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Exploring the role of materials in policy change: innovation in low-energy housing in the UK


Lovell, HC, Exploring the role of materials in policy change: innovation in low-energy housing in the UK, Environment and Planning A: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39, (10) pp. 2500-2517. ISSN 0308-518X (2007) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2007 Pion

DOI: doi:10.1068/a38408


There remains uncertainty in models of the policy process about how and when radical change takes place. Most policy authors focus on explaining incremental change, and yet in practice a pattern of change described as punctuated equilibrium has been observed, with periods of stability interspersed with periods of rapid, abrupt change. It is argued here that the influence of materials and technologies - the substance of policy - must be incorporated into models of the policy process in order to help further our understanding of radical change. Concepts from science and technology studies concerning the inseparability of social and technical spheres are used to explore how people and materials interact to create opportunities for radical change. These ideas are particularly relevant to policy sectors comprising durable, capital-intensive infrastructure, such as housing. Drawing on examples from the UK housing sector, ideas about policy networks and large technical systems are synthesised to develop a more holistic, interdisciplinary account of policy change. © 2007 a Pion publication printed in Great Britain.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Lovell, HC (Professor Heather Lovell)
ID Code:99607
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-03-30
Last Modified:2015-04-21

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