District Heating and Energy Transition: Reconfigurations between Flow and Network

By Laurence Rocher

To what extent do climate and energy objectives lead us to reconsider the role of network infrastructures in urban planning and the functioning of urban systems? The example of the revival of interest in district heating networks provides a few possible answers to this question, which is central to an understanding and characterization of the conditions for implementing the urban energy transition. This is studied in this paper with the support of an analysis of recent changes in French regulations and of the process of creating an intermunicipal energy mandate in the Lyon metropolitan area. The context of a change of scale shows the underlying justifications for the reconsideration of an existing infrastructure in view of new energy, climate and social challenges within a specific urban context. One intriguing point from these reconfigurations is the capacity of an infrastructure resembling a large technical system contributing to networked urbanism to integrate alternative logics in terms of flows.

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