Institut de Gestion de l'Environnement et d'Aménagement du Territoire

Dr. PEL Bonno

Bonno Pel is a post-doctoral researcher at CEDD in system innovations and transitions, with a particular interest in the role of social innovation in these processes of societal transformation. Graduated in environmental planning and political philosophy at the University of Amsterdam (NL), he finished his PhD on system innovation in-the-making in 2012 at Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL).

Domaine(s) d’activités

Bonno is a generalist, aiming for phenomenon-driven research. The key phenomena to study are today's persistent sustainability problems, and the associated governance challenges. Arguably, these systemic problems require sensitivity to the complexity and dynamics of sociotechnical systems, and integrating, crossdisciplinary modes of analysis. System innovations and transitions are also deeply political processes however, and this requires critical awareness, institutional concreteness and situated analysis.

Being interested in system innovation and transitions processes as they occur in various societal domains and sectors, Bonno has a longstanding fascination for the complexity of the mobility system. He has investigated it from the angles of transportation and environmental planning, socio-political philosophy, public administration and the sociology of mobilities. Transitions theory helps integrate these insights.


Bonno obtained an MSc in environmental planning (2004) and MA in political philosophy (with distinction) (2002) at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Both concluded with final theses addressing current automobility problems. First developing a critical understanding of 'free' modal choice (philosophy), the second (environmental planning) developed spatial and non-spatial solution strategies on this basis of realistic agency.

These early advances towards interdisciplinary, critical, constructivist and systems-oriented modes of thinking came together in 2006, when starting dissertation research at the department of public administration at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL). Embedded in the Governance of Complex Research Group (GOCS), this dissertation research focused on system innovation in-the-making, through innovation processes in the Dutch traffic management field. Building on the sociology of translations as developed by Latour, Callon and others, an immanent rather than transcendental understanding of system innovation processes was developed - captured in the dissertation Pel, B. (2012) - System innovation as Synchronization; Innovation attempts in the Dutch traffic management field.

Before joining CEDD in May 2014, Bonno has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the GOCS group at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Thisinvolved projects on the planning and design of complex Delta areas (IPDD project, funded by Dutch Research Council) and the management of sustainable, 'zero-impact' cultural heritage events (ZEN, EU-Interreg). He also recently finished a research project commissioned by the Dutch Rathenau institute for technology assessment, on the social, political and governance aspects of the self-driving car.

Projets de recherche (sélection)

recent publications

  • Rozema, J. & Pel, B. (2014), Confronting Momentum: Mapping the Social Appraisals of an ‘Inevitable’ Motorway Capacity Expansion, Environment & Planning A, 46(8), 2000-2015
  • Pel, B. (2014), Intersections in System Innovation; a Nested-case Methodology to study Co-evolving Innovation Journeys, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 26 (3), 307-320
  • Pel, B. (2014), Interactive Metal Fatigue; A Conceptual Contribution to Social Critique in Mobilities Research, Mobilities, DOI:10.1080/17450101.2014.942101
  • Dammers, E., Bregt, A.K.,  Edelenbos, J., Meyer, V.M., & Pel, B. (2014), Urban deltas as complex adaptive systems: implications for planning and design, Built Environment 40 (2), 156-168
  • Pel, B., van Est, R. & Raven, R.P.J.M. (2014), The self-driving car: Transition and system reproduction potentials of an emergent technology, IST Conference 27-29 Aug. 2014, Utrecht
  • Eshuis, J., Pel, B. & Coca - Stefaniak, A. (2014), The durational nature of temporary events: An international comparison of legacy and sustainability practices in festivals and events, IPA conference 3-5 July 2014, Wageningen (NL)
  • Pel, B., Verkerk, J., van Buuren, M.W. & Edelenbos, J. (2013), Intersections in delta development; analyzing actors for complexity-sensitive spatial design, COMPACT Work II; Challenges Of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory Work, La Verne, California, The United States, June 5-8, 2013
  • Pel, B., Duijn, M., Janssen, M. & Edelenbos, J. (2013), Constructing delta realities; Joint Fact Finding challenges in Serious Game Design, 8th International Conference in Interpretive Policy Analysis; Societies in Conflict: Experts, Publics and Democracy, 3-5 July, Vienna (AUT)
  • Pel, B. (2012), Trojan horses in System Innovation; A dialectical perspective on the paradox of acceptable novelty, 7th International Conference in Interpretive Policy Analysis, July 5th – 7th 2012, Tilburg, the Netherlands
  • Pel, B. (2012), Beyond ‘resistance to change’: Interference management in System Innovation, 3rd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, August 29-31, 2012, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dr. PEL Bonno






Campus du Solbosch

Bâtiment D - 6ème niveau

Local DB6.250

Avenue Depage, 30

1050 Bruxelles

Tél: +32(0)479977700