Modul 5 - Expert Workshop

Modul 5 takes off with an expert workshop on potential transformation pathways of the Stock-Flow-Service-Nexus, focusing on the case of Vienna and interrogating novel planning interventions such as superblocks to reshape (peri) urban mobility: MAT_STOCKS  team Anna-Katharina Brenner, Doris Virág, Willi Haas, Dominik Wiedenhofer, and Helmut Haberl together with  Superbe-Team Florian Lorenz (Lorenz Consult) Johannes Müller (Austrian Institute of Technology), and Harald Frey (Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Transportation).

Mobility as a service allows people to reach a certain place to participate in everyday life (trips to school, working etc). Mobility relies on the biophysical provision of stocks (infrastructure, cars, bikes) and flows (e.g. energy) that are geographically specific and especially in an urban setting, constrained by available space. Certain infrastructures promote certain mobility practices like walking, bicycling, public transport. To be used, these stocks need certain material and energy flows that can be differentiated in their intensity depending on mode of mobility. Transforming the urban fabric to tackle increasing energy use and emissions due to car-based mobility is paramount to achieve stringent climate change mitigation targets. In this workshop, we explored overlaps and complementarities in the knowledge from experts in urban planning, transportation studies and new perspectives gained via the understanding of mobility in terms of the Stock-Flow-Service Nexus. Together, we looked at specific intervention potentials of current urban planning concepts such as superblocks, to challenge car-dependent geographies on urban and peri-urban scale and contribute to a shift to a low-carbon urban fabric.

Mapping material stocks in Germany & Austria using a novel SENTINEL2 based approach: first results and next steps

A first combination of mapping results for Germany and material intensitie data for different stock types such as buildings and traffic surfaces was calculated. Differentiated categories, data quality, uncertainty assessment possibilities and next steps for improvement and refinement of the results were discussed among project partners from the Institute of Social Ecology, Humbold University Berlin and Prof. Tanikawa of Nagoya University. Furthermore, a follow-up workshop with an extended team and external experts on material stocks in February 2020 was conceptualized.


The ongoing collaboration with Nagoya University will allow to compare first results for Japan to results from a detailed bottom-up analyses done by Prof. Tanikawa and his team.

Workshop on “Sustainability as a Problem of Complexity: Past, Present and Future of Sustainability Science in the Anthropocene”, which lasted from September 12-13, 2019

Dominik Wiedenhofer, Simone Gingrich and Verena Winiwarter participated in the invitation-only workshop on “Sustainability as a Problem of Complexity: Past, Present and Future of Sustainability Science in the Anthropocene ”, which lasted from September 12-13, 2019. It was organized as part of the Complexity or Control Project and was hosted by the Complexity Science Hub Vienna and the Konrad Lorenz Institute, which also provided their wonderful meeting venues for the event.

During this conceptual and very inspirational workshop, debates focused on the concern, that popular ideas about sustainability are still largely guided by a techno-scientific ideal of control, even though limits and difficulties of this ideal have been obvious for some time. Often fueled by alarmist scenarios of destruction, the remnants of a techno-scientific ideal of control threaten to undermine the very notion of sustainability as well as our attempts to initiate and foster transformations towards more desirable and just futures. Alternatives to a techno-scientific illusion, such as co-evolutionary processes within complex adaptive systems or participatory transdisciplinary conceptions of sustainability have emerged, but have yet to gain wider acceptance outside of specific academic discourses. The workshop placed current ideas about sustainability and related transformations in the context of interlinked histories of techno-science, cybernetics, complex systems theory and sustainability science. Participants debated detailed historical analyses of case studies, assessment of current trends and discourses, and envisioning of future ones. A main focus was on shifting the conceptual frameworks utilized and on a critical reflection on the role of modeling strategies (especially complex systems models) for sustainability transformations.

The Mat-Stocks team presented its research at the ISIE-SEM international conference on socio-economic metabolism on in Berlin (13th-15th May 2019)

Krausmann, F., H. Haberl, and D. Wiedenhofer. 2019. Material stocks as drivers of global greenhouse gas emissions: Results from a scenario analysis for 2050 presented at the 13th ISIE-SEM international conference on socio-economic metabolism, May 13, Berlin.

Streeck, J., D. Wiedenhofer, F. Krausmann, and H. Haberl. 2019. Socio-metabolic analysis of economy-wide material flows, stock accumulation and service provision in the United Kingdom presented at the 13th ISIE-SEM international conference on socio-economic metabolism, May 15, Berlin.

Wiedenhofer, D., S. Pauliuk, A. Mayer, and W. Haas. 2019. Nesting actors and organizations into a biophysical multi-level monitoring framework for a sustainable circular economy presented at the 13th ISIE-SEM international conference on socio-economic metabolism, May 13, Berlin.

Workshop with Eric Pineault, 2 April 2019

Eric Pineault, Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Québec, presented his work on his new book. He is currently a fellow at the Research Group “Postwachstumsgesellschaften” in Jena. In his book, he combines political economy with social metabolism to understand capitalist growth and its social-ecological contradictions in advanced capitalist societies.

Session: Social metabolism and land-system science: stocks, flows, services, and implications for sustainability transformations at the 4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme, April 24-26, 2019 | Bern, Switzerland

Interrelations between socioecological flows of energy or materials and land systems have been on the agenda of land-system science for at least two decades. Obvious examples are biomass-based products such as food or bioenergy, as well as land-use intensity indicators such as the human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP), which assess socioeconomic and ecological flows of biomass or nutrients. Other aspects of social metabolism, e.g. the use of minerals or metals and their accumulation in long-lived material stocks (e.g., in buildings or infrastructures) have received less attention, perhaps due to their relatively minor direct land area demand.

New socio-metabolic research suggests that the accumulation of material stocks is of key importance. The fraction of all materials used worldwide to build up stocks has grown from ⁓20% to >50% in the last century. Stocks create legacies and lock-in effects, as infrastructures enable or incentivize certain, often resource-intensive behaviors. Large flows of energy and materials are required for maintaining and using stocks. Transforming social metabolism towards more sustainable patterns of resource use will require far-reaching changes in society’s material stock patterns. A focus on material stocks holds great promise for land-system science because stocks are characterized by their location and spatial patterns, both of which are important in terms of their impacts, and in terms of their resource requirements. For example, transport energy demand strongly depends on the spatial patterns of settlements and workspaces, and the transport infrastructures through which they are linked.

This session will explore the links between material stocks, biophysical flows of materials and energy, and the services specific stock-flow combinations deliver to society. It will discuss their potential to forge new approaches in land-system science, e.g. through high-resolution mapping of material stocks, and cast new perspectives on long-standing discourses such as urban-hinterland relations or the role of infrastructure development for land-system change. Moreover, possible pathways towards more sustainable stock-flow-service relations and their implications for land systems will be in focus.

Session Organizers: Helmut Haberl, Fridolin Krausmann, Felix Creutzig, Patrick Hostert, and Christoph Görg

Görg, C., Wiedenhofer, D., Pichler, M., Haberl, H., 2019. The stock-flow-service nexus: Implications for sustainability transformations and future land systems.

Haberl, H., Krausmann, F., 2019. Introductory talk to the session on social metabolism and land-system science.

Schug, F., Frantz, D., Okujeni, A., 2019. Wall-to-Wall Material Stock Mapping. A concept from Satellite Data to Material Stock Mapping.

Poster Presentation "The stock-flow-service nexus approach: conceptual advances and first empirical examples in tackling systemic interactions between the SDGs" at the International Symposium Global Sustainable Development Goals in a Mediatized World, April 4 – 5, 2019, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Progress towards the SDGs requires far-reaching changes in societies’ use of biophysical resources such as materials, energy or land. Current socio-metabolic research (SMR) traces flows of energy, materials or substances to capture resource use. SMR is also useful to analyze interdependencies (synergies or tradeoffs) between attempts at reaching specific SDGs. SMR can bridge social and natural sciences in inter- and transdisciplinary analyses of society-nature interactions and has yielded insights into eco-efficiency and long-term drivers of resource use. This paper introduces a new approach for aligning SMR with social science research on societal development patterns and trajectories towards the SDGs. It presents the material stock–flow–service nexus approach for analyzing interrelations between material and energy flows, socioeconomic material stocks and the services provided by specific stock/flow combinations. The mass of global socioeconomic material stocks is now about equal to that of all green plants on the earth’s lands, and has been growing in unison with GDP for 100 years. The fraction of the global socioeconomic material inflows added to stocks annually has risen from 20 to over 50%, suggesting the emergence of global “stockpiling societies”. We present ongoing research analyzing the importance of possible future material stock trajectories for meeting the 1.5 and 2.0°C goals for climate-change mitigation, which form a cornerstone of the SDGs (SDG13, with direct links to SDGs7, 11, 12). Contrasting GDP-driven stock trajectories until 2050 with contract-and-converge scenarios, we demonstrate the importance of future stocks growth for driving GHG emissions. By focusing on services rather than GDP, the stock-flow-service nexus allows identifying novel options for moving towards the SDGs until 2030, and push for sustainability transformations beyond. 

H Haberl, D. Wiedenhofer, G. Kalt, C. Görg, F. Krausmann
Institute of Social Ecology, BOKU Wien

Special session "Analyzing stocks, flows and services for a social-ecological transformation" at the Conference "Resources of a social-ecological transformation", Innsbruck 28.2.-2.3.2019

Resource extraction and waste discharge have led to social-ecological conflicts while attempts have been made by international agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals to confront sustainability problems. Yet, the material and historical dimensions of possibilities for a social-ecological transformation and their interlinkages with the institutional need greater attention. Material stocks, e.g. buildings, infrastructure or machinery, are grounded in biophysical materiality and socially defined, power relations are being inscribed in them. Together, stocks and flows of resources provide services such as food, shelter or mobility mediated by provisioning systems. How these provisioning systems are structured influences socio-ecological transformation. This interdisciplinary session discussed material stocks and the related flows and services from a social ecology perspective. It introduced conceptual frameworks for analyzing the stock-flow-service nexus and its potential for analyzing social-ecological transformation.

Chair: Christoph Görg

Christina Plank, Stefan Liehr & Christoph Görg (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna): The stock-flow-servicenexus: The role of provisioning systems and its implications for asocialecological transformation

Helmut Haberl (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences,Vienna), Dominik Wiedenhofer & Fridolin Krausmann: A century of globalmaterial stock accumulation: implications for sustainabilitytransformations

Robert Groß (University of Innsbruck; University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) & Dominik Wiedenhofer (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna): The Marshall Plan andits socio-ecological side effects. Conceptual and case based considerations

Lecture "Resource efficiency - Delivering more service with less energy, material and impact" with Dr. Jonathan Cullen, 23.10.2018

Expert Workshop: Conceptualizing services and the stock-flow-services nexus, 22.-23.10.2018

Learn more about societal well-being, services, service indicators, and the stock-flow-service nexus.

Concrete benefits for future work in Lili & MAT_STOCKS: develop conceptual foundations for the “services component” in the stock-flow-service databases as well as for analyzing stock-flow-service relations in further project work, based on quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Plan collaborations over the next years. Group work will hopefully inspire collaborations, journal papers or other publications.

Meeting mit Complexity Science Hub, 7.6.2018

MAT_STOCKS Kick-off, 12.4.2018