie (EET). This research program is sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs; the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and The Environment; and The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The DESAR research program aims to bring technologies that have proven environmental performance on a laboratory scale to the level of houses, apartments and institutional buildings. The overall result should be to have ‘sufficient knowledge to implement DESAR on larger scales (new residential areas, institutional buildings) as to minimize energy consumption, maximize energy productions and to reuse nutrients, organic matter and treated grey water in a hygienic and environmentally sound way. In the overall project several scientific disciplines participated: environmental engineers, architects, and environmental social scientists. Next to these scientific sub-projects, the

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program included the planning and implementation of two pilot projects (one of which, the project in Sneek, has been actually implemented at the time of writing). Within these projects, environmental engineers collaborate with several societal actors to set up these projects. Was the EET-DESAR program a multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary or transdisciplinary research program? Multi-disciplinarity means that a question is looked at from several disciplines side by side, without integrating the different insights. It is hard to define where the boundary with Inter-disciplinary research lies, but in general inter-disciplinarity means that more interaction and integration is strived for. Trans-disciplinary research means that academic researchers approach an issue in close collaboration with stakeholders from outside the university who are involved in the issue (De Boer et al. 2007). According to these definitions, the pilot projects within the EET-DESAR program can be seen as forms of trans-disciplinary research. The various research projects can be seen as inter-disciplinary cooperation. Exchange of ideas took place at several plenary meetings, without really influencing the various scientific research projects.

Notes for chapter 2 The following quote by one of the founders of the DESAR-project is a striking illustration of such thinking: ‘Implementation of sustainable decentralized sanitation technology is hampered by many non-technical barriers. Institutional changes and objective education of end-users are needed to overcome these barriers’ (Professor Gatze Lettinga, personal communication).

6

Notes for chapter 3 This is only one of the adaptations and reformulations ecological modernization theory has undergone in the course of the years. Other issues include the changing roles of state, market and civil society actors and their mutual relationships; and changing discursive practices and ideologies in the course of the years. A current challenge is to adequately deal with globalization from an ecological modernization perspective. For a recent overview of the development of the theory, see: Van Den Burg 2006. 8 Dutch examples are respectively ‘Consumentenbond’, (general consumer affairs), ‘Stichting de Ombudsman’ (consumer law), ANWB (cars, traveling), ‘Vereniging Eigen Huis’ (house ownership), ‘Goede Waar en Co’ (human, animal and environmental aspects of consumption). Source: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_org/associations/index_en.htm. 9 The privatization discussion also takes place within the wastewater field. Recently a Dutch Water Board engaged in a BOT (Building, Operation, Transfer) contract with a private water company. This move towards privatized modes of provision in the wastewater field led to much debates amongst Dutch water managers, as the notion that water and wastewater 7

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services should be delivered through a public mode of provision is strongly culturally embedded in the Dutch water world (Vollaard 2007). 10 Compare Sztompka’s discussion on ‘normative coherence’ and ‘accountability of persons and institutions’. 11 Compare Sztompka’s discussion on ‘familiarity’.

Notes for chapter 4 Otnes describes an ordinary day as a continuous process of connecting to and disconnecting from various socio-material infrastructures (numbered one to thirteen, e.g. ‘one’ is the broadcasting agencies which we connect with through ‘the alarm clock terminal’, ‘two’ is the public sewage system which we access through the ‘toilet terminal’, ‘three’ is the water works via the ‘wash basin terminal’; ‘four’ is the electricity system accessed through the ‘kitchen stove terminal’ etcetera.). See also: Otnes, 1988. 13 In France a ubiquitous model is to have the ownership of water utilities in the hands of municipal authorities. These authorities give private companies concessions to operate these utilities for a fixed term, after which a new tendering procedure starts. In the Netherlands, water supply companies operate as publicly owned companies (provincial governments being the main shareholders). Benchmarking is used as a means to increase efficiency. Wastewater management is completely in the hands of public authorities. In Germany and the Nordic countries all water and wastewater works are publicly owned, in Germany with a large degree of inter-municipal cooperation. In many countries goods and services (pipes, plumbers) are provided by private companies, but the central part of the infrastructures is mostly in public hands (Juuti et al. 2005). 14 In The Netherlands, at the end of the 1990s, water companies were explicitly denominated environmental companies which management is best carried out in a public mode of provision (Van Vliet, 2002). 15 However, in Delft the last barrel was collected in 1974 and in Alkmaar in 1985 (De Graaf 2006). 16 For example Groningen, Leeuwarden, Harlingen and Zwolle. 17 It is no coincidence that Dutch water managers until the present day refer to domestic wastewater and wastewater from industries as ‘dry weather discharge’. 18 Most English sewers were built after 1900, those in The Netherlands mostly between the 1930s and 1950s, those in Germany between 1900 and 1950 19 In Germany from the 1900s onwards as part of comprehensive long term planning processes; in The Netherlands from the 1930s onwards) but the real rise in wastewater treatment was not to come until the 1970s after the Surface Water Pollution Act was adopted in 1969. 20 From the 1950s onwards water quantity and water quality Boards started to merge, their total number declining from 2500 in 1950 until 37 in 2004. Although wastewater treatment works were built from the 1930s onwards, it took some time before the building of treatment 12

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plants really took off. In the 1950s wastewater treatment capacity was approximately 1 million p.e. (peoples’ equivalent); in the 1960s approximately 2 million p.e. After the wastewater treatment act was issued in 1969 wastewater treatment capacity rose sharply to 20 million p.e. in 1980, and 27 million p.e. in 2004 (Juuti et al. 2005). 21 Germany is another example. The main pattern of development is comparable to that in The Netherlands, yet water supply and wastewater management are more integrated. Another typically German feature is the comparably long time horizon adopted by German planners (Juuti et al. 2005). 22 In The Netherlands the washing machine only became more widespread in the 1950s, lagging 50 years behind the application of toilets and baths. By the year 1970, over 80 % of Dutch households had a private washing machine at their disposal and contemporary figures are far over 90 %. 23 Needless to say that this does not occur in practice. There are several ways in which there is unwanted exchange between water system and water chain: sewer overflows in case of heavy rainfall and infiltration of groundwater into the sewage system are two examples. 24 Nevertheless, the formal responsibility for wastewater treatment lies with the provinces. 25 On 1st January 2005, 4,3 % of hardened surface in Dutch municipalities was disconnected from the sewage system. This percentage is expected to increase to 5,7% by the year 2010 (Rioned 2003). Theoretically, it could be possible, in the long term, to disconnect approximately 20 % (Mels et al. 2005a). 26 For The Netherlands the Scheldt, Meuse, Rhine and Ems rivers. 27 www.europa.eu.int/comm.environment/water/water-framework/index_eng.html 28 With this decision, Dutch policy differed from countries such as the United Kingdom, in which the regional water authorities (responsible for drinking water provision and sewage treatment) were privatized as regional monopolies. This saved governments many investments, but it has led to considerable price increases for consumers and relatively high profits for water companies (Kuks 2004).

Notes for chapter 5 What happens during participatory observation (and in many other different ways) marks a fundamental distinction between technical and social science research. The findings of social science research influence the phenomenon under investigation (as opposed to – for example – natural laws which do not change because of the fact that the researcher reveals them). This notion of ‘double hermeneutic’ (Giddens 1976) means that social science research is continuously fed back to society. Directly, if social actors attend conferences or read publications; indirectly if media give attention to research findings or if social science concepts become adopted by a wider public. 30 All quotes used in chapter 6 are literal transcriptions of the wordings used by the interviewees, translated in English if necessary. If no explicit reference to individual interviews is made, the text should be seen as the author’s analysis/interpretation of the

29

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course of affairs in the projects discussed, based on the interviews, attended project meetings, minutes of these meetings as well as supplementary desk research. Responsibility for these analyses of course lies with the author, not with the interviewees.

Notes for chapter 6 For more information: see www.desar.nl; Lens et al., 2001. Interview with Kirsten Zagt, 2nd September 2004. 33 Interview with Jaap Albrecht, Emmen, 21st September, 2004. 34 Interview with Bertus Veltman, Emmen, 24th June, 2004. 35 Interview with Adrie Mastelink, Arcadis, Apeldoorn, 19th October 2004. 36 Interview with Bart Hoitink, 8th July 2004. 37 Because the people present wrote down their dreams an nightmares on yellow notes, anonymously, it is not possible to find out ‘on whose side’ (provider – consumer) the comment writer is. 38 All quotes are translations (by author) from the Dutch language. 39 Interview with Bertus Veltman, municipality of Emmen, 24th June 2004. 40 Water innovation is the spearhead of the province of Friesland’s economic policy. This province claims to host extensive expertise in water quantity and water quality issues: large parts of the province are below sea level, so keeping the water out has always been important in this province, while there is a large concentration of expertise regarding ‘applied water technology’ (www.wateralliance.nl). 41 However, there is maybe some degree of misrepresentation because four families refused to participate in the research. It is very well possible that their participation/refusal to participate is related to their opinion of the DESAR system. Two of the four families who refused to participate indicated that the toilets make a lot of noise but that they are otherwise satisfied with it. Taking these statements literally, one would assume that these residents are generally on the positive side. But interpreting their non-participation as a statement of disapproval, one can also add them to the negative side. Either way, the residents turn out to be far more positive about their new sanitation system than a first look at the seriousness of the noise problems (as perceived by the project team and by the residents) suggests. 42 The residents were also asked whether they knew of innovations in sanitation before they knew of the system in their new house. None of them did. Only one respondent indicated that he was familiar with vacuum toilets in airplanes, which is however not intended as an environmental innovation. 43 These answers are all based on the perception of the residents and they turned out to be unjustified. In November 2006 the project leader carried out an inventory of the water consumption in this neighbourhood and it turned out that all residents have lower water consumption (litres per person per day) than residents with a ‘conventional’ sanitary system. Water consumption in the DESAR project in Sneek ranges from 29 to 107 litres per

31

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person per day (measured and calculated by reading the water meters of 12 households and combining total water use with information on the number of family members and the time that went by since they moved into their house). To compare, average domestic water consumption in The Netherlands amounts approximately 126 litres per person per day (Dutch Watermuseum, 2001). 44 The project leaders state that the predominantly centralised sanitation solutions which are in use in most Western urbanised centres are mostly not a feasible solution for developing countries, basically because: 1) these solutions are often not affordable for poorer countries and 2) there is often a shortage rather than an abundance of water (Hiessl et al., 2002). 45 http://www.isi.fraunhofer.de/pr/2003de/pri10/pri10.htm 46 i) Investments, reinvestment and lifetime costs; ii) Local market situation; iii) Regional market situation; iv) Structure of the market; v) Investment climate; vi) Export potential; vii) Possibility to remove the system; viii) Possibility to link up new technologies; ix) Problems with re-conversion; x) Potential for synergies; xi) Reliability (frequency of damage); xii) Vulnerability (severity of damage); xiii) Resilience (duration of damage). 47 i) Comfort of maintenance and use by inhabitants; ii) Equity of fees; iii) Own responsibility of inhabitants; iv) Public health consequences; v) Consequences for employment conditions; vi) Vulnerability to wrong decisions; vii) Acceptance of the technology; viii) Quality of the living environment; ix) High-water risk; x) Intergenerational justice; xi) Applicability in other climates; xii) Applicability in developing countries. 48 i) Removal of remaining substances; ii) Recovery of nutrients (N, P, K); iii) Production of biogas; iv) Soil improvement; v) Recycling of material; vi) Energy consumption; vii) Drinking water consumption; viii) Chronical pressure of contaminants on surface water; ix) Acute pressure of contaminants on surface water; x) constraints for natural habitats; xi) Origination of groundwater resources; xii) Groundwater depletion; xiii) Groundwater contamination; xiv) ‘Greenhouse gas’ emissions. 49The Swedish Environmental Code (1999), states (in article 2.5) that ‘Persons who pursue an activity or take a measure shall conserve raw materials and energy, and reuse and recycle them wherever possible. Preference shall be given to renewable energy sources.’ (Swedish Environmental Code, English Translation). Several municipalities have adopted this principle and have started to implement it. 50The recycling office is a municipal planning agency dealing with the long term planning of waste(water) recycling. Several municipalities in Sweden have such a recycling office. 51 Whereas the main responsibility of the Recycling Office is the long term planning with regard to resource management in the municipality, the sewage and water department’s task is the proper management and maintenance of the implemented systems. 52 Interview with Pascal Karlsson, 22nd August 2005. 53 However, kitchen waste disposers were implemented. In every kitchen, there are two kitchen sinks: one for grey water removal and one for removing a mixture of water and grinded kitchen waste. This part of the (waste) water system in the house does involve significant changes in day to day practices of citizen-consumers. 54 interview with Pascal Karlsson, 22nd August, 2005.

208 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Van Betuw (2005) interviewed five residents in the Skogaberg area and asked them: ‘does the wastewater management system make you feel environmentally concerned?’ with ‘always (0)’, ‘very often (1)’, ‘sometimes (2)’, ‘a little bit (3)’ and ‘not at all (4)’ as possible answers. The average score was 1 (very often). The report does not indicate whether and to what extent the opinions of the residents differ. In a similar way the residents were asked about their opinion of the visible part of the wastewater management system and their answers were on average neutral ‘not disturbing’ (Van Betuw 2005). 56 This claim can be explained in two different ways: 1) The system does not communicate (or ‘script’) environmentally relevant behaviour of residents because of its conventional outlook. This is a risk because the system requires some degree of conscious awareness, but through the way it looks it does not communicate this to the end-users; 2) the wastewater system does not communicate that it is an environmental innovation and also in other ways it does not add to the visual quality of the built environment. In other words: the fact that the system looks conventional means that an opportunity is missed to find a positive leverage point for a sustainable wastewater system. It is not clear which one of these claims is valid in the case of the interviewed architect. 57 In Germany water and energy services are often provided by such so-called ‘Stadtwerke’ which provide these network bound services at city level. 58 Meeting with Uwe Klaus, visit to Oeko Technik Park, 6th of June 2005. 59 www.oeko-technik-park.de; 27th July 2005; my translation. 60 Interview with Uwe Klaus 10th June 2005. 61 As we argued in chapter 2, a wide range of criteria for ‘success’ or ‘failure’ can be given: showing that a certain technology works; the presence of higher order learning by certain societal actors (project developers; citizen-consumers; Waterboards etc). This means that the answer to the question ‘what is success?’ cannot be given in a straightforward way. If we speak, in chapter 6 and 7, about ‘success’ or ‘failure’, we refer to the ‘common-sense’ meaning of the term (i.e. a functioning technology/technological system is in place), without refraining from giving a more nuanced elaboration on ‘success’ and ‘failure’ later on. 62 Meeting with Grietje Zeeman, 21st December 2005. 63 Some actors even term this phenomenon ‘interview moeheid’ (Dutch for: interview tiredness). 64 The most widely used reason to be positive about the presence of the project leader in the neighbourhood is that ‘he has the same problems as we have’. A secondary reason is that it is in principle possible to approach him in case of problems. However, only four interviewees actually approached the project leader themselves. This signals that the presence of the project leader in the neighbourhood is mostly of symbolic rather than practical value for the residents. 65 EVA-Lanxmeer, Oeko-Technik- Park, the Vauban area at large. 66 For example, in The Netherlands, the urine separation technology is applied in several pilot projects in houses (e.g. in Sleen, where houses for elderly people are equipped with this technology); in places that are accessible for the public (e.g. in Meppel the technology has been applied in an atelier annex shop); in the office building of one of the Waterboards,

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while plans for application in a hospital are in preparation. These projects focus on the enduser, that is the person who actually uses the toilet. The projects can be seen as ‘controlled experiments’ since other aspects of the implementation of this technology are controlled as much as possible (the toilets are applied at places where they can be cleaned and repaired by professionals; the other parts of the ‘urine-reuse chain’ – treatment of the urine, reuse in agriculture – are experimented with somewhere else. These experiments can be seen as ‘Strategic Niche Management’ experiments in the initial meaning of the term. The controlled set-up of these experiments, the focus on promising niches (office buildings, hospitals – note that urine contains the majority of medicine residues! – as well as the strategic coordination of the projects by a special ‘task force’ (the Koepelgroep Ontwikkeling Nieuwe Sanitatie Systemen) makes the urine separation movement look promising. The approach, however, has two possible downsides: i) in some projects the collected urine is not treated but – later on – mixed with other wastewater flows, mainly because the focus of these experiments is on the use of the toilet. How will end-users react when they discover this? Will they feel themselves used as a ‘Guinea Pig’?; ii) the experiments focus on one overarching storyline, which translates as: ‘urine separation is a modern, hi-tech, solution for problems in wastewater infrastructures’. Related to this, it is maintained that the technology should be robust, absolutely fool-proof, and that it should ‘look modern’. Although this is a path worthwhile to explore, there is also the risk that path-dependency is created before other possible pathways have been fully explored. One can think of designing, in consultation with end-users, technological artefacts different from the currently dominant design of urine separating toilets. 67 This conclusion is similar to what can be observed in broader debates about sustainable housing and sustainable dwelling (Bouwmeester 2002). Within these broader debates it was recently acknowledged that environmental innovation in the built environment comprises much more than just implementing new technologies in houses, and pitfalls similar to those which can be observed in the expert-led experiments mentioned in this chapter were identified: projects are cancelled, implemented technologies do not fit the routines and rationalities of citizen-consumers, and the residents’ view on the innovations turns out to differ radically from the providers’ perspective. Another similarity with these broader debates about sustainable dwelling is that the introduction of environmental innovations does have an impact on citizen-consumers. This impact can be a positive one: even if residents were previously unaware of sustainable innovations, they can become very favourable towards them if there are perceived benefits of these innovations. The notion of ‘perceived’ benefits signals that more is at stake than the plain functioning of technological artefacts. Within broader debates about sustainable housing and sustainable dwelling it is now acknowledged that citizen-consumer rationalities should be taken into account more.

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Notes for chapter 7 The results of this case study are partly based on research carried out by Nanke Stein (March 2003). She conducted interviews with fifteen residents. I carried out additional empirical research in autumn 2004. My interviews are referred to by mentioning the date of the interview and the name of the interviewee. The interviews of Nanke Stein are referred to anonymously. 69 Interview with Jan Goed, 5th November 2004. 70 Interview with Carla De Jonge, 7th October 2004. 71 Interview with Jan Hanhart, 7th October 2004. 72 Interview with Jan Goed, 6th November 2004. 73 It is true that vacuum toilets also use water. The main difference with flushing toilets is that the water is only used to clean the toilet, not to transport the waste. That is why the amount of water which each ‘flush’ requires is much lower than in flushing toilets. 74 Interview with Carla de Jonge, Culemborg, 7th October 2004. 75 Interview with Jan Goed, 5th November 2004. 76 Interview with Carla de Jonge, 7th October 2004. 77 Interview with Jan Goed, 5th November 2004. 78 Interview with Carla de Jonge, 7th October 2004. 79 Interview with Carla De Jonge, 7th October 2004. 80 Interview with Jan Hanhart, 7th October 2004. 81 Both the first (55 houses) and the second phase (44 houses) of the EVA-Lanxmeer project consist of two ‘Hoven’. Only these two phases were realized at the time of interviewing. Of the 172 houses which were completed at the end of 2005, 110 were grouped around such Hoven, while the others were not (V&L Consultants, 2006). 82 Signboards are placed next to these reed-bed filters, to inform passers by about the reason why they are placed and the way they function. 83 Interview with Jan Hanhart, 7th October 2004. 84 Interview with Jan Goed, 5th November 2004. 85 The Ecological Sanitation concept is not included in the name of the project (Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten). A ‘Passivhaus’ is a building with a very low energy consumption for heat production (although definitions of what is ‘low’ vary). ‘Wohnen und Arbeiten’ (dwelling and working) refers to the objective to integrate living and working in the same building. 86 http://www.freiburg.de/5/0/5/index.php, visited 5th August, 2005. 87 Interview with Andreas Delleske, 18th February 2005. 88 Interview with Andreas Delleske, 18th February 2005. 89 Telephone interview with Jörg Lange, 22nd February 2005. 90 One resident enhanced the visibility of his vacuum pipes by replacing the rear wall of the toilet with a transparent panel, so that every visitor could see the system. 91 Interview with Andreas Delleske, 18th February 2005. 68

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92 In principle it would have been possible for the municipality to exercise influence here through giving particular orders or requirements to the project developer. However, the municipality was not interested in this. 93 Interview with Jan van Dijk, 17th May 2004. 94 Interview with Elzo Bruggers, in: Cuijpers, 2006. 95 Interview with Jan van Dijk, in Cuijpers, 2006.

Notes for chapter 8 The distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments was specifically developed for the purpose of this study, which – as one of its central aims – looked into the role of end-users in the greening of sanitary systems. Other ways to distinguish between projects would have enabled less to analyze and understand this enduser dimension. For instance, a characterization according to technologies – a way of distinguishing between projects which many authors use – would have distracted the attention away from consumer-provider relations. 96

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226 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Appendix 1: Quick scan of pilot projects with innovation in domestic wastewater management Explanation to the table The list below presents a quick scan of Dutch, German and Swedish pilot projects with innovation in domestic wastewater management. These projects are considered ‘niche projects with source oriented collection and local treatment of wastewater’ by the actually involved actors. The list below recurs in existing inventories of scholars and practitioners in which these projects are referred to as: ‘Decentralised Sanitation and Reuse’; ‘Ecological Sanitation’; ‘New Sanitation’; or otherwise. The pilot projects discussed in chapter 6 and 7 have been selected from this list. This list is confined to projects that focus on domestic wastewater management. As opposed to that, the inventory in appendix 2 is broader and includes projects with ‘household water’, ‘disconnection of rainwater’ as well as other forms of innovation in urban water management. The current appendix includes projects that were actually implemented and projects that were cancelled in the planning phase (Stroomdal Emmen; Rustenburg Wageningen). The aim of the overview is to show which socio-technical configurations actually exist ‘in the heads of the project participants’, regardless of whether they exist in practice. The scores were attached by the author based on desk research (for references see appendix 2). It is obvious that these scores do not have mathematical precision. For example, ‘in between’ categories do exist. If black water is treated at an individual level and greywater at neighbourhood level, what score should be given for ‘technological scale’? What if part of the neighbourhood has a composting toilet and the other part not? And what score to give for ‘degree of choice’ if some residents purposively cooperated in the project and helped to initiate it, while others did not have such a say and could only choose (not) to move in?

228 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Technical scale

Degree of differentiation of water flows

Management scale

In use involvement

Degree of choice

Participation in the planning phase

AKWA 2100 Dahler Feld Selm Germany

5

2

3

1

4

3

DEUS21 Am Römerhof Knittlingen, Germany

4

4

3

2

4

1

De Waterspin The Hague, The Netherlands

3

3

3

2

5

5

Drielanden Groningen, Netherlands

2

3

3

2

3

4

Ecopark Emmeloord, Netherlands

2

3

2

2

2

1

Ekoporten Norrköping, Sweden

4

5

4

2

2

1

Eva Lanxmeer Culemborg, The Netherlands

3

4

4

3

3

5

Flintenbreite Lübeck, Germany

2

3

2

2

2

1

Gebers Stockholm, Sweden

3

3

4

5

5

5

Het Groene Dak, Utrecht, The Netherlands

3

4

4

4

5

5

Lambertsmuhle zu Burscheid, Germany

5

5

5

5

4

4

Lemmerweg Oost Sneek, The Netherlands

3

3

3

2

1

2

Oeko Technik Park Hannover, Germany

3

4

4

2

2

1

Palsternackan Stockholm, Sweden

3

3

3

2

2

1

Paper Leaf toilet (non olet), The Netherlands

5

4

5

5

5

5

Polderdrift Arnhem, The Netherlands Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten Germany

3

3

3

3

4

5

4

3

4

2

5

4

Rustenburg Wageningen, The Netherlands

4

3

4

2

2

1

Skogaberg Goteborg, Sweden

3

3

3

1

2

1

Project

Freiburg,

APPENDIX 1 229

Stroomdal Emmen, The Netherlands

3

3

3

2

2

3

Swichum Friesland, The Netherlands

5

2

5

1

5

4

Understenshojden Stockholm, Sweden

3

3

3

2

4

4

Bielefeld Waldquelle, Germany

5

4

4

5

5

5

Meaning of the scores: • technical scale: 1= highly centralised; 5 = highly decentralised; • degree of differentiation of water flows: 1 = combined flows; 5 = highly separated flows; • management scale: 1 = centralised management; 5 = highly decentralised management; • in-use involvement: 1 = low in-use involvement; 5 = high in-use involvement; • degree of choice: 1 = low degree of choice; 5 = high degree of choice; • participation in the planning phase: 1 = no participation; 5 = full participation.

230 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Appendix 2: Overview of pilot projects with innovation in sanitation and urban water management Explanation to the table The table below provides a broad overview of pilot projects involving innovation in urban water management. The table includes the ‘domestic wastewater management’ projects depicted in appendix 1 as well as projects dealing with (amongst others) wastewater management in office buildings; household water; and disconnection of rainwater. The grey-marked projects have been discussed in more detail in chapter 6 and 7. The following where the main sources for the current inventory: • STOWA inventory. An inventory of practical examples of source separated collection and local treatment of wastewater in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden: Mels, A.R., Zeeman, G. and Bisschops, I., 2005: ‘Brongerichte inzameling en lokale behandeling van afvalwater’, Utrecht: STOWA; • Oekosiedlungen website. The website www.oekosiedlungen.de contains a list of more than 150 eco-villages in Germany. In many of them, environmental innovation in sanitation and (waste) water management is one of the measures implemented (or the only one); • Urban Water. The Swedish Urban Water project (www.urbanwater.org), funded by Mistra (Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental research); • DOMUS inventory. Inventory made in the framework of the DOMUS project: Raman, S., Chappells, H., Klintman, M., and Van Vliet, B., 1998. ‘Inventory of environmental innovations in domestic utilities: The Netherlands, Britain and Sweden - Report for the DOMUS project’, Wageningen: Wageningen University; • Network contacts. As project partners in the DESAR project, we had access to information about pilot-projects that are in the planning phase; • GTZ inventory. The German ‘Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit’ made a list of Ecological Sanitation projects worldwide in which they are

232 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

involved. http://www2.gtz.de/ecosan/english/publications-GTZprojectdatasheets.html. Name and place AKWA 2100 Dahler Feld Selm, Germany

Date 2000current

Initiators (and other actors) Fraunhofer ISI City of Selm, Emschergenossenschaft/ Lippeverband, Essen; Institut für Siedlungswasserwirtscha ft (ISA); Prof. Stein & Partner, Beratende Ingenieure (S&P), Bochum; RuhrForschungsinstitut fur Innovations und Strukturpolitik (RUFIS), Bochum. Group of inhabitants Berger Biotechnik; AWA Ingenieure; Environmental Authority Hamburg; German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing.

Allermöhe Hamburg

1986

Alte Gartnerei Kiel Viehburg, Germany

1998

Block 103 Berlin, Germany

1989

Lokus Wasser recycling City of Berlin, Housing corporation; Technical University of Berlin.

Bostadrättsföre ningen Myrstacken Toarp, Sweden

1992

Malmö Municipality Housing corporation HSB

Description

Sources

A rural area outside of the city of Selm has not been connected to the water mains and the connection with these conventional infrastructures will be too expensive. Themes: House on site system for wastewater treatment, scenario approach.

http://www.i si.fraunhofer. de/ Hiessl et al., 2002.

In an ecological housing area consisting of 36 houses, sustainable wastewater management was implemented. Oldest ecological housing area in Germany. Themes: Composting toilets, reduction of drinking water use, use of helophyte filters, and use of rainwater.

STOWA intentory; GTZ inventory

This is a follow up project for ‘Moorwiesensiedlung’ and consists of 7 houses with urine separating toilets. Themes: Urine separating toilets In an old housing area in Berlin Kreuzberg, greywater is separately collected and treated before it is either reused for toilet flushing or discharged in the sewer. Themes: Separate collection, treatment and reuse of greywater (biological treatment, UV disinfection). In an ecological village in Toarp, consisting of 37 houses, the inhabitants were provided with a reed bed filter (for all houses) and with composting toilets. Due to ‘technical problems’ and ‘insufficient instruction of the inhabitants’, half of the composting toilets had to be replaced with normal flushing toilets. Composted matter is reused for gardening (by the inhabitants themselves). Another problem was that some inhabitants did not like the fact that they had to explain their visitors how to use the toilet. Themes: Ecological village, own source for drinking water,

Municipality of Berlin, 2003; Oekosiedlun gen website; www.graywa ter.com STOWA inventory

APPENDIX 2 233

Braamwisch Hamburg

1996

Group of inhabitants (Verein Ökologische Siedlung Braamwisch)

DEUS21 Am Römerhof Knittlingen, Germany

2004

Fraunhofer IGB; Fraunhofer ISI. City of Knittlingen; Eisenmann Maschinenbau; Kerafol; PS-Planungsgroppe Stadtebau; Roediger GmbH; Schwarting Umwelt

1998

Housing corporation The Hague southeast; Inhabitants association ‘De Waterspin’. Kanters Construction Company; Akabud WDC consultants.

Also: Heidelberg, Germany

De Waterspin The Hague, The Netherlands

Waterboards; Municipalities

Disconnection of rainwater Multiple sites, Netherlands

Drielanden, Groningen, The Netherlands

1995

Association ‘Ecologisch Wonen Groningen Groningen municipality; housing corporation Nijestee

Ecopark Emmeloord, Netherlands

2004

BGM development Haver

project Droeze

own gardens to grow vegetables, local wastewater treatment. Ecological housing area set up by a group of engaged future inhabitants. Themes: Ecological village; sustainable water management: separate collection and treatment of grey water (in reed bed filter) and black water (composting toilets). The inhabitants of this new building area (100 dwellings) are connected to a rainwater supply system and a vacuum sewer. They can choose themselves whether the sewage pipes inside the house are vacuum pipes or conventional sewage pipes. The sewage pipes outside the house are vacuum pipes. Themes: Sustainable water management; rainwater use; membrane technology; vacuum technology; biogas production. An old factory was altered into 39 houses and 9 working ateliers. The future inhabitants themselves contributed much to the project and they themselves run the project. Integrated sustainability approach; separate collection and treatment of grey water (from the washing machine) in a reed bed filter; reuse of treated grey water. By applying several measures (building of so-called WADIs, increasing the number of ponds and ditches in the neighborhood), rainwater is prevented from entering the sewage system. Has turned into official policy and is applied in most new building areas where possible. In 166 houses, sustainability measures (orientation of the houses, water saving measures) are implemented. In one area in the neighborhood (Waterland; 110 households) grey and black water are separately collected and treated. Black water is removed using the municipal sewage system while grey water is purified in a reed bed filter. Themes: Separate collection and treatment of grey water, local treatment of greywater; infiltration of rainwater and purified greywater in the local water system. In an area to the east of Emmeloord, a combination of working places and living units (39 premises) has been built.

www.oekolo gischesiedlungbraamwisch. de; STOWA inventory www.igb.fra unhofer.de/w ww/GF/Wass er/dt/GFWM _215_DEUS_ KN.dt.html

STOWA inventory

Van Vliet, 2002

www.drielan den.nl; STOWA inventory

STOWA inventory; www.Ecopar

234 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Consultancy; Peijnenborgh and Kristinsson architects; Waterboard Zuiderzeeland

Ekoporten Norrköping, Sweden

1995/19 96

Housing corporation Hyrebostäder I Norrköping AB

EVA-Lanxmeer Culemborg, The Netherlands

2000

Inhabitants association EVA-Lanxmeer; EVA foundation Municipality of Culemborg; Waterboard Rivierenland; CORE international; and various others

Flintenbreite Ökologische Wohnsiedlung Lübeck, Germany

2001

Urban planning Lübeck Architektura; Ministry for the environment; Bundesland Schlesswig Holstein; Otterwasser; TU Hamburg Harburg

Gebers Stockholm, Sweden

1998

EKBO (Ecological Collective Living in Orhem). Farm near lake Bornsjön; HSB (National Association of Tenants Savings and Building Societies); Refug Arkitekter; HSB

Amongst a range of sustainability measures, black and grey water are separately collected and greywater is treated in the area. Themes: Ecological working and living; combining working and living; sustainable use of energy; sustainable (waste) water management: separate collection and treatment of greywater (reed bed filters); closed water system; discharge of treated greywater and rainwater in local ponds and ditches. As part of a social refurbishment project in the Porten area in Norrköping, there were experiments with environmental technologies in one of the buildings (18 apartments). Themes: Urine separation, reuse of nutrients in agriculture, composting technology Based on an initiative of citizens, a project with a social and environmental sustainability approach has been set up for 200 inhabitants; sustainable (waste) water management is one out of a whole range of sustainability measures. Themes: Infiltration of rainwater, use of reed bed filter for greywater purification; separate collection of grey and black water. The implementation of a biogas reactor is still in its planning phase. Demonstration project related to the World Expo 2000 in Hamburg. Neighborhood for 350 persons. For the maintenance of the system, a house warden has been attracted who lives on the premises. Themes: Vacuum toilets, biogas production (combination of black water and biowaste); infiltration of rainwater and grey water; water saving appliances. Non-water related themes: heat isolation; community level heating. Bioreactor is still in its start up phase. This ecological housing area consists of 32 apartments (80 inhabitants). Urine is separately collected and treated, before it is reused in a farm. Grey water is not treated locally but led to conventional gravity sewers and the Henriksdals wastewater treatment plant. Themes: Urine separation, reuse of nutrients in agriculture, ecological

k.nl

STOWA inventory

www.evalanxmeer.nl; www.bellanxmeer.nl

www.flinten breite.de; STOWA inventory; GTZ inventory

STOWA inventory; Krantz, 2005; GTZ inventory

APPENDIX 2 235

Stockholm (housing association); HSB Riksförbund; Wost man ecology (supplier of urine separating toilets). Groot Hoog— waak Noordwijk GTZ GmbH Eschborn, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

1996

Het Groene Dak Utrecht

1993

Het nieuwe plassen (The new way of urinating) Meppel

2005

Household water Multiple sites

1997

2005

GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit Pettersson & Ahrens Ingenieur-Planung GmbH; HMULV Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz; BMBF Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; Roediger Vakuum- und Haustechnik; Keramag Keramische Werke Aktiengesellschaft. Inhabitants association ‘t Groene Dak WNM; REMU

Grontmij Consultancy; Van Boeijen (provider of health care); Waterboard Reest en Wieden; Municipality of Meppel; Woonconcept (housing corporation); STOWA. Mostly: water supply companies Municipalities

housing

Rainwater collection, Gustavsberg WSS toilet system

Van Vliet, 2002

GTZ is an international enterprise for international cooperation, working for sustainable development worldwide. As part of the renovation of the main building of the headquarters, a modern system for separate collection and reuse of urine and possibly a treatment and reuse system for black-water will be implemented. Themes: Urine separation; waterless urinals; (reuse of treated urine and compost within the research project).

GTZ inventory

In a housing area consisting of 66 houses, a demonstration project with emphasis for social and environmental sustainability has been implemented. Black and grey water are collected separately; the greywater is treated in reed bed filter and a greenhouse. All the houses use a low flush toilet. Part of the houses (10) had a composting toilet, but these toilets had to be removed (year 2000) due to technical problems. Themes: Sustainable energy use, social sustainability, sustainable water management: composting toilets; reed bed filter; living machine; delivery of treated grey-water to pond. In an atelier, used by mentally disabled people and their supervisors, three urine separating toilets have been applied.

www.groene dak.nl; STOWA inventory

Second piped system providing water for flushing, washing machine and outdoor tap. A way to save drinking water. In 2003 the secretary of state for the environment decided not to facilitate the supply of household water via large

Van Vliet, 2002; Van Geel, 2003; inventory Nanke Stein

STOWA inventory

236 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Otterwasser GmbH Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ); Weimar University; Wupperverband für integrale Wasserwirtschaft; Verein zur Förderung der Lambertsmühle zu Burscheid (project owner); TU Hamburg Harburg; University of Bonn; Hygiene Institution Ruhrgebiet; Institute for water research, university of Duisburg; Rheinisch Bergische Kreis; Rheinisch-Westfalisches Institut für Wasserforschung. Sub-department of environmental engineering, WUR; Landustrie Housing corporation De Wieren/Patrimonium; municipality of Sneek; Roediger GmbH; Frisian Water Board; STOWA Milieuwoning Flevoland Foundation

Lambertsmühle zu Burscheid Burscheid, Germany

2000

LemmerwegOost Sneek

2005

Milieuwoning Flevoland Biddinghuizen Moorwiesensie dlung Kiel, Germany

1996

1992

Ökologische Hassee

Morrapark Drachten

1991

Water supply company, Waterboard, province

Oeko - Technik - Park Hannover,

1995

Water supply company Baubecon Holding (housing corporation);

Siedlung

scale systems (in order to avoid public health risks). Household water was previously implemented in (among others) IJburg (Amsterdam); De Schooten (Den Helder), Tripstraat (Den Haag); Kernhem (Ede), Strijpse Kampen (Oirschot); Noordwest (Wageningen); Leidsche Rijn (Utrecht). For demonstration purposes a decentralized sanitation system has been installed in an old watermill. A family, consisting of four people lives in this mill. The mill is partly used as a museum. Themes: Urine separation; waterless urinals; reuse of urine in agriculture; composting of faeces and reuse in the garden; use of reed bed filters for grey water purification.

www.lamber tsmuehleburscheid.de/ deutsch/lamb ertsmuehle.ht m; Oekosiedlun gen website; STOWA inventory; GTZ inventory

In a group of 32 new rental apartments, a DESAR system will be implemented. Themes: Separation of grey and black water; community-on-site anaerobic treatment of black water.

Project plan

Composting toilet, rainwater treatment.

and

www.milieu woning.nl

Project consisting of 21 houses (single family and double houses). Themes: Sustainable water management, citizen participation, sustainable energy use 32 rental units, 36 private houses. Rainwater collected in local pond, treated by reed plants, maintained by community organization. Disconnection of rainwater As part of the refurbishment of the Sahlkamp area in Hannover, new environmental technologies were

Oekosiedlun gen website

grey-water

Van Vliet, 2002.

STOWA inventory; Visit June

APPENDIX 2 237

Germany

Stadtwerke Hannover A.G.; Epiphanian Church Community; Aquaplaner Ingenieurgesellschaft; Grundschule Hagewiesen; Stadtteilbauernhof Sahlkamp KfW Bankengruppe Ip5 Ingenieurpartnerschaft; RKW Rhode Kellermann Wawrowsky – Architektur. Städtebau; Roediger Vakuumund Haustechik; Weise Water Systems

Office building Frankfurt am Main, Germany Ostarkade

2002

Office building Rijkswaterstaat Terneuzen, The Netherlands

2000

Rijkswaterstaat

Office building; Waterboard Vallei en Eem, Leusden Palsternackan Stockholm, Sweden

1998

Waterboard Eem

1995

Stockholm Water

Paper leaf toilet (Non Olet) Boxtel

20012002

‘De Twaalf Ambachten’ Foundation

Polderdrift Arnhem, The Netherlands

1996

NUON (energy supplier); housing corporation Gelderland Inhabitants; ‘Rivierenland’ Water

Vallei

en

implemented in a church, a housing area, a farm and a primary school. Aim was to test relatively new technologies in practice and to educate the inhabitants of the project. Themes: Aerobic bio reactors; vacuum toilets; reed bed filters; heat, electricity, education. This office building is part of a complex of office buildings of the KfW Bankengruppe and has recently been renovated. As part of the renovation project, ecological technologies were implemented. Blackwater is not treated and used due to ‘local regulations and the complexity of reuse’. A grey-water and rainwater system is in preparation. Themes: Vacuum technology (toilets and urinals); separate collection and treatment of grey-water. In an office building of Rijkswaterstaat, black and grey water are treated separately. Themes: Separate collection and treatment of black (septic tank and reed bed filter) and grey water (reed bed filter). Use of grey water for toilet flushing. Grey-water system with reed bed filter, reuse of treated grey-water for toilet flushing.

This housing area consists of 51 rental apartments. Urine is reused in agriculture whereas faeces and greywater are transported to a wastewater treatment plant. Themes: Ecological housing area, urine separation. The ‘Non Olet’ (Latin: ‘Does not smell’) is a dry composting toilet which can be bought as a stand alone device. A group of 20 people has experimented with the toilets in 2001—2002 and interested consumers can buy the toilet or build them themselves (with help of the inventor). Themes: Ecological Sanitation; composting toilet In the development phase of this project, consisting of 40 rental apartments, inhabitants were invited to collaborate with the housing corporation. Themes: Separate collection and local

2005; www.oekotechnikpark.de; GTZ inventory

GTZ inventory

STOWA inventory; www.rijksge bouwendiens t.nl

Inventory Nanke Stein

STOWA inventory

http://www.d e12ambachte n.nl/

STOWA inventory

238 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Board

Passivhaus ‘Wohnen und Arbeiten’ Freiburg, Germany

1998

Baugruppe Wohnen und Arbeiten Fraunhofer ISE, Roediger Vacuum technology, Mall Umweltsysteme

Rain water use Multiple sites in Berlin, Germany

1990-

Owners of buildings

Rustenburg Wageningen, The Netherlands

2001

DESAR project team Municipality of Wageningen; Lettinga Associates Foundation; NUON; TU Delft

Skogaberg Göteborg, Sweden

2004

City of Göteborg: Recycling board (= planning agency aimed at innovation in the recycling of water and waste; City of Göteborg: Water and Sewage board (= department consisting of water and sewage practitioners); Egnahemsbolaget: a real estate company; GRYAAB, the Regional Sewage Works of the Göteborg municipality Research institutes: Chalmers University of Technology, University

treatment of grey water; reuse of treated grey water. Also other themes: social sustainability; heat isolation; use of sustainable materials. Part of the sustainable housing area Vauban. Groups of citizens are encouraged to carry out their own initiatives in this area. Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten is an apartment building consisting of approximately 20 dwellings. Black water is treated in a biogas reactor (not yet functioning) while greywater is treated in a membrane reactor and infiltrated after purification. Vacuum toilets are used for the collection of black water. Two inhabitants of the house are Ecosan experts (Jörg Lange and Arne Panesar). In many single buildings and office buildings, rainwater is used as second quality water. The municipality of Berlin published a booklet with 17 of such examples in Berlin and states that rainwater use has ‘both economical and ecological advantages’ (my translation) compared to conventional water supply systems. In a small apartment building (6 apartments – within a larger new building area), the installation of DESAR technologies was planned. Ultimately, no DESAR technologies have been implemented due to organizational problems in the preparation phase. Themes: Vacuum technology, anaerobic digestion, reed bed filter for grey-water purification. Black water is separately collected and treated. Grey-water is transported to the Göteborg wastewater treatment plant. Housing area consisting of 110 houses and 23 apartments. Themes: Separate collection and treatment of black water.

www.forumvauban.de; www.vauban .de/oekobau. html; www.passivh ausvauban.de

Berlin Municipality (2003).

Inventory Nanke Stein; Van Vliet and Stein (2004)

STOWA inventory

APPENDIX 2 239

of Boras, University of Linköping and the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering. DESAR project team Emmen municipality, DHV consultancy, Arcadis, KWS, Waterboard Velt en Vecht, Drenthe water supply company.

Stroomdal Emmen, The Netherlands

20022004

Swichum, Netherlands

2003

Wageningen University, Municipality of Swichum

Understenshöj den Stockholm, Sweden

1995

Association inhabitants Stockholm Water

Urine separating toilets Multiple sites in Sweden (e.g. Jonkoping, Karlstad, Harsonand, Sundsvall, Vasteras, Bohuslan).

1995-

Varies from tenant owners associations; Eco village groups to municipalities

of

Pilot project to implement DESAR technologies in a new building area consisting of 200 houses. Project failed due to insufficient support of project partners. Themes: Separation of grey, black, yellow water, disconnection of rainwater. Plans were made to implement relatively large house-on-site septic tanks in a remote area in the province of Friesland with no connection to existing urban infrastructures. However, the residents were no longer motivated to implement these tanks when new regulation regarding the discharge of wastewater turned out to be less strict than expected. This ecological housing area (44 houses) was set up by the inhabitants who were building the area. They themselves decided that they wanted urine separating toilets in their houses and choose the technology (Dubletten urine separating toilets). Urine is reused in agriculture whereas the remaining toilet water as well as grey water is treated in a local treatment facility. Themes: Ecological housing area, urine separation From 1995 onwards there was a boom in Sweden with regard to Eco villages using urine separating technology (often in combination with composting toilets or other technologies).

Documentati on; site visits; participatory observation of meetings; several interviews.

STOWA inventory

DOMUS inventory

240 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Utilization of rainwater in the household Multiple sites

1995 and later

Housing corporation Sometimes: water supply company; municipality; also projects set up by associations of inhabitants or owners of office buildings.

Van Hall Instituut Leeuwarden

1996

Van Hall Institute, AOC Friesland; Schreudergroep; Boom.

Norwegian University of Agriculture

Volvo Holiday village Bokenäs, Sweden

Biogas-ecosan project Waldmichelbac herhof Bessenbach, Germany

1996

Landgasthof Waldmichelbacher Hof TBW-Technologie, Bauund Wirtschaftsberatung GmbH Frankfurt/Main; Krieg&Fischer Ingenieure; Landratsamt Aschaffenburg.

Rainwater is collected and reused as second quality water. Carried out in several sites: Banne-Oost, Amsterdam; GWL terrain, Amsterdam; Wippolder, Delft; Schooten, Den Helder; Pelgromhof, Zevenaar; Molenveld, Roermond; Meerwijkhof, Bennebroek; Oudelands-hoek, Dordrecht; Zonnegolven, Boxtel; De kleine Aarde Boxtel; De Kiemen, Heerenveen; Hogeschool Limburg, Heerlen; De Laurier, Heerlen; Waterboard office, Leiden; Rabobank and local library, Pey; Vekasteel, Tilburg; De Bongerd, Zwolle; Leestense Enk, Zutphen. In most cases, rainwater utilization is combined with other sustainability measures. Themes: Collection of rainwater in tanks or in rainwater collection bin. Rainwater is mostly used for garden irrigation, toilet flushing and – sometimes – for laundering. Rainwater is partly infiltrated and partly collected and mixed with grey water. Treated grey-water is used for toilet flushing and garden irrigation; Blackwater is treated with composting toilets and IBAs (Individual devices for wastewater treatment). This is a holiday resort for employees of Volvo company. In the summer period, 465 people live here. In this area, water saving toilets are used. In the kitchens, a grinder is used to dispose of kitchen waste. By anaerobic digestion, biogas is produced which is used for 1) the digestion process and 2) heating, warm water production and electricity generation. Separate collection and treatment of grey-water, black-water and organic kitchen waste. This project is a family owned farm and restaurant. It was decided to implement an Eco San system here because the nearest connection to the sewage system would be at 2.5 km distance. The project uses a closed loop ecological sanitation system with a biogas plant. Collection, treatment and reuse of the liquid and organic waste from the farmhouses, restaurant, shop, distillery, cattle and horse barn and the slaughterhouse takes place in a biogas plant.

Inventory Nanke Stein; www.dubocentrum.nl; Van Vliet, 2002.

Inventory Nanke Stein

STOWA inventory

GTZ inventory

APPENDIX 2 241

Waldquelle, Bielefeld

1994-

Group of inhabitants; Bültmann architekts

In an ecological housing area, a kindergarten and approximately 500 houses have been equipped with composting toilets. Originally, it was planned to treat grey-water in a reed bed filter, but this was cancelled due to financial problems. Themes: Composting toilets

STOWA inventory; Oekosiedlun gen website

242 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Appendix 3: Graphical depiction of scores for pilot projects Expert-led experiments

AKWA 2100 Dahler Feld Selm Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

DEUS21 Am Römerhof Knittlingen, Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

244 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Ecopark Emmeloord, Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Ekoporten Norrköping, Sweden

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

APPENDIX 3 245

Flintenbreite Lübeck, Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Lemmerweg Oost Sneek, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

246 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Oeko Technik Park Hannover, Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation

Low degree of choice

Low in-use involvement

Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Palsternackan Stockholm, Sweden

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

APPENDIX 3 247

Rustenburg Wageningen, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Skogaberg Goteborg, Sweden

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

248 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Stroomdal Emmen, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Swichum Friesland, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

APPENDIX 3 249

Citizen-consumer driven experiments De Waterspin The Hague, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Drielanden Groningen, Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

250 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Eva Lanxmeer Culemborg, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Gebers Stockholm, Sweden

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

APPENDIX 3 251

Het Groene Dak, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Lambertsmuhle zu Burscheid, Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

252 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS: AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE

Paper Leaf toilet (non olet), The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Polderdrift Arnhem, The Netherlands

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

APPENDIX 3 253

Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten Freiburg, Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Low degree of choice Centralised Management

1

Differentiated water flows

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management

High in-use involvement

High degree of choice

Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Understenshojden Stockholm, Sweden

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

254 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

Bielefeld Waldquelle, Germany

Centralised Technology 2

No participation Low in-use involvement

Differentiated water flows

Low degree of choice 1

Centralised Management

Combined water flows

Decentralised Management High degree of choice

High in-use involvement Full participation

Highly decentralised technology

Appendix 4: Methodology for each case study Project Rustenburg Wageningen Stroomdal Emmen

Lemmerweg Oost Sneek

AKWA 2100 Selm Dahler Feld Blackwater Skogaberg

Oeko Technik Park Hannover EVA-Lanxmeer Culemborg

Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten Freiburg Vauban

Data collection methods Literature research Explorative talks with some of the key actors involved Document review 6 qualitative semi-structured interviews with key actors involved (July-October 2004) Explorative talks with some other informants One expert meeting was attended (May 2004) Document review Participatory observation: several project team meetings were attended (October 2005-October 2006) 18 qualitative semi structured interviews with residents were conducted (October 2006) The project was visited several times (June-October 2006) Literature analysis Interview with the project leader (February 2005) Literature analysis Interview with the project leader (August 2005) Site visit (August 2005) Literature analysis Site visit (June 2005) Literature analysis 6 interviews with providers (September-November 2004) 15 interviews with residents (March 2003) (conducted by Nanke Stein) One meeting of residents was attended (October 2004) Several site visits Literature analysis Interview with one key actor involved and one of the residents (February 2005)

256 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

Waterland Groningen

Site visit (February 2005) Literature analysis One interview with one of the key actors involved Co-supervised MSc research by Yvonne Cuypers

Appendix 5: List of interviews and informants Albrecht, Jaap Head of the Sewage and Water Department of the municipality of Emmen. 21st September 2004. On the Stroomdal project in the municipality of Emmen. Bonouvrie, Martin Employee of the municipality of Culemborg, department of spatial planning. 28th September 2004. On the EVA-Lanxmeer project in Culemborg. De Jonge, Carla Inhabitant of the EVA-Lanxmeer project and employee of the ‘Project Bureau’ of the municipality of Culemborg. 7th October 2004. On the EVA-Lanxmeer project in Culemborg. Delleske, Andreas Inhabitant and engaged citizen of the ‘Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten’ project in Freiburg, Germany. 18th February 2005. On the set up and planning of the ‘Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten’ project. Goed, Jan Former director spatial planning of the municipality of Culemborg. 6th November 2004. On the EVA-Lanxmeer project. Hanhart, Jan Inhabitant of the EVA-Lanxmeer project and member of the ‘task force energy and installations’ of the neighborhood. On the EVA-Lanxmeer project. Hiessl, Harald Head of Department Environmental Technology and Environmental Economics, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. 21st February 2005. On German projects related to more sustainable water and sanitation systems and on environmental innovation in water and sanitation systems in general. Hoitink, Bart Project Director DHV Consultancy, 8th July 2004. On the Stroomdal project in Emmen. Kamman, Maarten Inhabitant of sustainable housing area ‘Het Groene Dak’. 15th May 2004. On the sustainable housing area ‘Het Groene Dak’. Karlsson, Pascal

258 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

Employee of the ‘recycling office’ of the municipality of Göteborg. 22nd August 2005. On the Skogaberg project in Göteborg and on environmental innovation in water and sanitation systems in Sweden in general. Klaus, Uwe Aquaplaner Ingenieurgesellschaft für Wasserwirtschaft, Umwelt und Abwasser. 10th June 2005. On the Oeko-Technik-Park in Hannover. Lange, Jörg Ecological Sanitation expert and inhabitant of the Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten in Freiburg, Germany. 22nd February 2005. Telephone interview on the ‘Passivhaus Wohnen und Arbeiten’ project and on the role of Ecological Sanitation in Western societies in general. Legtenberg, Henry Water Management Consultant, Waterboard ‘Velt en Vecht’. 5th July 2004 (face-to-face); 19th January 2005 (telephone). On the Stroomdal project in Emmen. Masteling, Adrie Manager Plan-Realization, Arcadis Consultancy. 19th October 2004. On the Stroomdal project in Emmen. Meulman, Brendo Project leader of the Lemmerweg-Oost project in Sneek. Informal meetings on several occasions. Sidler, Dick CORE International. 20th September 2004. On the EVA-Lanxmeer project in Culemborg. Van Dijk, Jan Inhabitant of the ‘Drielanden’ project in Groningen, researched the functioning and feasibility of reed bed filters for domestic wastewater treatment. 17th May 2004. On the ‘Drielanden’ project in Groningen. Veltman, Bertus Employee of the Sewage and Water Department of the municipality of Emmen. 24th June 2004. On the Stroomdal project in the municipality of Emmen. Zagt, Kirsten Former employee of DHV consultancy. 2nd September 2004. On the Stroomdal project in Emmen. 15 interviews with residents of the EVA-Lanxmeer area, Culemborg, March 2003 18 interviews with residents of the Lemmerweg Oost project, Sneek, October 2006

Summary The question how Western societies should deal with domestic wastewater is currently subject to debate. A wide range of social actors experiments with new wastewater management technologies in pilot projects. Besides water managers, these social actors include various other institutional actors as well as citizenconsumers. Innovation in wastewater infrastructures is of sociological relevance as the interests of these actors differ, while they hold different views on how technology development takes place, or should take place. Wastewater infrastructures are being criticized for consuming too much water, treating wastewater in an inefficient way and for their failure to reuse and recycle water and nutrients. Furthermore, maintenance of infrastructures is often lagging behind and there are hormone and medicine residues present in the effluent of wastewater treatment plants. From a development perspective it is often argued that the ‘WC-sewage combination’ has become a desirable status symbol for developing countries, and for that reason hampers the development of ‘appropriate’ sanitary infrastructures for the poor. The sustainable transformation of wastewater infrastructures is often portrayed as a choice between centralized and decentralized systems. This study, however, aims to look beyond this dichotomy and argues for ‘modernized mixtures’, win-win situations between both extremes. The central aim of the thesis is to contribute to a transition towards sustainable sanitation and wastewater systems and practices in Western society by developing a social science perspective on sanitation and wastewater management. The research aims to answer the following three questions: How can we understand and describe the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures? What distinguishes wastewater infrastructures from other environmentally relevant systems of provision? Through what mechanisms, and to what extent, do small scale experiments in niches contribute to the ecological restructuring of wastewater infrastructures? What can we learn from incorporating an end-user perspective on wastewater infrastructures? The research draws on two bodies of theoretical knowledge: the field of science and technology studies and the environmental social sciences. After a review of existing theoretical approaches on innovation in niches, the study argues that existing niche based approaches are often biased towards technologies as they too much portray the social dimension of niche dynamics as a derivative of

260 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

technological change, hampering learning processes and further dissemination of innovations. Drawing upon ecological modernization theory, the study argues that a focus on social practices, shaped by providers as well as end-users, is a relevant starting point to study innovation processes, in niche projects as well as the broader socio-technical regimes in which they are embedded. End-users are crucial actors, both as user of technological systems and as agent playing a role in the restructuring of these systems. Innovation in wastewater infrastructures should thus be approached from a systemic perspective and from an everyday life perspective, both at the same time. The theoretical framework leads to the hypothesis that an analytical distinction between expert-led and citizen-consumer driven experiments in wastewater management is relevant to understand and describe the actual innovation patterns taking place at niche level. Furthermore, it is expected that expert-led experiments focus on system rationalities and neglect the everyday-life dimension, while citizen-consumer driven experiments put more emphasis on people’s everyday-life. The concepts of trust and identity have been used as sensitizing concepts guiding the empirical research. In a historical analysis, the development of (predominantly Dutch) wastewater infrastructures is analyzed from a systemic and from an everyday-life perspective. This analysis illustrates that wastewater infrastructures have been gradually developed from the mid-19th century onwards as a result of a battle between competing wastewater management systems, ultimately won by piped water supply and sewage systems. Domestic water practices co-evolved with these systemic changes. Norms concerning cleanliness and convenience have been constructed as a result of the interplay between system and everyday-life. Different domestic water practices have different meanings for end-users: bathroom practices are closely associated with the human body and with (sexual) taboos, while laundering is more often seen as a job to be done. Whereas the development of wastewater infrastructures at the end of the 19th century can be termed a ‘public health’ transition, the direction in which wastewater infrastructures are developing now is less straightforward to denominate, as several - sometimes conflicting social, economic and environmental concerns play a role. The empirical core of this study comprises a comparative case study analysis of Dutch, German and Swedish pilot projects in which wastewater management technologies are experimented with in a domestic setting. Roughly halve of existing projects can be ranked under the heading of expert led experiments, while the other halve are citizen-consumer driven experiments. Desk research, participatory observation and interviews with consumers and providers have been used to analyze these projects in detail.

SUMMARY 261

A first conclusion of this study is that wastewater infrastructures are special systems of provision. They are large-scale technological systems that are hard to change because they have some degree of technological and economic momentum, while social actors take them highly for granted. Hence, one cannot easily change to a different technology. Furthermore, wastewater infrastructures are network bound systems which have grown into essential services for many Western societies. Network bound services have started to diversify in several different ways, and sometimes they have shifted from public to privatized modes of provision. Although this is less the case for wastewater infrastructures, which are often seen as public services, we can also see such diversification of services and modes of provision in the wastewater field. Finally, a focus on domestic water practices illustrates that water and wastewater services, more than any other network bound service, are closely associated with the human body and with the relationship between ‘self’ and ‘society’. While domestic water practices are often seen as ‘backstage’ activities, these practices are sometimes moving more to the ‘front stage’, especially within the context of innovative niche projects. At the most fundamental level, domestic water practices involve a tension between ‘linking up with nature’ and ‘keeping nature out’. In an era of reflexive modernization, there is a continuous tension between these two extremes, with different degrees of bringing nature into domestic water practices. Therefore, it is doubtful whether the changes taking place in water practices should be seen as an S-shaped shift from one stage in society (or the water system) towards another, as transition scholars would put it. A second conclusion of this study deals with niche management in the wastewater transition. The analytical distinction between expert-led and citizenconsumer driven experiments in wastewater management has proven to be a relevant one. Within expert-led experiments, research institutes and consultancy firms often approached the project from a narrow engineering perspective. These experiments were more successful when they also involved experimentation with other systemic variables than the purely technological ones only (management structure, degree of choice for end-users). Social change is often seen as a threat within expert-led experiments. Citizen-consumer driven experiments focused more often on several different systems of provision, rather than the wastewater field only. Social change is more often seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. The main pitfall for expert-led experiments is a too narrow focus on technologies, while citizen-consumer driven experiments risk a too high social distinction from mainstream practices. It is concluded that both kinds of projects can best be seen as ideal types. Their success is enhanced, if these projects manage to take on board features of the other ideal type as well. On a more general level, the study

262 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

concludes that niche based approaches should stop seeing niche experiments as ‘experiments with technologies’ or ‘social experiments’ only. Instead, a broad range of actors should be brought together around guiding principles. This approach can be labeled conceptual niche management. A third conclusion of this study deals with the role of end-users in wastewater management. The initial sensitizing concepts of trust and identity have been translated into five relevant variables to conceptualize this end-user role. First, water practices can be seen as a way to link up with nature or as a way to combat nature. Second, water practices can be carried out for reasons of pure functionality as well as for other reasons (social distinction). Third, end-users can be mere users of socio-technical systems as well as empowered citizen-consumers who are capable of changing these systems. Fourth, these end-users can have a low in-use involvement whereas they can also become co-responsible for management and maintenance of wastewater systems. Finally, technologies can be highly individualized or – on the other hand – require and promote solidarity and communality between end-users. These variables illustrate that the role of endusers in wastewater management becomes more pluralistic, involving many tensions. Although the captive consumer will not immediately be extinguished, the importance of other consumer identities will increase. The final conclusion of this study is that the changes taking place in wastewater infrastructures should be seen as a process of reflexive modernization. Wastewater infrastructures are being deliberately and reflexively reconstructed due to social, economic and environmental challenges. Environmental concerns are continuously weighed against other (economic, social) rationalities, leading to different outcomes varying in time and place. Providers and consumers have to find new balances between different dimensions. This is difficult as there is no ‘objectively provable’ best direction for change. This study has shown, however, that a wide range of actors becomes, and has to become involved in this process of reflexive modernization, and that it is impossible as well as undesirable to exclude endusers.

Samenvatting De vraag hoe Westerse samenlevingen om dienen te gaan met huishoudelijk afvalwater is momenteel onderwerp van debat. Een breed scala van actoren experimenteert met nieuwe afvalwatertechnologieën in demonstratieprojecten. Behalve waterbeheerders zijn verscheidene andere institutionele actoren, en burgerconsumenten, hierbij betrokken. Innovatie in afvalwaterinfrastructuren is sociologisch relevant aangezien de belangen van deze actoren verschillen, terwijl hun visies over hoe technologie ontwikkeling plaatsvindt (of plaats zou moeten vinden) uiteenlopen. Afvalwaterinfrastructuren worden bekritiseerd omdat zij teveel water gebruiken, afvalwater op inefficiënte wijze behandelen en er geen hergebruik en recycling van water en nutriënten plaatsvindt. Daarnaast raakt het onderhoud van infrastructuren vaak achterop en zijn er hormoon en medicijnresten aanwezig in het effluent van rioolwaterzuiveringsinstallaties. Bovendien is de ‘WC/rioolcombinatie’ een begerenswaardig status symbool voor ontwikkelingslanden, en wordt wel gesteld dat het om die reden de ontwikkeling van gepaste sanitaire infrastructuren in deze landen verhindert. Duurzame transformatie van afvalwaterinfrastructuren wordt vaak voorgesteld als een keuze tussen centrale en decentrale systemen. Deze studie, echter, stelt zich ten doel verder te denken dan deze dichotomie en pleit voor ‘modernized mixtures’, winwin situaties tussen beide extremen. Dit proefschrift beoogt bij te dragen aan een transitie naar duurzame afvalwatersystemen en praktijken in Westerse samenlevingen door het ontwikkelen van een sociaalwetenschappelijk perspectief op sanitatie en afvalwaterbeheer. Het onderzoek beantwoordt de volgende vragen: Hoe kunnen we de veranderingen die in afvalwaterinfrastructuren plaatsvinden begrijpen en beschrijven? Wat onderscheidt afvalwaterinfrastructuren van andere milieurelevante aanbodssystemen? Door welke mechanismen, en in welke mate, dragen kleinschalige experimenten in niches bij aan de ecologische herstructurering van afvalwaterinfrastructuren? Wat kunnen we leren van het incorporeren van een eindgebruikerperspectief op afvalwaterinfrastructuren? Het onderzoek baseert zich enerzijds op wetenschap en technologie studies en anderzijds op de sociale milieuwetenschappen. Na een bespreking van bestaande theoretische benaderingen betreffende innovatie in niches beargumenteert de studie dat op niches gebaseerde benaderingen zich teveel richten op technologieën

264 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

en dat zij de sociale dimensie van niche projecten teveel voorstellen als een afgeleide van technologische verandering. Hierdoor worden leerprocessen en verdere verspreiding van innovaties verhinderd. Gebruik makend van de ecologische moderniseringstheorie betoogt deze studie dat een focus op gedragspraktijken, vormgegeven door zowel aanbieders als eindgebruikers, een relevant startpunt vormt om innovatie processen, in niche projecten en de bredere sociaaltechnologische regimes waarvan zij deel uitmaken, te bestuderen. Eindgebruikers zijn cruciale actoren, als gebruiker van technologische systemen en als bekwaam handelend individu met een rol in de herstructurering van deze systemen. Innovatie in afvalwater infrastructuren dient dus zowel vanuit een systeem perspectief als vanuit het perspectief van het alledaagse leven benaderd the worden. Als hypothese wordt gesteld dat een analytisch onderscheid tussen ‘expertgeleide’ en ‘burgerconsument-geleide’ experimenten in afvalwaterbeheer relevant is om de daadwerkelijke innovatiepatronen die in niches plaatsvinden te begrijpen en te beschrijven. Expertgeleide experimenten leggen naar verwachting de nadruk op systeem rationaliteiten terwijl zij de dimensie van het alledaagse leven veronachtzamen. In burgerconsument-geleide experimenten ligt de nadruk naar verwachting juist op het alledaagse leven. De concepten ‘vertrouwen’ en ‘identiteit’ zijn gebruikt als richtinggevende concepten gedurende het empirisch onderzoek. In een historische analyse is de ontwikkeling van vooral Nederlandse afvalwater infrastructuren geanalyseerd vanuit een systeem perspectief en vanuit het perspectief van het alledaagse leven. Deze analyse illustreert dat afvalwater infrastructuren geleidelijk ontwikkeld zijn als resultaat van een concurrentiestrijd tussen verschillende systemen. Uiteindelijk is deze strijd gewonnen door waterleiding en rioolsystemen. Huishoudelijke waterpraktijken en systeemveranderingen hebben elkaar wederzijds beïnvloed en hebben geleid tot de (her)constructie van normen met betrekking tot reinheid en gemak. Verschillende huishoudelijke waterpraktijken hebben verschillende betekenissen voor eindgebruikers: badkamer praktijken zijn nauw verbonden aan het menselijke lichaam en (seksuele) taboes, terwijl de was doen veelal gezien wordt als een karwei dat gedaan moet worden. De ontwikkeling van afvalwaterinfrastructuren aan het einde van de 19e eeuw kan een ‘volksgezondheid’ transitie genoemd kan worden. De vraag in welke richting afvalwaterinfrastructuren zich nu ontwikkelen is echter minder direct te beantwoorden, aangezien verschillende, soms conflicterende, sociale, economische en milieugerelateerde overwegingen een rol spelen. De empirische kern van deze studie is een vergelijkende case studie analyse van Nederlandse, Duitse en Zweedse demonstratieprojecten waarin met

SAMENVATTING 265

huishoudelijke afvalwatertechnologieën wordt geëxperimenteerd. Ruwweg de helft van de bestaande projecten kan onder de noemer expertgeleide experimenten geschaard worden, terwijl de andere helft bestaat uit burgerconsument-geleide experimenten. Een aantal projecten is in detail onderzocht met behulp van bureaustudie, participerende observatie en interviews met aanbieders en consumenten. Een eerste conclusie is dat afvalwater infrastructuren speciale aanbodssystemen zijn. Als grootschalige technologische systemen zijn ze moeilijk te veranderen omdat ze technologisch en economisch ‘momentum’ hebben vergaard, terwijl sociale actoren deze systemen als een vanzelfsprekendheid zien. Bovendien zijn afvalwater infrastructuren netgebonden systemen die verworden zijn tot essentiële diensten voor Westerse samenlevingen. Netgebonden systemen zijn gediversifieerd op diverse verschillende manieren, en soms zijn ze overgeschakeld van een publieke naar een private aanbodsmodus. Hoewel dit minder het geval is voor afvalwater infrastructuren, die vaak worden gezien als publieke diensten, kunnen we een dergelijke diversifiëring van diensten en aanbodsmodi ook hier observeren. Een focus op huishoudelijke waterpraktijken leert dat water en afvalwater diensten, meer dan enige andere netgebonden dienst, nauw verweven zijn met het menselijk lichaam en de relatie tussen ‘zelf’ en ‘samenleving’. Hoewel huishoudelijke waterpraktijken vaak gezien worden als ‘backstage’ activiteiten, begeven deze praktijken zich soms naar de ‘frontstage’, vooral binnen de context van innovatieve niche projecten. Op het meest fundamentele niveau behelzen huishoudelijke waterpraktijken een spanningsveld tussen ‘aanhaken bij de natuur’ en ‘de natuur op afstand houden’. In een tijdperk van reflexieve modernisering is er een continue spanning tussen deze twee extremen, waarbij ‘natuur’ in verscheidene gradaties een rol speelt binnen gedragspraktijken. Het valt daarom te betwijfelen of de veranderingen die plaatsvinden in waterpraktijken gezien moeten worden als een S-vormige overgang van de ene toestand van de maatschappij (of het water systeem) naar een andere, zoals transitie wetenschappers het zouden voorstellen. Een tweede conclusie heeft betrekking op niche management in de afvalwatertransitie. Binnen expertgeleide experimenten benaderen onderzoeksinstituten en adviesbureaus het project vaak vanuit een smal technologisch perspectief. Deze experimenten waren vaak meer succesvol wanneer zij ook experimenteerden met andere systeemvariabelen dan enkel puur technologische (management structuur, keuze voor eindgebruikers). Sociale verandering wordt vaak gezien als een bedreiging. Burgerconsument-geleide experimenten echter focusten vaak op meerdere aanbodssystemen, niet enkel afvalwatersystemen. Sociale verandering wordt vaker gezien als een kans in plaats

266 GREENING SANITARY SYSTEMS

van een bedreiging. Waar de belangrijkste valkuil voor expertgeleide projecten een te nauwe focus op technologieën is, riskeren burgerconsument-geleide experimenten juist een te hoge mate van sociale distinctie ten opzichte van gangbare gedragspraktijken. Beide typen projecten kunnen het best gezien worden als ideaaltypes. Hun succes wordt vergroot als deze projecten erin slagen eigenschappen van het andere ideaaltype te incorporeren. Op een meer algemeen niveau dienen op niches gebaseerde benaderingen op te houden om niche experimenten te zien als enkel ‘experimenten met technologieën’ of als ‘sociale experimenten’. In plaats daarvan dient een brede groep actoren bijeen gebracht te worden rond gidsprincipes. Deze benadering kan ‘conceptueel niche management’ genoemd worden. Een derde conclusie van deze studie behelst de rol van eindgebruikers in afvalwaterbeheer. De concepten ‘vertrouwen’ en ‘identiteit’ zijn vertaald in vijf relevante variabelen om deze eindgebruikerrol te conceptualiseren. Allereerst kunnen waterpraktijken gezien worden als een manier om aan te haken bij de natuur en als een manier om de natuur op afstand te houden. Ten tweede kunnen waterpraktijken plaatsvinden vanwege redenen van pure functionaliteit en om andere redenen (sociale distinctie). Ten derde kunnen eindgebruikers zowel gebruikers van systemen zijn als burgers met de macht om deze systemen te veranderen. Ten vierde kunnen eindgebruikers weinig betrokken zijn in het gebruik terwijl zij anderzijds ook mede verantwoordelijk kunnen worden voor beheer en onderhoud van afvalwatersystemen. Ten slotte kunnen technologieën geïndividualiseerd zijn of, anderzijds, solidariteit en gemeenschapszin tussen eindgebruikers vereisen en bevorderen. Deze variabelen illustreren dat de rol van eindgebruikers in afvalwaterbeheer pluralistischer wordt en tot spanningsvelden leidt. Hoewel de ‘gebonden gebruiker’ niet onmiddellijk verdwijnt, zal het belang van andere consumentenidentiteiten toenemen. De laatste conclusie van deze studie is dat veranderingen in afvalwater infrastructuren gezien moeten worden als een proces van reflexieve modernisering. Deze infrastructuren worden doelbewust en op reflexieve wijze geherstructureerd als gevolg van sociale, economische en milieu-uitdagingen. Milieuoverwegingen worden doorlopend afgewogen tegen andere (economische, sociale) overwegingen en de uitkomsten variëren naar tijd en plaats. Aanbieders en consumenten moeten nieuwe balansen tussen verschillende dimensies zien te vinden, wat moeilijk is aangezien er geen ‘objectief bewijsbare’ beste veranderingsrichting is. Deze studie heeft echter aangetoond dat een breed scala van actoren betrokken raakt, en dient te raken, bij dit proces van reflexieve modernisering en dat het onmogelijk en onwenselijk is om eindgebruikers hiervan uit te sluiten.

About the author Dries Hegger was born in Tegelen in 1977. He followed his secondary education (VWO Gymnasium B) at ‘Collegium Marianum Venlo’ (1990-1996). After working for a year, he started his university education. At Wageningen University he studied Household and Consumer Sciences (1997-2003), including a minor thesis in ‘methods and techniques of social scientific research’, a major thesis on the use and acceptance of a new technology to deal with domestic kitchen waste, and an internship at Milieubedrijf 2000+ (an NGO aiming to influence consumer behaviour with regard to environmental issues). In 2004, after a short period as a researcher and consultant in the field of energyrelated consumer behaviour, he started working at the Environmental Policy Group of Wageningen University. He was appointed on a multidisciplinary research project on the development and implementation of Decentralised Sanitation and Reuse Technologies in Dutch society, which has resulted in this PhD thesis. After finalizing his PhD research, Dries Hegger continued to work at Wageningen University, combining a post-doctoral research project at the Environmental Policy Group with the function of Education Coordinator of Mansholt Graduate School of Social Sciences.

The SENSE Research School declares that Mr. Dries Leonardus Theodora Hegger has successfully fulfilled all requirements of the Educational PhD Programme of SENSE with a work load of 34 ECTS, including the following activities: SENSE PhD courses: ° ° °

Environmental Research in Context Research Context Activity: "Essay on: Why bother (about) the water consumer?" Social Theory and the Environment: Introduction into Ecological Modernization Theory

Other PhD courses: ° Career Perspectives ° PhD Written English ° PhD Scientific Writing Other Activities ° Organizing symposium on Environmental Movements ° Organizing International Conference “The Sanitation Challenge” 19 -21 May 2008, Wageningen, The Netherlands ° Coordinating Scientific Seminars series Environmental Policy Group ° Writing a research proposal “Customer-client relations and Dutch water companies” ° Organizing workshop at the “Scholierenconferentie” 16th February 2005 Oral Presentations: ° Exchange meeting for Dutch and German environmental scientists working on the topic of sanitation 11October 2006, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands ° PhD work in progress for environmental engineers and other project partners of the EET-DESAR project 25 May 2004 and 16 February 2006, Wageningen, The Netherlands ° Sense Core 4 conference for PhD researchers of Sense research school 15 December 2005, Utrecht, The Netherlands ° The 10th International Conference on Urban Drainage 26 August 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark ° SWOME/GAMON Marktdag’, a conference aimed at exchange between social scientists and environmental policy makers 14 April 2005, The Hague, The Netherlands ° Lecture on Dutch urban water policy for an audience of Chinese environmental managers 20 October 2004, Wageningen, the Netherlands Deputy director SENSE Dr. A van Dommelen

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