Identifying barriers hindering the Aquaponics as an emerging value-conscious socio-technical system in the Netherlands

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In the current times when "facts [are] uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent" (Funtowicz & Ravetz 1990) humanity reaches for new ways of improving our life through resilient technology enhancements embedded in a socio-technical landscape. This thesis presents an effort to develop a theoretical framework that can be used to analyse the barriers hindering the Aquaponics as an emerging value-conscious socio-technical system in the Netherlands. The barriers are identified in institutional, technical, economic, infrastructural, knowledge, socio-cultural, ethical and biophysical dimensions. In the research, the initial barrier criteria theoretical framework was established based on combining Functions of innovation system, Circular economy theoretical models in the Verhulst (2017) theoretical framework with ethical barriers based on Value Sensitive and Value Conscious Design approach. This primary theoretical framework Piptová 1 (2018) was applied to the current Aquaponics case in the process of desk research and in-depth interviews with stakeholders. This resulted in a list and description of barriers. The high initial investment costs, scalability issues due to the niche character of the market for Aquaponics products, cold climate in the Netherlands, current non profitability due to incumbent infrastructure of cheap vegetables supplied by elaborate Dutch horticulturalists from their greenhouses and cost-effectively imported fish, biophysical limitations as well as several ethical barriers in the form of value tensions and values not represented by a value advocate in the Aquaponics discourse were identified as the barriers hindering the Aquaponics as an emerging value-conscious socio-technical system in the Netherlands. Based on the list and description of barriers, the primary theoretical framework was revised and adapted by adding and removing indicators. The final theoretical framework Piptová 2.0 (2020) was established. It reflects on the malfunctions, ethics and risks of new technologies but also democratisation in the design process and science in general through an ecocentric prism due to the fact that it contains a consideration for all directly and indirectly affected stakeholders, whether presented or not by an actor, including the non-human ones. Via employing the fundamental capabilities of the created framework and adapting it in order to be able to detect a wider horizon of developmental bottlenecks from the systemic Industrial ecology perspective, a novel generally applicable theoretical framework was also created. Producers, consumers, scholars, practitioners, policy makers and other actors might utilise this framework with improved generalizability when executing improvements on targeted hotspots in the transition towards a ‘responsible society’ via a variety of ‘fair’ innovations emerging as value-conscious socio-technical systems. These are the advancements that not only ‘look good on paper’ but truly are more innovative in a ‘responsible and responsive’ manner due to the fact that they challenge the status quo of problem shifting; the one which Beck (1998) in his sociological understanding defined as the ‘organized irresponsibility’.