Competitive cooperation in Swedish projects for sustainable building
Paper in proceedings, 2008
The notion that we are becoming more competitive and individualistic is diffused in today Sweden, argued to be a positive or negative outcome of the social, political and economical changes of the last decades. So is also in the construction sector. The call for competitive building outcomes has driven many technical innovations while the lack of cooperation is claimed to be the principal cause of non-sustainable development. Hence the dichotomy must be verified and our understanding of it must become sharper.
Challenged by the climate change societies may compete about sustainable results, but competing to be sustainable has a twofold outcome. We may compete in order to reach high performance measurable solutions in one building and we may compete to spread good enough sustainable integrated solutions throughout the environment. The both seem to be necessary, the first attracting the traditional innovation paradigm, measured in quantities, while the second risks staying in the shadow of technological progress. We have to worry about this and develop new integrated theories.
Emerging patterns of competitive cooperation are observed in evolving projects for sustainable buildings in a local Swedish reality, within a study (Demo-04) focused on giving guidelines for the implementation of sustainable building goals. A stakeholder participatory approach reinforces the need of a better understanding of the integrated sector-specific innovations as they all affect the design and construction processes. They are questioning the way people make decisions in everyday work and address a corporate integrated and shared responsibility. Innovations in building can be inconsistent with the concepts of sustainability when isolated from shared and clear sustainability goals. Still sustainable innovations emerge within a framework of coordinated design between stakeholders and new profiles of action in projects. Transparency is the common denominator of both cooperative and competitive behaviours and guarantees the possibility of resilience of the chosen social and technological paths.