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Experimenting for sustainability transitions: A systematic literature review

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Abstract

This review paper systematically queries the Sustainability Transitions literature to unpack the concept of ‘experimentation’. We define an experiment as an inclusive, practice-based and challenge-led initiative, which is designed to promote system innovation through social learning under conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity. A distinction is made between various terms (niche experiments, bounded socio-technical experiments, transition experiments, sustainability experiments and grassroots experiments), each with their own theoretical backgrounds and discursive and empirical focal points. Observed patterns and trends in the literature are discussed, as well as promising lines of enquiry for further exploration of- and a reflection on experimenting for sustainability transitions in the context of the welfare state.

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... This media coverage was what initially spurred our interest in studying floating houses. Empirically we therefore chose to target five entrepreneurs involved in urban experimentation, thus acting as regime outsiders pushing for new innovative solutions (Sengers et al., 2019). We complement this main data with a smaller sample of planners in three municipalities currently engaged in constructing floating districts. ...
... Experimenting to achieve innovation and change has its roots in studies of socio-technical systems and sustainability transitions (Markard et al., 2012). Sengers et al. (2019) recently distinguished between five dominant conceptualizations of how experiments may trigger system innovation: niche experiments, bounded socio-technical experiments, grassroots experiments, transition experiments and sustainability experiments, each with their specific definition, normative orientation, theoretical foundation, analytical emphasis and identified main actors. However, one rapidly growing conceptualization concerns urban climate experimentation (Evans et al., 2016;Sengers et al., 2019). ...
... Sengers et al. (2019) recently distinguished between five dominant conceptualizations of how experiments may trigger system innovation: niche experiments, bounded socio-technical experiments, grassroots experiments, transition experiments and sustainability experiments, each with their specific definition, normative orientation, theoretical foundation, analytical emphasis and identified main actors. However, one rapidly growing conceptualization concerns urban climate experimentation (Evans et al., 2016;Sengers et al., 2019). It assumes that improved understanding of the emergence, dynamics, and consequences of urban climate experiments could potentially open new ways of addressing climate change (Bulkeley & Castán Broto, 2013;Bulkeley et al., 2015). ...
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With climate change already underway, cities are looking for ways to deal with its effects. To balance urban waterfront development and climate adaptation, floating housing is presented as a promising solution—however it has not been studied sufficiently. This paper explores floating housing as urban climate experimentation, targeting vision/motivation, practice and upscaling in a national context where support mechanisms and traditions are absent. Interviews with innovation entrepreneurs and municipal planners involved with planning and building floating districts show that, with one exception, the Swedish initiatives are at odds with the theoretical assumptions behind urban climate experimentation. Initiatives are neither challenge-led in terms of climate risk nor inclusive and community-based. Rather, the small-scale private entrepreneurs are pioneers in offering unique living on water as one-off innovations. While allowing experimentation, municipal planners are less convinced by the effectiveness and appropriateness of upscaling. Floating housing may contribute to local identity building and place marketing, but are riddled with implementation challenges regarding shoreline protection, privatization/accessibility, limited market interest and urban development fit. While the floating houses themselves withstand flooding, thus safeguarding individual house owners, they do not protect the land-based city with its vulnerable waterfront development patterns. Results thus suggest the limitation of floating houses in shifting development pathways and strengthening urban climate proofing.
... Experimentation holds an important place in sustainability transitions research (Markard et al., 2012), including strategic niche management (Hoogma et al., 2002;Kemp et al., 1998;Rip & Kemp, 1998;. 10 Indeed, the emphasis on experimentation may be the aspect that sets sustainability transitions apart from adjacent fields such as social change and policy theory (Sengers et al., 2019). However, this conception of experimentation differs considerably from the conception employed in the natural sciences (Weiland et al., 2017). ...
... On this basis, experiments may be defined as 'practice-based endeavours of social actors that aim to directly impact society to advance sustainability transformations' (Weiland et al., 2017: 36) or, more elaborately, as 'an inclusive, practice-based and challenge-led initiative designed to promote system innovation through social learning under conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity' (Sengers et al., 2019: 161). Sengers et al. (2019) argue that the sustainability transitions literature on experimentation can be divided into two interconnected streams. One stream draws upon insights from niche-based approaches and transition management (Hoogma et al., 2002;Loorbach et al., 2015;, and emphasises the technological and managerial aspects of sustainability transitions. ...
... Rather, the two streams tend to treat both social and technical aspects, and they only differ with regard to the relative weight ascribed to those aspects (Sengers et al., 2019;A. Smith, 2007). ...
Thesis
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In 2017, the Norwegian Government flagged its interest in automated vehicles, and established legislation that allowed for automated vehicles to be tested on public roads. Proponents of automated vehicles claim that such vehicles represent an opportunity for making road transport greener, safer, and more efficient, as well as a considerable opportunity for industrial development and economic growth. This thesis takes innovation processes relating to automated vehicles as a starting point for understanding the roles ascribed to new technologies in and beyond the transport sector. The thesis is composed of three articles and an overarching essay. The first article concerns the translation of a set of generalised expectations into a more specific vision of how the development of automated vehicles might benefit the Norwegian state, and, by extension, what future automated vehicles might render possible. The second article concerns public expectations regarding automated vehicles in Norway as expressed through a public hearing, how these expectations are reflected in innovation practices, and how the practices shape further expectations. The third article focuses on the temporal aspect of innovation, and contrasts technology innovation with policy innovation in order to draw out the implications of the two approaches to shaping the future of transport. The overarching essay analyses, synthesises, and draws conclusions from across the three articles to enable a discussion of the transformative role often ascribed to technology. Whereas the importance of technology should not be discounted offhand, transport innovation in Norway is configured in a way that ultimately promotes the continuation and preservation of established transport patterns in particular, as well as society more generally. The expectation that future technology will help ameliorate or even solve the problems associated with today’s transport system allows present-day action to be deferred indefinitely. However, expectations are always associated with considerable uncertainty. Hence, it is crucial not only to ask what benefits new technologies might bring, and to assess any such claims critically, but also to plan for a future in which expectations for new technologies might not be realised.
... Our analysis of the existing experimental designs confirmed observations made by Sengers et al. that "[ . . . ] many real-life transition projects described in the literature as one type of experiment could easily be described in the terms of any of the other experiment types" [11] (p. 9). ...
... 956) described sustainability transitions as "long-term, multi-dimensional, and fundamental transformation processes through which established socio-technical systems shift to more sustainable modes of production and consumption." A core component is the utilization of sociotechnical experimentation as means for technological, social, and institutional learning, which is essential for fundamental and long-term changes [11]. Unlike technical experiments, which focus solely on the technical dimension, sociotechnical experiments include the dimensions of user practices and institutional structures and involve real-world actors and contexts [5,11]. ...
... A core component is the utilization of sociotechnical experimentation as means for technological, social, and institutional learning, which is essential for fundamental and long-term changes [11]. Unlike technical experiments, which focus solely on the technical dimension, sociotechnical experiments include the dimensions of user practices and institutional structures and involve real-world actors and contexts [5,11]. A constructive technology assessment (CTA) can be considered as the source of many of these ideas, with the CTA approach opening up the process and decision-making of technology development to users, citizens, and policymakers in order to enable reflective forms of social learning to take place. ...
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It is widely acknowledged that real-world experimentation is essential for the advancement of sustainable solutions. Urban contexts are perfectly suited for this form of innovation, since they have a high demand for solutions and also offer the necessary resources for the development of new ideas. However, there is a need for a well-defined basis for the selection process of suitable experimental designs for specific cases. This paper presents a typology of various existing sustainability experimental designs, focusing on the distinct features between different types and their respective strengths and weaknesses. Using the case of temporary housing models for Vienna, this paper provides a step-by-step selection process based on a catalogue of questions to match various types of housing projects with experimental designs. By improving the understanding of what the defining features of existing experimental approaches are, more clarity is provided for the design and planning of sociotechnical experiments for greater sustainability.
... Les Transition Studies ont mis en lumière le rôle essentiel de l'expérimentation dans la conduite de la transformation (il s'agit d'un agent clé du changement) et proposé différents cadres conceptuels pour l'envisager [Weiland et al., 2017, Sengers et al., 2019. Les projets financés par la Commission européenne au titre de l'innovation sur le Réseau transeuropéen de transport ont précisément été conçus comme des projets expérimentaux situés très en aval dans le processus d'innovation, visant à préparer le déploiement à grande échelle de l'infrastructure de recharge pour véhicules électriques par l'essai en conditions réelles (« real-life trial ») de la relation client. ...
... La littérature sur les transitions considère que l'expérimentation est un levier clé de la transformation : par ses fonctions d'apprentissage et de démonstration, elle permet de pousser des configurations durables émergentes [Weiland et al, 2017 ;Sengers et al., 2019]. Plusieurs cadres analytiques ont été formalisés, également conçus comme des outils opérationnels, qui mettent l'accent sur l'organisation de l'expérimentation dans les transitions. ...
... Elle se déploie ainsi comme un mécanisme central du management de niche stratégique, et le développement de l'innovation est réputé passer par l'organisation d'expérimentations de plus en plus larges. Le passage à l'échelle des expérimentations de niche, c'est-à-dire le processus par lequel elles en viennent à influencer le régime, repose en particulier sur l'implication, dans l'expérimentation, des acteurs du régime ayant la volonté et le pouvoir de transformer les structures existantes [Sengers et al., 2019]. Il s'agit de permettre l'apprentissage, mais aussi la coordination des acteurs. ...
Thesis
Depuis le tournant des années 2010, le véhicule électrique (VE) occupe une place centrale dans la stratégie de l’Union européenne (UE) en matière de décarbonation des transports et de développement des carburants alternatifs. L’ambition poursuivie est claire : il s’agit de permettre l’essor du VE sur le marché de masse. Dans cette perspective, la Commission européenne (CE) a porté ses efforts sur le développement de l’infrastructure de recharge, autour de deux préoccupations principales : son déploiement paneuropéen et son harmonisation à travers l’Union. Cette thèse prend pour point de départ la démarche originale imaginée à la Commission européenne pour encourager l’investissement privé et préparer le déploiement à grande échelle de l’infrastructure de recharge sur le réseau transeuropéen de transport (RTE-T) : le co-financement de projets pilotes d’infrastructure, offrant à des entreprises pionnières l’opportunité de tester la relation client en conditions réelles, d’investiguer des modèles d’affaires viables et de déterminer les conditions du passage à l’échelle. L’approche a été désignée sous le terme de « real-life trial ». A partir d’une enquête de type ethnographique conduite en immersion au sein de deux de ces projets, la thèse propose une réflexion sur la nature et les propriétés du « real-life trial » dans la construction d’une offre de recharge pour VE, par-delà le concept proposé par la CE. On montre ainsi comment ces essais en conditions réelles permettent de faire émerger la « vraie vie » de la recharge. On expose en particulier la façon dont les projets imposent des questions jusque-là sous-estimées (la complexité du déploiement des réseaux, la variété des solutions technologiques pour garantir l’accès transfrontière à l’infrastructure) et permettent d’affiner l’objet-même du « real-life trial ». On démontre leur nature résolument expérimentale, négligée a priori par les porteurs de projets. On montre que les projets contribuent moins au test d’une activité commerciale assise sur des technologies qui seraient suffisamment matures qu’à l’exploration et à la mise en forme de nouveaux arrangements socio- techniques (la recharge sur autoroute, la recharge paneuropéenne) et à la maturation de l’écosystème d’acteurs. On montre aussi que les projets de « real-life trial » sont un site d’observation formidable à partir duquel investiguer et décoder la dynamique d’innovation européenne en matière de recharge. En fin de compte, on met en évidence le rôle essentiel de l’expérimentation en conditions réelles, en tant qu’opérateur de transformation, dans la conduite de la transition vers l’électromobilité en Europe, et l’on suggère que ce type de démarche mériterait d’être poursuivi et généralisé.
... 1. strategic level: aiming at producing vision on different transition pathways; 2. tactical level: building plans and agenda with investment commitments; 3. operational level: learning-by-doing based on experiments and innovation; 4. reflexive level: evaluating to adjust the 3 other levels. Figure 1: Focus on level three, transition management cycle, from Loorbach, 2010 [22] More precisely, the operational level focuses on actions that allow both the implementation of transition experiments that fit with strategic and tactical activities and modalities to deepen and broaden their effects on a larger scale, particularly at the governance level [50]. Even if the question of the modalities of scaling up is raised, particularly in the key role of evaluation and learning, there is still little empirical or theoretical evidence to support the understanding of this crucial phase of transition management. ...
... Our results specify some of the managerial activities. First, while it is acknowledged that evaluation is a veritable keystone for governing and promoting sustainable transitions [50], [81], we provide further details on its design modalities. Second, our design principles related to managing the experimentation provide some guidelines for monitoring and adjusting the experiment and for implementing actions that prepare the following phase of the transformative process. ...
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To meet grand challenges, organizations must rethink how they establish their objectives and processes in a more sustainable way. Social innovation is seen as a very promising way to respond to this call. Nevertheless, social innovation encounters difficulties in scaling and reaching its transformative power. Based on the theoretical framework of transition management, our paper focuses on the co-design of transformative social innovation by trying to identify how actors can manage it successfully during the experimentation phase. We have conducted research based on the design science methodology to develop both concrete solutions to solve empirical problems and build strong design propositions. The results and design propositions stem from the analysis of three case studies of French social impact bonds, which are contractual tools funding social innovation programs. Social impact bonds are, by nature, co-design processes involving different types of stakeholders (private funders, public commissioners, and nonprofit organizations). This paper provides six design principles to support the cooperation and alignment of multiple stakeholders to foster their scaling up, which is crucial for perpetuating social innovation. This research contributes theoretically to both the social innovation scaling literature and the transition management framework and offers practical guidelines to help social practitioners to co-design and manage transformative social innovations.
... We conclude that onsite local innovations are as important a factor to consider as institutional, technical, attitudinal, and financial aspects in experiment transfer and contextualization. Sengers et al. (2019) provide an overview of various types of experimentation conceptualizations in sustainability transition literature, amongst which the concepts of sustainability experiment and grassroots experiment are more relevant to the empirical evidence of this study. A sustainability experiment is defined as a "planned initiative that embodies a highly novel socio-technical configuration likely to lead to substantial (environmental) sustainability gains" (Berkhout et al., 2010). ...
... Competing interactions between external experiments and existing experiments represent conflicts as they compete for the same inputs or occupying the same niche, leading to obstruction of external experiment transfer. Many scholars report that controversies and tensions are a central part of transition processes when emerging experiments challenge the path-dependencies and lock-ins in existing socio-technical regimes (Geels, 2011;Markard et al., 2012;Sengers et al., 2019). This research sheds lights on a new complexity: tensions and trade-offs occur when an external experiment poses threats to existing experiments in the recipient city. ...
Article
Despite a growing body of literature on how to broaden urban sustainability experiments, the research community still lacks a comprehensive understanding of the factors that enable and obstruct real-world applications. One under-studied aspect is the compatibility of an incoming external experiment with existing experimentation in the contextualization process. We address this knowledge gap by using an inter-city learning case study of a food waste management experiment. The Australian Capital Territory is the hypothetical receptor city for an experiment first conducted in Milan. We conducted interviews and surveys to examine the institutional, technical, and attitudinal opportunities and barriers. We show that existing local experimentation should be considered alongside those factors. We conceptualize different modes of compatibility between the external experiment and existing local experimentation and call for greater attention to compatibility in both research and practice of broadening sustainability experiments.
... In order to tackle persistent, interlinked and highly unequally distributed global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, unhealthy consumption patterns, environmental pollution and water scarcity, there is an urgent need to foster sustainable and just transitions in a wide range of socio-technical systems Markard et al., 2012;Loorbach et al., 2017;Köhler et al., 2019). In transition literature, significant attention has been given to the role of transition experiments as spaces for stimulating and co-creating the development of novel pathways and transformative innovations to tackle (context-specific) sustainability challenges (see Sengers et al., 2019 for an overview of experimentation in transitions, cf. Smith and Raven, 2012;Rotmans and Loorbach, 2009;Kemp et al., 1998). ...
... Despite their many manifestations, experiments in transition literature share multiple commonalities, leading Sengers et al., (2019: 161) to define such experiments as "inclusive, practice-based and challenge-led initiative[s] designed to promote system innovation through social learning under conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity." As to further concretize this conceptualization, we explicate some key elements of transition experiments by synthesizing insights from the broader literature on experimentation (e.g., Loorbach, 2007;Schot and Geels, 2008;Bergek et al., 2008a;Van den Bosch, 2010;Sengers et al., 2019). We distinguish five important elements of transition experiments: (1) mobilizing networks and resources; (2) visioning and directionality; (3) developing and scaling innovations; (4) learning and reflection; and (5) creating legitimacy. ...
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Transition experiments are important instruments to foster sustainability transitions. Transition scholars increasingly suggest investigating how multiple local experiments can become connected across spatial scales, and how transformative dynamics of multiple connected experiments can be facilitated and governed. In this paper we analyze the different types of translocal dynamics involved in simultaneously governing multiple experiments in multi-sited transition programs, by empirically exploring the FIT4FOOD2030 program (2017-2020) that supported 25 transition experiments. Then, we present four overarching challenges in governing translocal experimentation: (1) finding synergies between diverging local needs and program ambitions; (2) navigating the cross-scale political dynamics in multi-sited transition programs; (3) moving beyond output-oriented evaluation frameworks in order to capture transformative efforts of short-term programs; and (4) expanding the boundaries of programs by linking to ongoing policy developments in highly complex multi-level governance settings. We hope our work can inform transition governance efforts in fostering transformative translocal dynamics toward sustainability.
... COVID-19 has served as a reminder and a test platform for making better use of urban transport infrastructure for change for the benefit of residents. Such experiments have previously demonstrated their effectiveness and are good practice for adapting and applying new opportunities (Sengers et al., 2019) and can provide a basis for testing, tracking and generating new ideas for innovation that can be replicated if successful. ...
... The different temporary measures introduced during the pandemic, such as pop-up lanes for light traffic and traffic monitoring for adjusting transportation offering in real time, could be seen as regulatory sandboxes where bureaucratic barriers could be quickly overcome to implement required solutions. Consequently, it is possible to test different solutions and discover new traffic management opportunities (Sengers et al., 2019). ...
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As the passenger transportation sector is disrupted by the emergence of myriad technological and business model innovations such as automated mobility, shared mobility and Mobility-as-a-Service, new and improved governance models are required. The COVID-19 pandemic can be seen as yet another disruption, stressing the need for a more proactive and inclusive governance. This article aims to juxtapose the need for collaborative, adaptive and outcome-based governance models in the mobility sector before and after the pandemic started. First, we analyse the governance needs and trends related to mobility innovations that were identified during two workshops with public and private actors in the mobility sector and through an extensive research of new governance models already applied in many European countries. Second, we analyse the impact of COVID-19 on mobility governance, focusing specifically on mobility innovations. Based on the analysis, we draw conclusions regarding the long-term trends in how the governance of mobility innovations will be affected by the ongoing pandemic.
... In the literature, the focus of urban sustainability transition research is primarily on cities' innovation capacity in policy, community-led actions, or sociotechnical experiments [24][25][26][27] . These studies have explored a variety of innovative urban initiatives promoting the adoption of new technologies (e.g., smart city technologies, electric vehicles, solar and wind power, and sponge city demonstrations) to achieve their transition goals [28][29][30][31][32][33] . ...
... Various experiments incubated in cities can be scaled up for broad transition 25,[38][39][40][41] . The concept of urban sustainability experiments can be understood in two layers: first, a city as a whole can be considered a sustainability experiment when examining its role in enabling a national/international transition; second, cities can be seen as an incubator or lab for experimentation 42,43 . ...
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Hydrogen energy from renewables has the potential to address climate challenges, and technological advancements are vital for driving this energy transition. Globally, an increasing number of cities are actively adopting hydrogen strategies. The literature on the urban sustainability transition primarily focuses on policy innovations for technology adoption, while the role of cities in enabling technological innovation is underexplored. Here, we address this gap by analyzing 122 policy documents from 39 Chinese cities with hydrogen plans by using qualitative content analysis methods. The findings reveal myriad and critical roles of cities in fostering technological innovations in an emergent hydrogen economy via targeted policy support and investment in desired technologies. By moving ahead of the national government, these early movers play a critical role in creating early momentum and laying the foundation for future scale transition. Our findings also point to a clear need for these bottom-up initiatives to be better guided and channeled toward clean hydrogen development, as the lack of upper-level policy guidance can lead to diversified priorities and outcomes. Our findings call for renewed research and policy attention to the proactive role of cities in technological innovation and the sustainability transition and they stress the importance of engaging cities in hydrogen economy development nationally and internationally.
... Herein, the concept of 'experimentation' occupies a central position within the academic component that investigates transformations towards sustainable socio-technical systems. This focus on experimentation is a key agent of change that sets the sustainability transitions field apart from the wider literature of social change and policy theory [23,44]. 'Socio-technical experimentation' can be contrasted with the notion of experimentation used in the natural sciences. ...
... 'Socio-technical experimentation' can be contrasted with the notion of experimentation used in the natural sciences. It implies a more engaged and social constructivist position, whereby society is itself a laboratory and a variety of real-world actors commit to the messy experimental processes tied up with the introduction of alternative technologies and practices, to purposively re-shape social and material realities [44,45]. Second, the concept of the socio-technical regime has been formulated to account for the delay and path-dependency experienced in articulating and understanding transformative change [46]. ...
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The global goal to end hunger requires the interpretation of problems and change across multiple domains to create the scope for collaboration, learning, and impactful research. We facilitated a workshop aimed at understanding how stakeholders problematize sustainable diet transition (SDT) among a previously marginalized social group. Using the systems thinking approach, three sub-systems, namely access to dietary diversity, sustainable beneficiation of natural capital, and ‘food choice for well-being’, highlighted the main forces governing the current context, and future interventions of the project. Moreover, when viewed as co-evolving processes within the multi-level perspective, our identified microlevel leverage points—multi-faceted literacy, youth empowerment, deliberative policymaking, and promotion of sustainable diet aspirations—can be linked and developed through existing national macro-level strategies. Thus, co-designing to problematize transformational SDT, centered on an interdisciplinary outlook and informational governance, could streamline research implementation outcomes to re-structure socio-technical sectors and reconnect people to nature-based solutions. Such legitimate aspirations could be relevant in countries bearing complex socio-political legacies and bridge the local–global goals coherently. This work provides a collaborative framework required to develop impact-driven activities needed to inform evidence-based policies on sustainable diets.
... Im Gegensatz zum Nischenexperiment haben soziales Lernen und sozialer Wandel im Transitionsexperiment also einen zentralen Stellenwert. Es handelt sich dabei um (top-down) geplante Initiativen, die durch die Erprobung innovativer soziotechnischer Konfigurationen Nachhaltigkeitstransitionen beschleunigen möchten (Sengers et al. 2016 Schäpke et al. 2017, McCrory et al. 2020, Sengers et al. 2016, Bulkeley/Castan Broto 2012, Nevens et al. 2013 Rotmans/Loorbach 2010, Anguelovski et al. 2014, Pelling et al. 2015, McPhearson 2020 Mit Ersterem lässt sich das in der Literatur oft konstruierte Spannungsfeld zwischen der immanenten Einzigartigkeit kontextabhängiger Experimente auf der einen und dem Anspruch nach Repräsentativität, Vervielfältigung und Skalierung auf der anderen Seite empirisch beforschen (Hildén et al. 2017). Zweiteres rückt besonders Fragen der Teilhabe und Teilnahme, die auch für die Stadtplanung zentral sind (bspw. ...
... Im Gegensatz zum Nischenexperiment haben soziales Lernen und sozialer Wandel im Transitionsexperiment also einen zentralen Stellenwert. Es handelt sich dabei um (top-down) geplante Initiativen, die durch die Erprobung innovativer soziotechnischer Konfigurationen Nachhaltigkeitstransitionen beschleunigen möchten (Sengers et al. 2016 Schäpke et al. 2017, McCrory et al. 2020, Sengers et al. 2016, Bulkeley/Castan Broto 2012, Nevens et al. 2013 Rotmans/Loorbach 2010, Anguelovski et al. 2014, Pelling et al. 2015, McPhearson 2020 Mit Ersterem lässt sich das in der Literatur oft konstruierte Spannungsfeld zwischen der immanenten Einzigartigkeit kontextabhängiger Experimente auf der einen und dem Anspruch nach Repräsentativität, Vervielfältigung und Skalierung auf der anderen Seite empirisch beforschen (Hildén et al. 2017). Zweiteres rückt besonders Fragen der Teilhabe und Teilnahme, die auch für die Stadtplanung zentral sind (bspw. ...
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Living Labs, Grassroots Innovationen, Transition Arenas – Experimentierräume haben in der urbanen Klima-Governance den Status als Hoffnungsträger einer transformativen Wende erhalten. Während die Relevanz derartiger Experimente unbestritten ist, sind die Hintergründe ihrer Entstehung und die Schlüsselelemente ihres Erfolgs aber oft unklar. Dieses Paper präsentiert ein Forschungskonzept, das die förderlichen Kontexte und Treiber transformativer Experimente in der städtischen Klimawandelanpassung beleuchtet. Eingangs erfolgt eine Systematisierung der Vielzahl an in diesem Zusammenhang bestehenden Konzepte. Darauf aufbauend wird eine eigenständige Definition transformativer Experimente als soziale Innovationen eingeführt. Diese erlaubt die Betrachtung von Experimentierräumen als innovative Ideenund Implementierungsprozesse in einem spezifischen strukturellen und politisch-institutionellen Kontext und ermöglicht einen Fokus auf die entscheidenden Wissensdimensionen und handelnden Subjekte im experimentellen Anpassungsprozess. Daraus leitet sich schließlich eine konkrete Forschungsagenda für die Analyse transformativer Experimente in der städtischen Klimawandelanpassung ab.
... At first, we performed a systematic exploration of available research papers (Sengers et al., 2019) on blockchain implementation challenges in developing countries. Leading academic research databases were used to search and extract relevant publications (Saif & Islam, 2022). ...
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Contemporary research on technology and innovation management has gauged blockchain as a catalyst for the electronic-information era. As developing countries around the globe are facing challenges to adopt and implement blockchain, this evidence-based systematic review aims to identify the implementation challenges of blockchain technology for developing countries. A total of 1,298 published documents during the period 2016-2021 from the Scopus, Web of Science, IEEE Xplore, and ScienceDirect databases were explored to recognize 19 appropriate publications for research analysis using a PRISMA flow diagram. Based on the identified challenges from the thorough reviews of these 19 publications, using the association technique, the authors developed four comprehensive themes as broad challenges: technological, governance, organizational and environmental, and knowledge. Later, they performed bibliometric analyses using VOSviewer 1.6.17, and based on the bibliometric evidence constructed term co-occurrence network plots. The results show that developing countries face challenges vis-à-vis technological, governance, organizational and environmental, and knowledge issues when implementing blockchain technology. Hence, to make blockchain adoption and implementation processes successful in developing countries, these broad categories of challenges must be properly addressed. In addition, practitioners of disruptive technology, policymakers, consultants, IT experts, business people, top company managers, and above all, respective governments need to pay attention to these challenges for accelerating the blockchain adoption and implementation process in developing countries.
... When explicitly touched upon, there is an acknowledgement that sustainability is often reduced to environmental impact (Ståhlbröst, 2012), or a stock that can increase or decrease through efficient management (Hossain et al., 2019). tangential to analytical-descriptive perspectives on socio-technical change (Geels, 2002;Sengers et al., 2016). Seminal transition studies referred to environmental consequences for socio-technical systems of provision such as mobility, waste, and energy (Geels, 2010). ...
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Sustainability is high on the political agenda, with its analytical and practical importance underscored in the field of sustainability transitions. Experiments, arenas, and laboratories are frequently highlighted as real-world objects to investigate sustainability in place. Despite existing lab studies, attempts at comparison at the empirical level remain unconvincing. Here, sustainability remains oversimplified, warranting further investigation to unpack how labs compare in their orientation towards sustainability. This article presents a rigorous and transparent empirically grounded typology, intended to discern ways to engage with sustainability. We outline and elaborate upon six distinctive types entitled: 1) Fix and control, 2) (Re-)Design and optimize, 3) Make and relate, 4) Educate and engage, 5) Empower and govern, and 6) Explore and shape. This study highlights similarities and differences between labs, and across different types. These findings are discussed with reference to ongoing conceptualizations on directionality, providing a fruitful point of departure for ongoing transitions research.
... Approaches include for instance Transition Management (Rotmans and Loorbach, 2009); Strategic Niche Management (Kemp et al., 1998); adaptive governance (Folke et al., 2005); reflexive governance (Voß and Bornemann, 2011); deliberative policy making (Hajer, 2003); transdisciplinarity (Lang et al., 2012) and the pathways approach (Leach et al., 2010). They are applied in a wide variety of spaces and contexts, such as Transition Arenas (Loorbach, 2007), (Urban) Living Labs (Hossain et al., 2019;Bulkeley et al., 2016), Real-World Laboratories (McCrory et al., 2020) and socio-technical experiments (see Sengers et al., 2019). Serving as guiding principles rather than blueprints, transition and transformation scholars argue that pluralities of enabling, structural and systemic governance approaches need to be fostered and creatively combined in order to effectively act upon different scales and leverage points to foster sustainable transformation across a wide variety of societal systems Scoones et al., 2020;Sievers-Glotzbach and Tschersich, 2019). ...
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In this paper, we explore the relation between democracy and justice in governing agri-food transitions. We argue that a deeper understanding of democracy is needed to foster just transitions. First, we present a multi-dimensional understanding of justice in transitions and relate it to scholarship on democratizing transitions. Then, we argue that three paradigm shifts are required to overcome current unsustainable dynamics: (1) from expert toward pluralist understandings of knowledge; (2) from economic materialism toward post-growth strategies; and (3) from anthropocentrism toward reconnecting human-nature relationships. We explicate what these paradigm shifts entail for democratizing transitions from distributive, procedural, recognition and restorative justice perspectives. Finally, we highlight six challenges to institutionalizing deep democratic governance. These entail balancing tensions between: multiple justice dimensions, democracy and urgency, top-down and bottom-up directionalities, local and global scales, realism and idealism, and roles of incumbent scientific systems. This requires thoroughly rethinking transition studies’ normative and democratic ambitions.
... They can start niches with different socio-technical elements and spread the new 'ways of doing' (Geels & Raven, 2006). Most research on the potential of niche markets is qualitative in nature (Zolfagharian et al., 2019;Sengers et al., 2019). lacking a validation of the theories. ...
Article
The energy transition of Dutch shipping is a complex gradual process due to the variety in vessels, cost and lifetime of assets, uncertainty, additional costs of climate-neutral alternatives and required regulatory changes. This paper aims to create a holistic overview of both the transition barriers and enablers. A focus is placed on the significance of pilot projects. Using the socio-technical multi-level perspective as a framework, literature on lock-in mechanisms, strategic niche management, transition pathways, and shipping specific aspects was evaluated as a starting point for determining the shipping specific barriers. Semi-structured interviews with industry experts were used to further develop the overview of the barriers and add the required enablers. Thereafter, three case studies were conducted for additional detail, context and reflection on the theory, barriers and enablers provided by experts and literature. Pilot projects can reduce any market entry barrier for a certain vessel and operational area. These barriers can originate from interdependency, costs, uncertainty, the required assets, regulations and mindset. Pilots can significantly reduce the additional costs of climate-neutral sailing by tens of per cent, improving the market potential and creating opportunities for follow-ups, scale-ups and spin-offs. Furthermore, pilots can develop clear climate-neutral sailing practices, the new 'ways of doing', which articulates expectations and visions on a future climate-neutral cluster which makes investments less risky. It has therefore been demonstrated that subsidizing pilot projects through local governments can become a key enabler for shipping, since the global nature and complex governance structure make it difficult to initiate and accelerate the transition in other ways.
... Recent reviews covering similarly emerging, broad and interdisciplinary topics in energy, innovation and sustainability transitions also balance bibliographic and thematic elements, thereby indicating soundness of the approach. Included amongst these, for example, are reviews on the emerging field and prospects for sustainability transitions [17,36], on renewable energy and national development [67], on experiments in sustainability transitions [68], and on integrating science and technology studies with energy social science [23]. Nonetheless, reviews devoted exclusively to the conceptual aspect can also be found, for example, on political power and renewable energy [69] and on understandings of social innovation in energy systems [70]. ...
Article
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Despite recent calls for more critical views of capitalism in sustainability transitions research, a starting point for transitions researchers is lacking. Recognizing the potential of the varieties of capitalism (VoC) approach to bring capitalism deeper into transitions research, this paper constitutes a review of VoC in the sustainability transitions literature, returning to its theoretical foundations in coordination and strategic interactions and their relations to innovation and socio-technical system transformation. The review finds the most common application of VoC to be in the energy dimension of transition, nevertheless revealing a shallow engagement with the approach that reinforces the need for conceptual development for sustainability transitions purposes. Potential areas for development relate to the enrichment of core VoC concepts – coordination, strategic interaction and comparative institutional advantage – and to competing growth and sustainability objectives of existing (and beyond) capitalist systems. There is a further need to expand the scope of VoC application beyond ideal-form national archetypes to infiltrate across scales and levels, as well as to go beyond the traditional range of sectors to shed light on understudied actors, roles and power relations for transitions. Despite typical delegation to political economy, VoC is highly interdisciplinary, applicable to common frameworks used in transition studies and amenable to social scientists interested in power and agency in transitions. As a strategy for moving VoC forward in transitions research, it is recommended to place it at the core of studies taking institutions, stakeholder interactions and sector coordination in their contextual situations seriously.
... In addition, sustainability indicators in project management, especially investment projects (infrastructure, construction), are defined in a relatively small number of documents. These results show that the field of sustainability in PM and beyond, especially the use of indicators in construction projects that help the process, is still being explored [16]. Initial research was found in [17] and then the literature was followed, filtered, and evaluated in the article Integrating sustainability indicators into project management: The case of construction industry [18], [19]. ...
Conference Paper
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The goal of this paper is to explore the dimension of sustainability in the processes of project management through a systematic literature review; more specifically, the paper aims at reviewing the approaches for assuring urban projects performance targeting sustainable objectives. An attempt to explore the way the two fields intersect by means of exchanging both strengths: project management knowleadge areas, on the one hand, and sustainability tools, a win-win for improving the efficiency of implementing sustenability in every project. The research objective is to define concepts, terminology and conceptual clarifications on the management of sustainable urban development projects, the bibliographic reference, which will present the historical evolution and the current state of knowledge in the field (theories, studies and relationships, good practices, definitions). The scope of this effort is to dive into the maze of a literature review in order to identify the link between project management and sustainability and the transition paved by unique and challenging experiences which shifts towards a green and inclusive future.
... Increasingly, the term 'Just Transitions' is used as an umbrella term to capture this proposed inclusive and accelerated societal change process in which wider and deeper deliberation across diverse problem and solution frames, the distribution of costs and benefits, and political ramifications and impacts on longer term policy trajectories are more carefully managed (Atteridge & Strambo, 2020;Galvin & Healy, 2020;Goddard & Farrelly, 2018;Newell & Simms, 2021;Ürge-Vorsatz et al., 2014). This literature points to the need for inclusive innovation, specifically, collaborative learning and diffusion of energy technologies within networks of civic, private and public institutions, in which local experiments as well as longer-term solutions are facilitated and embedded in larger scale democratic and reflexive governance processes and institutional frameworks (Blank, 2006;Feindt & Weiland, 2018;Foster & Heeks, 2013b;Heiskanen et al., 2010;Labanca et al., 2020;Nill & Kemp, 2009;OECD, 2017;Schillo & Robinson, 2017;Sengers et al., 2019). However, much of the literature in this field takes the vantage point of Europe, in social democracies with high levels of policy capacity and levels of investment in science, technology and innovation that may be beyond the reach of small advanced economies, economies outside of the OECD, or even liberalised market economies in the developed world. ...
Preprint
Inclusive innovation, defined by wider and deeper forms of civic engagement in socio-technical change processes, is often seen as an effective and underutilised pathway to accelerate a transition to a low carbon society. However, evidence suggests that its role in energy transitions has been limited as well as unique to specific material-economic, actor-institutional and discursive contexts. Here we characterise inclusive versus exclusive transition pathways in relation to governance and policy. First, we characterise policy mixes that can be used to analyse and compare inclusive climate change and energy policy across regional or country context, by drawing on existing innovation policy frameworks and the rich literature analysing the barriers and enabling policies for civic energy. Second, we develop ideal type pathways and policy predictions for inclusive versus exclusive governance contexts by synthesising existing theoretical and empirical contributions on participation in transitions, inclusive innovation, and the politics of institutional change, showing how inclusivity of the policy mix is likely to shape the emergence and diffusion of different forms of civic energy. We outline a research agenda enabling translation of best-practice policy across contexts and understanding the relationship between the inclusivity of low carbon innovation and the political viability and speed of transitions.
... Moreover, there is also the need to promote sustainable consumption to reduce overconsumption, and thus, reduce the material and energy throughputs in modern societies (Bocken et al., 2014). Indicators like localization, reduction of ecological footprint, collective action, community building, and development of new social infrastructure can be associated with grassroots innovations towards achieving sustainable consumption (Sengers et al., 2019). Innovations in the ownership structure of food production systems or changes in consumption behavior will have significant consequences for sustainable agri-food systems. ...
Article
Tea smallholders form a significant part of the global tea industry. They support the rural economy in several tea-producing regions in the world. However, their limited role in the tea value chain and numerous other issues pose major challenges to promote sustainability in the smallholders' tea sector. Of late, it has been observed that the adoption of organic cultivation has encouraged some of the tea smallholders to involve in the processing and marketing of tea, enabling the development of an alternative value chain. Based on the premise that value chain development is crucial to improve the smallholders' situation, we follow a mixed methods research approach to draw upon the recent developments in the tea sub-sector in Assam, India. The findings indicate the potential for the development of sustainable and inclusive value chain for the tea smallholders. However, such progress would requisite encouraging more growers to participate in the value chain, and mobilizing and organizing them towards collective actions through suitable institutional arrangements like producer organizations. Further, policy measures focusing on better governance of the smallholders' collectives, building trust, and creating value networks through strategic collaboration would be crucial to empower the growers and promote sustainability in the smallholders' tea production sector.
... NBS, for example, can not only functionally replace grey infrastructure to deliver and manage urban services, but they can also simultaneously be designed to redress existing inequalities and improve social justice outcomes , or to promote urban resilience and economic regeneration (Frantzeskaki, 2019). This, however, requires breaking through the incumbent systems that are bound by material, institutional and cognitive obduracy that are resistant to change (Sengers et al., 2019). For example, the prevailing institutional and cultural mindset favoring development and growth makes it difficult for policy-makers and planners to make firmer decisions around building regulations to preserve the natural environment within cities. ...
Article
Sustainable innovation has been widely acknowledged as the key driver for societal transitions towards sustainability. Recently, there have been widespread calls to mainstream nature-based solutions (NBS), a form of socio-ecological-technical innovation, to address urban sustainable development concerns especially for climate change and increasingly for biodiversity loss. However, what mainstreaming means and how sustainability-oriented innovations like NBS can be mainstreamed to benefit multiple agendas remains underexplored. In this paper, we first critically discuss existing literature on mainstreaming and argue that the common understanding of the concept rooted in policy sciences does not fit the governance context in which urban innovations like NBS are being shaped and adopted. Drawing on sustainability transitions and urban studies literature, we then propose a new approach that promotes the use of NBS to deliver multiple sustainability goals simultaneously. We argue that mainstreaming NBS relies on identifying and acting on a certain set of key forms of interventions-stepping stones-that can facilitate the embeddedness and maintenance of NBS across urban infrastructure regimes. Based on case studies of existing European practices, we identify pivotal stepping stones and promising pathways for mainstreaming NBS for climate change and biodiversity separately and explore what this means for addressing both agendas simultaneously.
... Policy changes resulting from experimentation are often taken for granted (McFadgen & Huitema, 2018;Voß & Simons, 2018). In particular, there is little discussion about the transition dynamics across the two levels identified in the literatureof the protected spaces for experimentation and of the incumbent structures of existing policy Kivimaa et al., 2017;Sengers et al., 2019). The attention to urban experimentation has emphasised the need to understand the impact of governmental policy in the city as a whole Grin, 2020;von Wirth et al., 2019). ...
Article
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The attention that has been drawn to urban experimentation has contributed to new knowledge of the role of local governance for a sustainable transition. Still, there remains little knowledge of how municipalities can foster experimentation and that may result in real change across the protected spaces of experimentation and the existing policy structures. This paper aims at exploring how experimental governance result in real policy change over time by reviewing related discussions from the cross-disciplinary fields of sustainability transition and collaborative innovation, and by discussing findings from a longitudinal case study of an emerging innovation for sustainable mobility services in Oslo. This longitudinal study shows how experimental governance have played various roles at different times in the emerging innovation: promoting innovation, destabilising existing policy arrangements, transforming institutional routines and co-creating shared interests. The findings demonstrate the critical co-evolutionary dynamics of experimental governance, transforming existing policy structures over time.
... This impedes continuation and integration of learning in urban sustainability policies and downplays the urban experiments' potential to produce contextdependent knowledge on how urban transformation can and should be achieved. Eventually, it obscures how urban experiments are actually produced through governance, as they do not occur in a vacuum (Evans et al., 2016;Voß and Schroth, 2018;Sengers et al., 2019;Torrens and von Wirth, 2021). Furthermore, urban experiments reflect a "politics of niches, " as selective political practices produce niches not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of societal norms and policies in a bottom up way Savini and Bertolini, 2019). ...
Article
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Urban experiments have been promoted as means to enable innovation for sustainability, particularly in urban mobility. Yet, they have been criticized for struggling to stimulate broader transformations, as they often are detached from public-value principles, lack embeddedness in the cities' everyday realities and are industry-oriented. How cultural changes on different governance levels intersect to produce urban experiments with transformative potential has received little attention. This paper focuses on how urban experiments are co-created with broader governance cultures in multiple governance levels, and what the implications of this co-creation are for urban transformation. We provide a theoretical background on the interrelations between governance cultures and urban experimentation, and the debate on urban experimentation within Science and Technology Studies, transition/innovation studies and urban studies to identify the main barriers for urban transformation. We, then, present our methodology consisting of the case study selection of the multi-level governance nexus State-Region-City in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, our data collection with interviews and documents, and the analytical tool of storylines to capture the co-production of governance cultures and urban experiments. We continue with the analysis of the case study of automated driving experimentation with the concept of storylines. Our findings show that urban experiments are more likely to lead to urban transformation when the local public sector has a strong role in governance processes, and when experiments emerge through deliberation on daily urban problems and policy agendas. When governance processes are mainly led by state and industry actors who prioritize testing technologies as universal and scalable byproducts, it is less likely for urban experiments to lead to urban transformation. Finally, we discuss when urban experimentation advances technology per se and when it adds public value and advances sustainability, arguing for a co-existence of different kinds of urban experiments. We conclude with future research and policy implications.
... Seguidamente, se diseñó una ecuación (Morioka and Marly, 2016) que incluye el Título: Integrated management systems, con palabras claves environmental management and occupational health, se emplearon términos específicos y operadores booleanos, tales como, AND y OR. Igualmente, se hicieron combinaciones de otras ecuaciones incluyendo sinónimos y se utilizaron programas gratuitos VOSViewer1.6.10 de 2019 (Leiden University, 2019) y Bibliometrix R Package (2019) (Aria & Cuccurullo, 2017) como herramientas de investigación cuantitativas bibliométricas (Sengers, Wieczorek & Raven, 2019). ...
Article
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El propósito de esta investigación es identificar las metodologías utilizadas en la integración del sistema de gestión ISO 14001:2015 con OHSAS 18001:2007 para su implementación desde una perspectiva general. Así mismo, se utilizaron herramientas bibliométricas y de análisis estadístico para el período 1997-2021 entre los cuales fue posible filtrar palabras clave como ISO 14001 y OHSAS 18001 en la base de datos de contenido científico, Scopus. Los resultados encontrados fueron 455 publicaciones, siendo 51 artículos categorizados de alto impacto. Se concluye que han surgido diferentes enfoques para la integración de los sistemas de gestión ISO 14001 y OHSAS 18001, pero hasta ahora no existe una metodología estandarizada que permita implementar eficazmente y comprender los diferentes aspectos de la integración
... Some scholars (e.g., Karvonen and Van Heur 2014) stress the ability of ULLs to create highly context-sensitive and locally-relevant knowledge, while others, including national and international funding agencies, emphasize their potential to produce scalable and transferable innovations (e.g., Schäpke et al. 2018; JPI Urban Europe 2019). This divergence coincides with a focus on the role of ULLs in transforming local governance (Scholl and De Kraker 2021a;Karvonen 2018), versus a primary interest in the contribution these labs can make to system-wide sustainability transitions (Sengers et al. 2019;Von Wirth et al. 2020). In the latter case, much attention is paid to how innovations and lessons can diffuse beyond the confines of the ULL. ...
Article
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The contribution of the first generation of urban living labs (ULLs) to system-wide sustainability transformations is thus far less than expected. A possible explanation for this can be found in the focus of most ULLs on local, highly contextualized knowledge, and a missing link to system-wide transformations through diffusion and upscaling beyond the geographic boundaries of the lab. Meta-learning, i.e., learning across multiple, distributed experiments, through networked ULLs seems to offer a way forward. However, the literature on city networks shows that meta-learning cannot be effectively facilitated in horizontal networks without a learning infrastructure. To address this shortcoming and inspire a second generation of ULLs, this Perspective paper outlines a meta-lab approach actively facilitating the contribution of local living labs to wider sustainability transformations. We see a meta-lab as a transurban multi-actor network to connect and, where possible, align the learning processes across thematically related ULLs in different urban contexts through a central learning agenda. The meta-lab approach respects and supports local learning agendas and their focus on local solutions for local problems, while acknowledging and utilizing the potential of local experiments to contribute to a central learning agenda. Our paper argues that a meta-lab approach can act as a catalyst of learning in two important ways: (1) by accelerating local experimentation and learning processes by feeding them with lessons from other locations; and (2) by facilitating a more focused – local and transurban – learning process through a shared learning agenda. The meta-lab approach thus stimulates urban sustainability transformations by supporting faster, more focused and wider learning about effective innovations. We conclude this paper by outlining how common pitfalls in transurban learning can be avoided by a careful design of the meta-lab, or by meeting certain conditions when implementing this design.
... To conclude, the car-free street experiments investigated serve as a context for learning where municipalities could use the expertise of residents to improve the design and delivery of car-free street interventions. At large, learning is key to any experimental approach and forms capacity towards systemic changes (Sengers et al., 2019). This work seeks to contribute to this continuous process of learning, to realise a transition towards more sustainable urban mobility and quality of public spaces at a neighbourhood scale, by integrating psychosocial and socio-physical environmental knowledge that can support informed decision making while creating meaningful processes between residents and municipalities. ...
Article
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While the twentieth century was dominated by private car usage, shifts towards more sustainable urban mobility, to mitigate environmental damage and increase health benefits, are now taking place. In Scandinavia, several car-free street experiments take form, that span from permanent car-free inner-city plans (i.e. Oslo) to temporary interventions (i.e. pop-up plaza and parklets) to shift the use of urban settings and infrastructures from motorised traffic towards spaces for people and social interactions. Specifically, in Sweden, transitory car-free street experiments (i.e. summer streets) are developed with the purpose of creating novel mobility patterns and uses of public spaces that enhance social inclusion and quality of life. Despite Swedish municipalities’ monitoring of these interventions, very little is known about which physical parameters (i.e. environmental qualities) and psychosocial processes (i.e. emotional relation with places) affect people’s acceptance and place usability during car-free initiatives. Following the guidelines proposed by the European Commission, this paper focuses on residents’ perception of car-free street experiments. The aim is to identify how acceptance and usability of car-free street experiments might vary depending on the perceived qualities of the physical urban settings and on interceding psychosocial processes such as, neighborhood attachment and perceived quality of life. An interdisciplinary methodology of investigation merging knowledge from the field of environmental psychology, landscape architecture, urban transport and planning was applied on four case studies in Sweden. Results suggest that psychosocial processes of place attachment and quality of life are relevant in order to understand the level of acceptance towards car-free streets implementations.
... This is the transformation required for the vision to realise, the subject of a whole field of research that has emerged in the past few decades in the context of a growing scientific and public interest in large-scale societal transformations toward sustainability (Loorbach et al., 2017). There are several analytical frameworks for analysing socio-technical transitions to sustainability such as 'Multi-Level Perspectives' (Geels et al., 2008;Kern, 2012;Papachristos et al., 2013;Wu et al., 2021), transition management (Berkhout et al., 2004, Köhler et al., 2019, niche experiments (Sengers et al., 2019;Reda et al., 2021), technological innovation systems (Markard et al., 2015) and several tools for the development of pathways, such as backasting (Bibri, 2018;Giessecke et al., 2012;Mendoza et al., 2017), a participatory process for defining a desired future (vision) and then looking back to assess what would be required to make that vision realise (Holmberg and Larsson, 2018). ...
Article
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted as reference and universal guidepost for transitioning to Sustainable Development by the United Nations in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are intended to be used as a set of interconnected goals and global targets for ‘Transforming our world’, as the 2030 Agenda is titled. This is a far more challenging task than business as usual; it requires systems thinking for understanding the conditions that generate and propagate sustainability challenges, moving away from the reductionist and anthropocentric thinking that created them in the first place. Taking a systems approach to addressing these challenges has been gaining currency with academics and policymakers alike, and here we make the case for holistic, integrated, and interdisciplinary thinking that challenges assumptions and worldviews, crucially based on public participation and engagement, to create the enabling conditions for sustainability to emerge. System transformations require interconnected changes to technologies, social practices, business models, regulations and societal norms, an intentional process designed to fundamentally alter the components and structures that cause the system to behave in its current unsustainable ways, a paradigm shift enabling the transition to sustainability.
... Within regime-driven transitions incumbent actors use internal resources to consciously direct transition trajectories and practices towards more sustainable directions by adopting symbiotic niche-innovations such as WSD (de Haan et al., 2015;Quitzau et al., 2013;van de Meene et al., 2011). Thus, incumbent regime actors enact the often-incremental transition process and drive transformation by performing strategic work that establishes and nurtures sustainability niches (Geels, 2014;Quitzau et al., 2013;Turnheim and Geels, 2019;Sengers et al., 2019). It is this kind of endogenous regime transformation which is most relevant for the analysis of the integration of alternatives like WSD in on-going urban transitions towards sustainability and resilience, as actors within urban infrastructure regimes make efforts to adapt to climate change (Bulkeley et al., 2014;Quitzau et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Water Sensitive Design (WSD) is gaining attention as a Nature-based Solution (NbS) to urban water problems. It incorporates green infrastructure with engineered urban water systems through innovative design of the built environment and urban landscape. In Africa, Johannesburg and Cape Town are two cities engaging with WSD at a policy level. This paper uses the Strategic Niche Management (SNM) approach in a comparative analysis of ongoing engagement with WSD in Johannesburg and Cape Town. We explore the extent to which this engagement signals the launch of the transition towards water resilience. WSD represents a niche that is in synergy with the visions of sustainable urban (water and environmental) management in both cities. Results indicate a progressive engagement with WSD by different actors at regime and niche levels. However, the lack of coordination and capacity deficiencies due to limited social networks and higher order learning are challenges that constrain take-off and further consolidation of the WSD approach in the transition towards water resilient futures. Furthermore, we find urban governance practitioners struggle with reconciling the pursuit of visions of sustainability to be realised through nature-based urban development with the pressing infrastructure deficits that persist in most African cities.
... Research focused on promoting sustainability transitions via the employment of collaborative transdisciplinary approaches has rapidly expanded in recent years (Sengers et al. 2019;Lang and Wiek 2022;Tengö and Anderson 2022). It has grown into a diverse field, evolving from largely hypothetical contributions on how to coordinate and carry out concerted processes, including interaction of actors from in-and outside of academia, to concrete examinations of particular cases located around the globe (Lang et al. 2012;Darbellay 2015;Polk 2015;Zscheischler and Rogga 2015;Turnhout et al. 2019;Bergmann et al. 2021;Jahn et al. 2021). ...
Article
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This paper provides reflections on transdisciplinary knowledge coproduction and experimentation processes from sustainability researcher perspectives. It centers on a 5-year period of collaborative research with small- and medium-sized enterprises in an Urban Living Lab in the Swedish craft beer sector. Nine reflections cover a variety of issues and potentials encountered during numerous interactions with societal partners, and are structured by three levels: organizational, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Based on the reflections, authors then propose a set of seven considerations and recommendations for how to more effectively collaborate in such transdisciplinary constellations. The recommendations apply across the three levels, and describe an approach to collaborative research that asks the researcher to be open, transparent, self-aware and intentional, reflective and reflexive, and both adaptive and flexible. Furthermore, they aim to create soft structures to facilitate understanding and mutual learning, such as designating “organizational champions”, as well as to embed collaborative reflections into recurring meetings with partners to maintain trust and capture sustainability knock-on opportunities as they arise.
Article
Only a fast and global transformation towards decarbonization and sustainability can keep the Earth in a civilization-friendly state. As hotspots for (green) innovation and experimentation, cities could play an important role in this transition. They are also known to profit from each other’s ideas, with policy and technology innovations spreading to other cities. In this way, cities can be conceptualized as nodes in a globe-spanning learning network. The dynamics of this process are important for society’s response to climate change and other challenges, but remain poorly understood on a macroscopic level. In this contribution, we develop an approach to identify whether network-based complex contagion effects are a feature of sustainability policy adoption by cities, based on dose-response contagion and surrogate data models. We apply this methodology to an exemplary data set, comprising empirical data on the spreading of a public transport innovation (Bus Rapid Transit Systems) and a global inter-city connection network based on scheduled flight routes. Although our approach is not able to identify detailed mechanisms, our results point towards a contagious spreading process, and cannot be explained by either the network structure or the increase in global adoption rate alone. Further research on the role of a city’s abstract “global neighborhood” regarding its policy and innovation decisions is thus both needed and promising, and may connect with research on social tipping processes. The methodology is generic, and can be used to compare the predictive power for innovation spreading of different kinds of inter-city network connections, e.g. via transport links, trade, or co-membership in political networks.
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Chapter link: https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6wg3/pdf/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_FinalDraft_Chapter17.pdf
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Onderzoekers bestuderen de wereld zoals die is. Ontwerpers willen de wereld veranderen. Applied design research is een vorm van praktijkgericht onderzoek waarin beide benaderingen worden geïntegreerd, om nieuwe kennis op te doen én om praktische oplossingen te ontwikkelen. Maar hoe doe je dat, aangezien ontwerpen en onderzoeken sterk verschillen en beantwoorden aan verschillende standaarden? Dit boek is geen receptenboek, maar het biedt wel een kijkje in de keuken van 22 lectoren aan diverse hogescholen. Ze passen applied design research toe op diverse gebieden, variërend van de gezondheidszorg tot aan retail. Elke bijdrage biedt een ander perspectief en demonstreert dat met illustratieve voorbeelden. Géén geeft een volledige uitleg, maar samen bieden ze een rijk beeld van wat applied design research is, hoe het toe te passen en wat je ervan kunt verwachten.
Article
Policy proposals for a more circular economy abound but studies of actual attempts to transition from linear to more circular material flows within large organisations are few. We present the case of a university’s project to manage its information technology (IT) material flows according to circular economy principles. This paper presents a detailed discussion of the strategies and governance mechanisms that were implemented to achieve this objective, the challenges faced and how they were addressed, and recommendations for similar interventions elsewhere, based on the lessons learned. Because of the first author’s involvement in the planning and implementation of the project, the work serves as an example of action-research in transition management for sustainability. Unsustainable material flows, and barriers to implementing circular economy objectives, are presented as subsets of broader sustainability challenges that can be addressed through transition management experiments. We argue that action-research in transition management can help to understand and steer change, and to theorize about the complex systems shaping information technology (IT) material flows at the sub-economy level.
Article
In recent decades, frameworks combining rankings and indices for smart and sustainable city development have proliferated. Stakeholders respond to them in various ways for strategizing towards urban sustainability. We refer to this as frameworking, which we identify as focusing on how frameworks are commensurated. However, research on commensuration has concentrated mostly on reactivity towards metrics. Little is known about how stakeholders contemplate the quality of and reaction to rankings and indices. We examine this issue through a configurational analysis of a set of European cities that consistently appear in these frameworks. We unveil several configurations of smart city metrics that relate to sustainability. Based on these effects, we theorize frameworking as differences in the relative configurations of smart city metrics that can generate performance. These configurations relate to three underlying dimensions: smart city capability, reactivity and context. We show that when frameworking is studied configurationally, we can identify the previously under-researched response to the quality of indices and reactivity to metrics. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of a complex account of frameworks relevant to boosting urban sustainability.
Article
Increasingly, energy communities engage in smart grid experiments to explore new ways to collectively generate, consume, store, manage, and trade energy. Transition literature puts forward that replication of such experiments is essential for socio-technical transformation. However, in practice many experiments remain rather isolated events that fail to contribute to sustainability transitions. Moreover, while the literature points to the importance of replication, there is little attention to how replication occurs in practice and on the perspectives of actors involved. This paper reports on action research done to explore together with Dutch and Flemish energy communities what replication of community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP) experiments means in practice and how this can be achieved. In line with literature, the energy communities considered replication of cVPP as an iterative and multi-dimensional process that includes collective exploration of meaning, searching for necessary resources, building competencies, and implementation of the necessary technological building blocks. In light of identified challenges, the energy communities articulated two strategies, both aimed at collaboration with similar initiatives to pool resources (including shared digital technology). This was considered a viable strategy to confront the current context that is characterized by (institutional) uncertainty and ambiguity. Although the literature distinguishes between growth and replication of experiments, the identified strategies show that this distinction is less clear in practice. ‘Pure’ replication was not considered as the way forward. Rather, it appears that combining replication and growth processes provides opportunities for wider diffusion of the cVPP concept beyond the few resourceful frontrunner energy communities.
Chapter
Considerable progress towards international consensus on the need for sustainable development over the past 30 years has filtered down to action and knowledge in cities. However, a holistic understanding of healthy development and application of its principles in policy and development remains problematic, particularly in relation to equity and inclusion. This chapter focuses on the actions of decision-makers, including politicians and professionals, involved in healthy urban governance from policy-making to financing infrastructure and the design of new buildings. The chapter builds on social research with practitioners about the strategies and ways of working that support healthy urban development, as well as the barriers faced. Systems thinking strategies are described that can help professionals to identify and plan for the complex characteristics of urban health and sustainability.
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Public spending for research and development is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools for government policy in the areas of climate change and energy systems and technology innovation. However, existing datasets are currently fragmented, incomplete, and partial in their coverage. This study presents results from a more comprehensive, granular, and descriptive attempt to compile a dataset of global funding patterns on energy and climate research. To do so, it identified 114,201 potential projects funded by 154 research councils across 17 countries and the European Commission from 1990 to 2020 (with projected funding up until 2026). A smaller sample of 1000 illustrative projects were examined in greater detail. It finds that there are difficulties with accessible and available public data, including an inaccuracy of data on published websites or inadequate tracking and updating of project details. Research on energy and climate change is supported by a surprisingly broad base of inquiry, including research from the social sciences and economics but also the arts and humanities, engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, and natural and physical sciences. Climate change adaptation research is the most funded general area, followed by climate mitigation via energy systems, transportation and mobility, geo/climate engineering, and industrial decarbonization. Funding has been allocated unevenly in favor of some specific technologies, e.g. resilience and adaption, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. Publicly funded research benefits a very particular set of disciplines, e.g. communication studies, economics, computer science, and chemical engineering. Moreover, the funded projects reveal a striking diversity of methods, including literature reviews, surveys and original data collection, the development of intellectual property, case studies, qualitative research and energy modeling.
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Contemporary planning and governance of cities involves practices of experiments and trials in urban experiments, collaborative platforms, and urban development projects with high ambitions for sustainability and innovative solutions. The introduction of experimental governance establishes a new logic of public administration that results in multiple opportunities and challenges. This thesis aims to examine the municipalities’ organisational capacity for experimental governance and the opportunities to ensure legitimacy. The thesis involves a case study of the City of Stockholm and its innovative practices in general and experimental governance practices in particular. The focus is on the municipal organisation and how it has developed over the past decade, rather than single experiments, collaborations, and projects. Using a qualitative research approach, empirical data was collected through semi-structured interviews, participatory observations, and document studies. The thesis comprises four research articles. The first article provides a discussion of municipal innovation approaches and their influence of institutional logics. The second article is about municipal functions related to experiments, and how these functions challenge the local government. The third article examines the work of experiments and partnerships in policy and practice from a legitimacy perspective. The fourth article explores the institutional capacity for translating innovation actions from high-profile urban development projects into regular processes of the municipality. The findings point towards the need for a more nuanced understanding of practices of experimental governance, and the development of permanent organisational structures and cultures to support and steer these practices. There is also a need for organisational procedures to ensure legitimacy, related to both input in terms of transparency, accountability and equality, and output in terms of results and effectiveness, with a capacity to implement the results.
Article
Security and privacy breaches, online fraud, identity theft, and online scams have amplified the public’s privacy concerns in recent years. While privacy concerns have primarily been studied in the B2C setting, businesses often suffer detrimental consequences if information privacy is poorly managed. Hence this paper examines privacy management with a focus on B2B marketing in the digital era. We conducted a systematic literature review of 47 research papers published between 2010 and 2021 on information privacy in B2B marketing. Our findings suggest that privacy issues evolve with changing technologies in the digital era and that approaches to conceptualizing privacy and information privacy management shape B2B trust, branding and servitisation. We contribute to the existing literature by developing a framework encompassing the drivers, approaches, and outcomes of privacy management in a B2B context. This paper concludes with implications of privacy issues for managers and policymakers and proposes a future research agenda.
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Wie kann eine klimagerechte Stadt in Zukunft aussehen? Ziele für diese Zukunft sind in zahlreichen Klimagesetzen und Klimaschutzplänen formuliert, aber der Weg dahin ist überwiegend unklar. Realexperimente in Form von temporär autofreien Zonen können Wege zu einer klimaverträglichen Gestaltung von Städten weisen.To reduce CO2 emissions to a sufficient extent, transformations are needed that have an impact and inspire people to imagine different futures. Real-life experiments (e. g., temporary car-free zones) are seen as a suitable instrument to induce transformation and to contribute to the mobility transition. Through a literature review on transformative research and the empirical case analysis of two temporary car-free zones in Hamburg, Germany, the transformative effect of real-life experiments was investigated. In this article, the history and evolution of experimental practice in urban spaces is described and four types of car-free zones are introduced. The analysis demonstrates that real-life experiments are drivers of transformation. A newly developed ideal-typical process, consisting of eight steps for initiating and planning temporary car-free zones is presented. It is aimed at helping practitioners design such zones to optimize their transformational power for sustainable urban development.
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This Cross-Chapter Box highlights the intersecting issues of gender, climate change adaptation, climate justice and transformative pathways. A gender perspective does not centre only on women or men but examines structures, processes and relationships of power between and among groups of men and women and how gender, particularly in its non-binary form, intersects with other social categories such as race, class, socioeconomic status, nationality or education to create multi-dimensional inequalities
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Indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings (UNESCO, 2018; IPCC, 2019a). Local knowledge refers to the understandings and skills developed by individuals and populations, specific to the places where they live (UNESCO, 2018; IPCC, 2019a). Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge are inherently valuable but have only recently begun to be appreciated and in western scientific assessment processes in their own right (Ford et al., 2016). In the past these often endangered ways of knowing have been suppressed or attacked (Mustonen, 2014). Yet these knowledge systems represent a range of cultural practices, wisdom, traditions and ways of knowing the world that provide accurate and useful climate change information, observations and solutions (very high confidence) (Table Cross-Chapter Box INDIG.1). Rooted in their own contextual and relative embedded locations, some of these knowledges represent unbroken engagement with the earth, nature and weather for many tens of thousands of years, with an understanding of the ecosystem and climatic changes over longer-term timescales that is held both as knowledge by Indigenous Peoples and local peoples, as well as in the archaeological record (Barnhardt and Angayuqaq, 2005; UNESCO, 2018).
Article
Public engagement is understood as a prerequisite for sustainability transitions. Yet, it has remained peripheral to the transitions research agenda and the efforts to engage citizens in transitions research remain scattered. Thus, there is a need to create a more holistic understanding of how citizens participate in knowledge co-creation for sustainability transitions. We review the sustainability transitions literature from the perspective of citizen engagement in research and provide an overview of the current situation. Overall, citizen engagement was relatively rare, and the reviewed articles remained only loosely connected to transitions approaches. We identified four key forms of citizen engagement in transitions research: (1) envisioning sustainable futures; (2) local transition implementation; (3) revealing public perceptions; and (4) developing participatory methods to facilitate transitions. These forms facilitate transitions in terms of participant empowerment and providing a broader understanding of practical circumstances. However, citizens rarely participated throughout the research process and the acknowledgement of citizens' local knowledge remained limited. There is a need to deepen citizen engagement in transitions research and more explicitly address power relations. More creative methods can better enable the active contribution of citizens. Finally, there is a need for more theoretical consideration on knowledge co-creation with citizens in sustainability transitions research.
Article
Digital transformation contributes to enterprise supply chain resilience, but how to control the risks involved and whether this control contributes to supply chain resilience remains to be explored. This paper aims to clarify the relationship between risk control and resilience in the process of digital transformation and to construct a digital transformation supply chain risk (DTSCR) control process system. In this paper, we first use the SLRs method to retrieve 469 papers to construct a dimensional system of DTSCR from the theoretical perspective; we then test whether DTSCR control helps supply chain resilience through a structural equation model; finally, based on the case study of the institute of building materials of China Academy of Building Research, we use a Bayesian believe network to construct a risk control system. Our research contributes to existing literature by improving supply chain resilience from a risk perspective, and the risk control system innovatively constructed in this paper is also of significance for enterprises to carry out DTSCR control in practice.
Article
Mobility behavior changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have opened a window of opportunity for an accelerated transition towards sustainable mobility. Many European cities installed temporary cycling infrastructure which can be considered a niche innovation in the Multi-Level-Perspective of transitions (Geels, 2002). We empirically assess the effects of such temporary infrastructure in terms of air quality, behaviour, and acceptance, with a focus on the city of Berlin, Germany. The numerous pop-up bike lanes installed serve as an inter- and transdisciplinary case study to systematically capture these effects. We conducted a survey among Berlin citizens (n= 1,661), analysed cycling usage data, and measured the exposure of cyclists to air quality before and after the implementation of one pop-up bike lane during the first wave of COVID-19. Results show that pop-up bike lanes receive high levels of acceptance, increase cycling usage on the respective street, and reduce cyclists’ exposure to nitrogen dioxide. Their implementation fosters an innovative mind-set of transport planning: to temporarily try out new street designs, learn from these practical experiences, improve the designs, and then permanently implement the ones best proven in practice. We conclude that PUBL can accelerate the regime shift from car-oriented to bicycle-friendly cities because of its many demonstrated positive impacts.
Thesis
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Die imperiale Lebensweise westlicher Industrienationen, die sich durch ein permanentes Streben nach Wirtschaftswachstum ausdrückt, bringt den Planeten an die Grenzen seiner Tragfähigkeit. In den letzten Jahren wurden jedoch – bestärkt durch die Weltwirtschaftskrise 2007/08 – Alternativen zum Modell des permanenten Wachstums immer populärer, die sich anstatt auf ökonomischen Wohlstand vermehrt auf soziale und ökologische Belange des gesellschaftlichen Zusammenlebens fokussierten. Unter dem Begriff der Postwachstumsbewegung sammelten sich Ansätze, Ideen und Akteure, die gemeinsam für eine Zukunft fernab jeglicher Wachstumszwänge und innerhalb der planetaren Grenzen kämpfen. Vor dem Hintergrund der zunehmenden sozialen und ökologischen Herausforderungen wurden nun erstmals sozial-ökologische Nischenakteure aus drei unterschiedlichen Bereichen der Postwachstumsbewegung gemeinsam in einem Forschungsvorhaben – unter besonderer Berücksichtigung gesellschaftlicher, organisatorischer und territorialer Einbettungsprozesse – untersucht. Eingebettet ist diese Untersuchung in den theoretisch-konzeptionellen Ansatz der sozial-ökologischen Transformation, deren inkrementeller Wandel mithilfe der Multi-Level-Perspektive beschrieben werden kann. Die Kombination dieses spezifischen theoretisch-konzeptionellen Ansatzes und der empirischen Erhebung ist das Alleinstellungsmerkmal der vorliegenden Untersuchung. Es zeigte sich, dass alle untersuchten Nischenakteure eine deutlich progressive Unternehmungsphilosophie vertreten, die häufig in einer Unternehmungsorganisation mit flachen Hierarchien und konsensbasierten Entscheidungsfindungen mündet. Besonders gesellschaftliche Einbettungsprozesse bedingen den Erfolg oder Misserfolg der Nischenentwicklung. Organisatorische Einbettung kommt derweil vor allem im Aufbau weitreichender Netzwerkstrukturen zum Tragen, die die Innovationsfähigkeit und Stabilität der Nische unterstützen. Eine starke territoriale Einbettung steigert den lokal-regionalen Einfluss der Nischeninnovationen und generiert Rückhalt in der Bevölkerung.
Chapter
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Reviews of existing research evidence have the potential to inform both practice and scholarship. This opportunity is currently not being fully realized in management and organization studies due to the limitations of traditional methods of review, which fail to identify clearly what is known and not known about a given topic. For practitioners, systematic review can help address managerial problems by producing a reliable knowledge base through accumulating findings from a range of studies. For scholars, systematic review can enhance methodological rigor as well as highlight opportunities for further research. Systematic reviews are guided by a set of principles rather than a specific, inflexible, and restricted protocol. By revealing these principles, outlining a systematic review methodology, and offering examples, we hope that this chapter helps both practitioners and scholars to use systematic review to inform their practice.
Book
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Enabling Innovation is an engrossing look at some of the disaster—and success—stories surrounding technological development and diffusion in industrialized and developing countries. The book tells the story of widely divergent technologies—agricultural appliances, wind turbines, Green Revolution high yielding seeds, the Linux computer operating system, and Local Economic Trading Systems. Boru Douthwaite has constructed a "how to do it" guide to innovation management that runs counter to so many current "top-down", "big is good", and "private sector is best" assumptions
Article
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Urban living labs (ULLs) are emerging as a form of collective urban governance and experimentation to address sustainability challenges and opportunities created by urbanisation. ULLs have different goals, they are initiated by various actors, and they form different types of partnerships. There is no uniform ULL definition. However, many projects studying and testing living lab methodologies are focussing on urban sustainability and low carbon challenges, as demonstrated by the current projects funded by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe. At the same time, there is no clear understanding of what the ultimate role of ULLs is in urban governance, and whether they represent a completely new phenomenon that is replacing other forms of participation, collaboration, experimentation, learning and governing in cities. There is a need to clarify what makes the ULL approach attractive and novel. The aim of this article is to develop current understandings through an examination of how the ULL concept is being operationalised in contemporary urban governance for sustainability and low carbon cities. This is undertaken through the analysis of academic literature complemented with five snapshot case studies of major ongoing ULL projects funded by JPI Urban Europe. Five key ULL characteristics are identified and elaborated: geographical embeddedness, experimentation and learning, participation and user involvement, leadership and ownership, and evaluation and refinement. The paper concludes by outlining a research agenda that highlights four key topics: ways in which the ULL approach is operationalised, the nature of ULL partnerships and the role of research institutions, the types of challenges addressed by different ULLs, and the role of sustainability and low carbon issues in framing ULLs.
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Report by the Sustainable Development Commission; later published as https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849774338. Prosperity without Growth? analyses the complex relationships between growth, environmental crises and social recession. In the last quarter of a century, as the global economy has doubled in size, increases in consumption have caused the degradation of an estimated 60% of the world's ecosystems. The benefits of growth have been distributed unevenly, with a fifth of the world's population sharing just 2% of global income. Even in developed countries, huge gaps in wealth and well-being remain between rich and poor.
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The challenges of sustainable development (and climate change and peak oil, in particular) demand system-wide transformations in sociotechnical systems of provision. An academic literature around coevolutionary innovation for sustainability has recently emerged as an attempt to understand the dynamics and directions of such sociotechnical transformations, which are termed 'sustainability transitions'. This literature has previously focused on market-based technological innovations. Here we apply it to a new context of civil-society-based social innovation and examine the role of community-based initiatives in a transition to a low-carbon sustainable economy in the UK. We present new empirical research from a study of the UK's Transition Towns movement (a 'grassroots innovation') and assess its attempts to grow and infl uence wider societal sociotechnical systems. By applying strategic niche management theory to this civil society context, we deliver theoretically informed practical recommendations for this movement to diff use beyond its niche: to foster deeper engagement with resourceful regime actors; to manage expectations more realistically by delivering tangible opportunities for action and participation; and to embrace a community-based, action-oriented model of social change (in preference to a cognitive theory of behaviour change). Furthermore, our study indicates areas where theory can be refi ned to better explain the growth and broader impacts of grassroots innovations —namely, through a fuller appreciation of the importance of internal niche processes, by understanding the important role of identity and group formation, and by resolving how social practices change in grassroots innovations.
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Sustainability policy in the early 2000s is based on and therefore influenced by scientific literature on ‘transition’. The importance of this link has inspired the authors to explore the structure of cooperating authors and citation networks in the field. In order to understand ‘transition’ literature, we compare it with an alternative term for change, ‘transformation’, which is also used in the context of socio-technical shifts towards sustainability. We expose the different structures of these fields with an overview of keywords, key references, key authors, and the coherence between references and authors. By analysing co-author and citation networks, we find large differences in these groups of documents. The transition literature is characterised by a large network of directly and indirectly cooperating authors with clear clusters; transformation literature contains smaller author networks. Key transition authors are predominantly Dutch. They repeatedly write together and cite each other's work. The transition literature is tightly knit with high degrees of internal references and a clearly distinguishable core. Transformation literature has fewer connections between authors and articles. The connecting articles, each with many global citations, form its basis. This analysis can be used as a step to continue the debate on the role of transition and transformation literature in sustainability and renewable energy policy. The transformation literature teaches us that older streams of thought are still relevant and may be used as ‘glue’ for linking change with respect to sustainable energy to wider developments. Rediscovering existing literature in new combinations may lead to promising new views on sustainable energy.
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The notion of the ‘urban laboratory’ is increasingly striking a chord with actors involved in urban change. Is this term simply a metaphor for urban development or does it suggest urbanization by substantially different means? To answer this question, we review the work of science and technology studies (STS) scholars who have empirically investigated laboratories and practices of experimentation over the past three decades to understand the significance of these spaces of experimentation in urban contexts. Based on this overview of laboratory studies, we argue that urban laboratories and experimentation involve three key achievements — situatedness, change-orientation and contingency — that are useful for evaluating and critiquing those practices that claim to be urban laboratories. We conclude by considering some future directions of research on urban laboratories.
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The concept of real-world experiments is a framework to understand environmental design projects under real world conditions. Contrary to laboratory experiments that are generally thought to exclude the public, real-world experiments involve combinations of social and natural factors. In this paper the theory of real-world experiments is applied to the fieldwork of ecological restoration. The case discussed here is an ecological design process at Montrose Point, a peninsula built on landfill in Lake Michigan on the North Side of Chicago. It illustrates how, in the practice of ecological restoration, the idea of experiment can be understood as being built on processes of recursive learning that include different parts of the wider society and nature. The paper outlines a concept of robust implementation strategies in which public involvement is a pivotal part of a more encompassing activity of ecological practice. This is undertaken to aim at a better understanding of learning processes taking place in natural and social systems.
Book
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Technological change is a central feature of modern societies and a powerful source for social change. There is an urgent task to direct these new technologies towards sustainability, but society lacks perspectives, instruments and policies to accomplish this. There is no blueprint for a sustainable future, and it is necessary to experiment with alternative paths that seem promising. Various new transport technologies promise to bring sustainability benefits. But as this book shows, important lessons are often overlooked because the experiments are not designed to challenge the basic assumptions about established patterns of transport choices. Learning how to organise the process of innovation implementation is essential if the maximum impact is to be achieved - it is here that strategic niche management offers new perspectives. The book uses a series of eight recent experiments with electric vehicles, carsharing schemes, bicycle pools and fleet management to illustrate the means by which technological change must be closely linked to social change if successful implementation is to take place. The basic divide between proponents of technological fixes and those in favour of behavioural change needs to be bridged, perhaps indicating a third way. © 2002 Remco Hoogma, René Kemp, Johan Schot and Bernhard Truffer.
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This paper explores the co-evolution between societal sustainability transitions and fundamental shifts within individuals businesses. We argue that there is an emergent trend of businesses and industries that move beyond optimizing the organization's individual performance by mitigating negative environmental and social impacts, to fundamentally restructuring and rethinking existing businesses in light of broader societal changes. Arguably, the frontrunner businesses that orient themselves towards sustainable market transitions develop a competitive advantage by co-creating these sustainable markets and on the short term develop renewed ambition and enthusiasm. By means of the transition framework, we argue that the fundamental societal changes emerging lead to a new phase in corporate responsibility, implying fundamental transitions within businesses. Based on this perspective and the transition management approach we explore how businesses might proactively engage with sustainability transitions in their direct context and link these to internal business transitions. We illustrate this framework of business transition management in a number of interlinked activities based on an experimental participatory case study of the transition in the Dutch roof sector.
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The aim of this paper is to advance research on sustainable innovation by adopting a business model perspective. Through a confrontation of the literature on both topics we find that research on sustainable innovation has tended to neglect the way in which firms need to combine a value proposition, the organization of the upstream and downstream value chain, and a financial model, in order to bring sustainability innovations to the market. Therefore, we review the current literature on business models in the contexts of technological, organizational, and social sustainability innovations. As the current literature does not offer a general conceptual definition of sustainable business models, we propose examples of normative 'boundary conditions' that business models should meet in order to support sustainable innovations. Finally, we sketch the outline of a research agenda by formulating a number of guiding questions.
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This PhD thesis presents the outcome of exploratory research on how transition experiments can be used as instruments to further sustainable development. A transition experiment is a specific type of innovation project that is aimed at exploring radically new ways to meet societal needs, such as the need for energy, mobility and health care. Transition experiments are a key instrument of the governance approach Transition Management (TM), which has recently been developed and applied to influence and direct transitions towards sustainability. This book presents a conceptual framework for analysing and managing transition experiments and their potential contribution to sustainability transitions. Central concepts in this framework are the mechanisms deepening (learning in a specific context), broadening (linking and repeating in different contexts) and scaling-up (embedding in established ways of thinking, doing and organising). The framework was developed in interaction with practitioners in three Dutch sustainability programmes: Learning for Sustainable Development, Transumo (TRANsition to SUstainable MObility) and the Transition Programme in Long-term Care. The practice-oriented concepts and examples that are described in this book could provide researchers, policy makers, programme managers and project leaders with a new way of looking at the role of innovation projects in transitions to sustainable development.
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This essay presents a conceptual framework for analyzing and influencing the contribution of small-scale experiments to transitions towards a more sustainable society. This framework is aimed at providing academics and practitioners with a theoretical and practice oriented perspective to both understand and ‘steer’ the contribution of experiments to transitions. The central instrument in this framework are ‘transition experiments’, which provide an alternative approach to classical innovation projects that are aimed at realizing short-term solutions. A transition experiment is an innovation project with a societal challenge as a starting point for learning aimed at contributing to a transition.
Article
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Rapidly developing countries like India face numerous challenges related to social and environmental sustainability, which are associated with their fast economic growth and rising energy demand, climate change, and widening disparities between the rich and the poor. Recently, a number of claims have been made in the literature that the prospects of alternative development pathways in emerging economies in Asia are becoming more likely, and that these economies might even leapfrog Western initiatives. This paper contributes by reporting on the five most visible and established initiatives in the area of off-grid PV solar energy in India, specifically homing in on the innovative business models that are evolving. We develop a new typology of upscaling dimensions in order to analyze these five initiatives. They are found to be quite successful, but have difficulty in terms of reaching the poorest of the poor (deep upscaling) and bringing about required institutional change (institutional upscaling).
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This paper addresses an intractable problem: how to energy-upgrade the existing residential housing stock on a large scale, potentially saving up to 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions? The paper focuses on the USA, with a case study in Worcester, Massachusetts. To address this problem we conceptualise the residential housing stock as a socio-technical system, with as main elements technology, professional knowledge and know-how, formal institutions, markets and the key actors within each. The analysis demonstrates the interconnectedness of the elements and sub-elements of the system, the need to affect change in all of them, identifies homeowners (consumers) and local authorities as the most difficult to change, and suggests that both technological and social innovation – including grassroots activism and multistakeholder collaboration – is needed. We conceptualise housing retrofitting projects as small-scale niche experiments and as grassroots innovations. In this paper we describe an experiment in Worcester, Massachusetts, in which the vision of the project – as community development – was produced by a coalition (WoHEC) of many local actors. This project illustrates both the potentials of our proposed framework in terms of grassroots innovations and socio-technical experiments and its limitations: learning among stakeholders is often slow and ineffective. More research is needed to refine the conceptual framework and to make it applicable to both grassroots innovations and municipal projects.
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Innovation and community action are two important strands for sustainable development. Yet they have not hitherto been linked. Community action is a neglected, but potentially important, site of innovative activity. Bridging this divide offers a novel theoretical approach to the study of community-level action for sustainability. The opportunities presented by grassroots innovation are discussed, as are the challenges confronting activity at this level, and a new agenda for community-level sustainable development research and policy.
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Structural problems in modern societies, such as climate change and congestion problems, require 'transitions' towards a more sustainable fulfilment of social needs. Recent research shows that experimenting in niches is crucial for learning about social challenges and stimulating transitions. Through a series of 'transition experiments' in different niches, social innovations can be improved and eventually replace dominant practice. This article reviews the literature on transitions and strategic niche management and argues that it has a strong analytical core, but less effort has been made to develop a managerial perspective. The authors aim to contribute to such perspective by developing a 'competence kit': a learning module that provides practitioners (e.g., policy makers, companies, intermediary organisations and NGO's) that are involved in transition experiments with an analytical framework, guidelines and tools and recognisable examples. The results from the first workshop with practitioners to explore potential applications of the competence kit are promising.
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A bounded socio-technical experiment (BSTE) attempts to introduce a new technology, service, or a social arrangement on a small scale. Many such experiments in personal mobility are ongoing worldwide. They are carried out by coalitions of diverse actors, and are driven by long term and large scale visions of advancing society’s sustainability agenda. This paper focuses on the processes of higher-order learning that occur through BSTEs. Based on the conceptual frameworks from theories of organizational learning, policy-oriented learning, and diffusion of innovation, we identify two types of learning: the first type occurs among the participants in the experiment and their immediate professional networks; the second type occurs in the society at large. Both types play a key role in the societal transition towards sustainable mobility systems. Two case studies, in which the Design for Sustainability Group at Technical University of Delft has participated, provide empirical data for the analysis. One case consists of development of a three-wheeled bike-plus vehicle (Mitka); the second case seeks to solve mobility problems on the Dutch island of Texel. We find that higher order learning of the first type occurs among the BSTE participants and beyond. Learning can be facilitated by deployment of structured visioning exercises, by diffusion of ideas among related BSTEs, by innovative couplings of problems and solutions, and by creating links among related experiments. Government agencies, universities and other intellectual entrepreneurs have key roles to play in making that happen. The cases provide much less insights about the second type of learning. Research on the latter is necessary.
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Cities are key sites where climate change is being addressed. Previous research has largely overlooked the multiplicity of climate change responses emerging outside formal contexts of decision-making and led by actors other than municipal governments. Moreover, existing research has largely focused on case studies of climate change mitigation in developed economies. The objective of this paper is to uncover the heterogeneous mix of actors, settings, governance arrangements and technologies involved in the governance of climate change in cities in different parts of the world. The paper focuses on urban climate change governance as a process of experimentation. Climate change experiments are presented here as interventions to try out new ideas and methods in the context of future uncertainties. They serve to understand how interventions work in practice, in new contexts where they are thought of as innovative. To study experimentation, the paper presents evidence from the analysis of a database of 627 urban climate change experiments in a sample of 100 global cities. The analysis suggests that, since 2005, experimentation is a feature of urban responses to climate change across different world regions and multiple sectors. Although experimentation does not appear to be related to particular kinds of urban economic and social conditions, some of its core features are visible. For example, experimentation tends to focus on energy. Also, both social and technical forms of experimentation are visible, but technical experimentation is more common in urban infrastructure systems. While municipal governments have a critical role in climate change experimentation, they often act alongside other actors and in a variety of forms of partnership. These findings point at experimentation as a key tool to open up new political spaces for governing climate change in the city.
Book
Such diverse thinkers as Lao-Tze, Confucius, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have all pointed out that we need to be able to tell the difference between real and assumed knowledge. The systematic review is a scientific tool that can help with this difficult task. It can help, for example, with appraising, summarising, and communicating the results and implications of otherwise unmanageable quantities of data. This book, written by two highly-respected social scientists, provides an overview of systematic literature review methods: Outlining the rationale and methods of systematic reviews; Giving worked examples from social science and other fields; Applying the practice to all social science disciplines; It requires no previous knowledge, but takes the reader through the process stage by stage; Drawing on examples from such diverse fields as psychology, criminology, education, transport, social welfare, public health, and housing and urban policy, among others. Including detailed sections on assessing the quality of both quantitative, and qualitative research; searching for evidence in the social sciences; meta-analytic and other methods of evidence synthesis; publication bias; heterogeneity; and approaches to dissemination.
Article
This paper explores transnational linkages in sustainability experiments. Transnational linkages refer to diverse cross-border relationships and interactions that can complement local, regional and national capabilities enabling sustainability experiments. The paper develops a typology of transnational linkages and applies it to solar photovoltaic energy initiatives in India. Our analysis shows that transnational linkages appear to be almost universal in these experiments. Of seven solar photovoltaic technology domains present in the sample, experiments in only one – off-grid power plants - can be characterised as predominantly domestic. These findings underscore the significance of capabilities, resources and linkages spanning local, regional and national scales in innovative solar PV experiments in India, suggesting similar patterns for other socio-technical experiments. This study contributes to an emerging literature on the geography of sustainable transitions, which argues for a move away from a predominantly national framing in transition studies to embrace a multi-scalar understanding of transition processes.
Article
This paper explores transnational linkages in sustainability experiments. Transnational linkages refer to diverse cross-border relationships and interactions that can complement local, regional and national capabilities enabling sustainability experiments. The paper develops a typology of transnational linkages and applies it to solar photovoltaic energy initiatives in India. Our analysis shows that transnational linkages appear to be almost universal in these experiments. Of seven solar photovoltaic technology domains present in the sample, experiments in only one – off-grid power plants - can be characterised as predominantly domestic. These findings underscore the significance of capabilities, resources and linkages spanning local, regional and national scales in innovative solar PV experiments in India, suggesting similar patterns for other socio-technical experiments. This study contributes to an emerging literature on the geography of sustainable transitions, which argues for a move away from a predominantly national framing in transition studies to embrace a multi-scalar understanding of transition processes.
Article
This paper responds to recent criticism from geographers that the ‘local–global’ niche model in transition studies is spatially naïve. A number of relevant geography literatures (buzz-pipelines, global production networks, policy mobilities) are mobilized to develop a more geographically nuanced understanding of niche development. The result complements the original model by providing center stage to (1) the spatialities of the production and transfer of knowledge, (2) the geographies of the actor networks involved and (3) the dynamics of embeddedness by which these global networks and knowledge discourses become entangled with place-specific power relationships, institutions and infrastructures. To illustrate this empirically, we trace the tortuous innovation journey of Bus Rapid Transit – a promising new mode of urban transportation that is spreading rapidly across the globe.
Article
This research aims to identify the institutional strategies of incumbent firms with regard to sustainable energy innovations that threaten their interests. This exploratory study contributes to the multi-level perspective by providing new insights into niche–regime interaction. The focus on actor behavior in transitions is informed by literature from institutional theory and strategic management. Based on semi-structured interviews with actors and on documents related to LED lighting and biofuels in the Netherlands, this study identified a preliminary set of empirical strategies: providing information and arguments to policy makers and the general public, as well as strategically setting technical standards. Incumbents are in a position to significantly influence the innovation's development by employing these strategies; thus temporarily keeping sustainable innovation on a leash. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Article
The sustainability transitions literature seeks to explain the conditions under which technological innovations can diffuse and disrupt existing socio-technical systems through the successful scaling up of experimental ‘niches’; but recent research on ‘grassroots innovations’ argues that civil society is a promising but under-researched site of innovation for sustainability, albeit one with very different characteristics to the market-based innovation normally considered in the literature. This paper aims to address that research gap by exploring the relevance of niche development theories in a civil society context. To do this, we examine a growing grassroots innovation – the international field of community currencies – which comprises a range of new socio-technical configurations of systems of exchange which have emerged from civil society over the last 30 years, intended to provide more environmentally and socially sustainable forms of money and finance. We draw on new empirical research from an international study of these initiatives comprising primary and secondary data and documentary sources, elite interviews and participant observation in the field. We describe the global diffusion of community currencies, and then conduct a niche analysis to evaluate the utility of niche theories for explaining the development of the community currency movement. We find that some niche-building processes identified in the existing literature are relevant in a grassroots context: the importance of building networks, managing expectations and the significance of external ‘landscape’ pressures, particularly at the level of national-type. However, our findings suggest that existing theories do not fully capture the complexity of this type of innovation: we find a diverse field addressing a range of societal systems (money, welfare, education, health, consumerism), and showing increasing fragmentation (as opposed to consolidation and standardisation); furthermore, there is little evidence of formalised learning taking place but this has not hampered movement growth. We conclude that grassroots innovations develop and diffuse in quite different ways to conventional innovations, and that niche theories require adaptation to the civil society context.
Article
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