Disrupting transitions: qualitatively modelling the impact of Covid-19 on UK food and mobility provision

Bob Doherty, Frank Boons, Peter Wells, J Kohler, George Papachristos

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The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic provides an empirical testing ground for assessing the impact of critical events on societal transitions. Such events are typically seen as exogenous to the transition process, an assumption which is investigated in this paper. Using a qualitative system dynamics modelling approach we conceptualize transition pathways as sets of interacting sequences of events. This enables the analysis of event sequences that constitute the evolving pandemic as impacting on those pathways. We apply this approach to the provision of (auto)mobility and food in the UK. This shows the way in which the pandemic has had a differential effect on ongoing transitions in both systems, sometimes slowing them down, and sometimes accelerating them. In addition, it reveals how it has established new transition pathways. The empirical work further shows how qualitative modelling with system dynamics facilitates an explicit and systematic comparative analysis of transition case studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Early online date1 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

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© 2021 The Author(s)

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