Linda Westman's research while affiliated with The University of Sheffield and other places

Publications (37)

Article
The rapid rise of emerging economies challenges the conventional understanding of international low-carbon technology transfer (ILTT) from a North-South perspective. Rather than acting like passive recipients of foreign investment and technology, actors in emerging economies have become more assertive, seeking control over the processes of ILTT. To...
Technical Report
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The notion of “Just Transition” (JT) is gaining purchase in both academic and policy discourses related to climate change and low-carbon transitions. Despite its growing popularity, the very meanings of JT have somehow been lost in a wide spectrum of principles, aims, and visions attached to this concept. The purpose of this project is to examine t...
Article
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We are an international collective of Early Career Academics (ECAs) who met throughout 2020 to explore the implications of COVID-19 on precarious academics. With this intervention, our aims are to voice commonly shared experiences and concerns and to reflect on the extent to which the pandemic offers opportunities to redefine Higher Education and r...
Article
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Entrepreneurship may be one entry point to trigger transformations toward sustainability. Yet, there is limited knowledge on the ability of small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) to play a role in transformation processes, beyond the initial stages of niche innovation. Building on data collected through 125 interviews in Toronto, Vancouver and...
Article
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The concept of urban transformations has gathered interest among scholars and policymakers calling for radical change towards sustainability. The discourse represents an entry point to address systemic causes of ecological degradation and social injustice, thereby providing solutions to intractable global challenges. Yet, so far, urban transformati...
Article
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The crises that cities face—such as climate change, pandemics, economic downturn, and racism—are tightly interlinked and cannot be addressed in isolation. This paper addresses compound urban crises as a unique type of problem, in which discrete solutions that tackle each crisis independently are insufficient. Few scholarly debates address compound...
Chapter
Local governments play an increasingly important role in international climate policy. Climate action follows existing trajectories of sustainable development action at the local level. The history of climate action in cities suggests a lot of potential for learning from previous sustainability experiences. Three aspects of climate change governanc...
Article
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Urban transitions and transformations research fosters a dialogue between sustainability transitions theory an inter- and transdisciplinary research on urban change. As a field, urban transitions and transformations research encompasses plural analytical and conceptual perspectives. In doing so, this field opens up sustainability transitions resear...
Article
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The field of science, technology and society (STS) calls for greater geographical diversity that draws attention to 'the rich mosaic of non-Western cultures.' This perspective provides cultural insights into the construction of the imaginary of ecological civilization in China. From the lens of sociotechnical theory, this perspective presents the d...
Article
Understanding China is critical to understanding global sustainability transitions. Transitions theories within the Anglophone academic tradition are limited in uncovering the deep mechanisms of China's transition dynamics. Building upon Chinese epistemologies, this viewpoint calls for a ‘correlative’ turn for transition studies on China for the ne...
Article
Emergency frames are mobilized in contemporary sustainability debates, both in response to specific events and strategically. The strategic deployment of emergency frames by proponents of sustainability action aims to stimulate collective action on issues for which it is lacking. But this is contentious due to a range of possible effects. We critic...
Article
Justice dimensions are integral to research on climate change planning in cities. In this comment piece, we engage with a recently published paper by Hess and McKane [2021. “Making Sustainability Plans More Equitable: An Analysis of 50 US Cities.” Local Environment, 1–16], which examines the integration of equity considerations into sustainability...
Article
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Near 1,500 governments worldwide, including over 1,000 local governments, have declared a climate emergency. Such declarations constitute a response to the growing visibility of social movements in international politics as well as the growing role of cities in climate governance. Framing climate change as an emergency, however, can bring difficult...
Article
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Transformations of the energy system are unfolding in China at an unprecedented scale and pace. The dynamics of China's energy transitions impact global trends of energy decarbonization. Transition theories within the Anglophone academic tradition have been used to examine this process, but they tend to misrepresent the social, cultural and politic...
Article
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) often require external support to make progress on sustainability and contribute to both environmental integrity and social well-being. Previous research has highlighted the important role of local governments and business networks as intermediaries in facilitating sustainability-action in SMEs and the purs...
Article
Scholars of climate urbanism have raised the conundrum that action to address the ongoing challenges of climate change in cities have distributional impacts, deepening existing inequalities. This challenge is related in part to the ideas of urban innovation that dominate climate responses. Disruptive innovations are directed towards the rupture of...
Article
Private sector actors play important roles in urban governance systems, including by supporting innovation, responding to new opportunities, and exercising control over a significant proportion of resource consumption and environmental degradation. Yet, there is a dearth of knowledge regarding the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)...
Article
Scholars of climate urbanism have raised the conundrum that action to address the ongoing challenges of climate change in cities have distributional impacts, deepening existing inequalities. This challenge is related in part to the ideas of urban innovation that dominate climate responses. Disruptive innovations are directed towards the rupture of...
Chapter
When Cindi Katz wrote her now mythical essay on minor theory in 1996, she stressed the struggle involved in making knowledge claims for those who are marginalized. In this chapter—written more than twenty years later—we share Katz’s frustration and take her essay as a point of departure to ask what a ‘minor’ perspective on climate urbanism might be...
Chapter
Urban climate imaginaries are narratives about cities of the present and future that define policy expectations in a political environment increasingly shaped by climate change. This chapter examines the urban climate imaginaries contained in the policy discourse of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The most prevalent is a sectoral im...
Article
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This paper develops an integrated framework to study the socio-spatial and temporal dimensions of urban energy transitions to investigate the development and spread of solar energy technologies in urban China. A comparative analysis of three case studies of solar energy transitions in the cities of Foshan (in Guangdong), Rizhao (in Shandong), and W...
Article
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In this review, we take stock of the last decade of research on climate change governance in urban areas since the 2009 conference in Copenhagen. Using a systematic evaluation of academic publications in the field, we argue that the current moment of research has been shaped by two recent waves of thought. The first, a wave of urban optimism, which...
Article
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Climate governance scholars have recognized the role of public participation in improving the outcomes of climate action. Nevertheless, increasing advocacy of environmental authoritarianism in the narratives of climate governance questions the need for and legitimacy of public participation. This study uncovers the emerging dynamics of climate part...
Article
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Private sector actors both enable and inhibit sustainability-oriented policies at multiple scales. Yet, research on business sustainability predominantly emphasizes large corporations, while contributions of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are downplayed. Consequently, there is a dearth of conceptual tools to explain how SMEs construct a...
Article
Multi-level governance (MLG) theory has become the main explanation for how climate action is realized in poly-centric, multi-sector, multi-actor policy landscapes. In this paper, we examine processes of climate change governance in a given city in China, Rizhao, and evaluate how MLG arrangements operate. We do so by examining primary data collecte...
Article
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Small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) can play a crucial role in advancing environmental and social well‐being. Yet various—often conflicting—explanations have been offered to clarify why SMEs pursue sustainability. Some arguments foreground possibilities of profit maximization, whereas others emphasize individual values and convictions. Resea...
Article
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There is a consensus about the strategic importance of cities and urban areas for achieving a global transformation towards sustainability. While there is mounting interest in the types of qualities that increase the capacity of urban systems to attain deep transformations, empirical evidence about the extent to which existing institutional and mat...
Article
This article argues that techno-economic rationalities dominate urban environmental policy interventions and sustainability discourses in China. This is so despite recent trends toward diversification of actors and participatory approaches in environmental governance. The paper is based on material collected through interviews with public officials...
Article
Partnerships emerge as part of an environmental governance paradigm shift towards less hierarchical, more collaborative, and non-regulative steering arrangements. This paper examines the prevalence of partnerships in environmental governance on an urban level in a semi-authoritarian setting, by exploring climate initiatives in cities in China. The...
Chapter
This chapter addresses how environmental governance arrangements affect urban resilience and environmental justice in the context of an industrializing city in China. This chapter indicates that certain aspects of top-down management approaches can have a positive impact on responsiveness to environmental pressures, and that certain forms of co-pro...
Chapter
The multi-level perspective on sociotechnical transitions (MLP) is a framework that has been widely applied in analysing the dynamics of innovation and change in large technical systems. The model has proved useful for explaining complex mechanisms of interaction between sectors and levels but has been criticized for a lack of focus on political an...
Article
Just sustainabilities has emerged as a powerful discourse to guide local action towards sustainability. As an overarching discourse, it prescribes four policy principles: (1) addressing well-being and quality of life; (2) meeting the needs of present and future generations; (3) enabling justice and equity in terms of recognition, process, procedure...

Citations

... Among planners and politicians alike, there still exists a vision to make Dhaka a world-class global city (e.g. Kalam, 2009, or promise from politicians or city leaders to make it a world-class global city like Singapore)-identical to similar fantasies that are appearing for many Asian and African cities as pointed out by Watson (2014) and Levy, Allen, Castan Broto, and Westman (2018). Largely borrowed from the Global North or world-class cities, such practices are only delivering entrepreneurial urbanisms towards 'world-class' or 'open for business' or 'city beautiful' vision with big highways, flyovers and other mega infrastructure projects so much so that splintered urbanisms are leaving harder irreversible footprints while side-lining liveable and green urbanisms and taming bosti urbanisms that leaves little room for reversing the trend in foreseeable future as found in other Asian and Afrian cities (ibid.). ...
... Although this resulted in the introduction of SME-targeted policies, their indicated aims often clash with the policy demands that are required by the industry (Westman et al., 2022). Ehsan (2021) identified that to boost the competitiveness of SMEs, policymakers have been more aggressive in assisting small businesses. ...
... Chapter 6 ('Cities, Settlements and Key Infrastructure') of the WGII report emphasises that cities are, on the one hand, areas of concentrated risk because of the high density and interconnection of people, infrastructure and assets; on the other hand, they are areas of concentrated opportunity for action. 13 In terms of developing adaptation plans, African cities are lagging behind internationally, and they show limited evidence of proactive adaptation. In many African cities, adaptation has primarily been driven by experiences of excess rainfall and flooding. ...
... Precision aside, one consequence of substituting quantification for debates over meaning or values has been that the normative debate is partially erased. One may get ever more precise knowledge, but at the expense of the conceptual integrity of radical concepts (Westman & Castán Broto, 2022), and 'without having resolved deeper questions' (Bowker & Star, 1999, p. 24). ...
... Especially when it comes to decisions about policy integration for climate adaptation, in terms of who is included and excluded from the governance learning structures, what types of knowledge and information are incorporated or ignored, and how power mediates interactions between actors across multiple scales become essential. The role of power structures or how urban elites' economic interests shape urban climate actions and increase environmental injustices are recognized and studied broadly (Bulkeley and Newell, 2015;Westman et al., 2022;Yazar and York, 2022). But more research is needed to explain how collective actions through civic actions trigger governments to alter their existing governance structures through learning from these collective actions to address climate adaptation and injustices in cities, especially those that are under threats of extreme weather events. ...
... Chinese President Hu Jintao (2003− 2013) first mentioned this concept during the 17th National People's Congress in 2007, describing it as 'a future-oriented guiding principle based on the perception of the extremely high price we [the Chinese] have paid for our economic miracle' [166]. Ecological civilization could be regarded as a sociotechnical imaginary [167,168], one emerging from the traditional Chinese thought, 'Unity of Man and Nature' [168]. ...
... Thus, the local responses to the climate emergency, promoted by both urban governments and climate movements, have become a fertile arena to experiment with new forms of engagement, contestation and co-production, potentially contributing to transformation (Kythreotis et al. 2021;Patterson et al. 2021). However, it is still unclear how and to what extent such reengagements with urban climate action mobilise action conducive to transformative urban resilience. ...
... To redress social vulnerability in just ways, urban climate change adaptation efforts depend on (i) participation, (ii) capacity enhancement, (iii) governance, and (iv) justice integration into spatial planning . While there have been recent efforts to assess equity and justice in urban resilience and sustainability planning (Chu and Cannon, 2021;Fitzgibbons and Mitchell, 2019;Hess and McKane, 2021;Westman and Broto, 2021;Ziervogel et al., 2017), and more particularly in urban adaptation planning (Fiack et al., 2021), few studies developed structured and replicable evaluations of the degree in which justice is considered in urban adaptation planning processes. ...
... By the end of 2021, almost 2000 local governments worldwide had declared a climate emergency by passing binding motions (CEDAMIA 2021;ICEF 2021). While many resolutions are instigated by grassroots movements and include setting up a process to develop local climate planning, there is no single path to create and operationalise these declarations Ruiz-Campillo et al. 2021). Indeed, scholars are still discussing to what extent local climate emergency declarations are incorporating urban resilience and adaptation concerns or they are essentially focused on mitigation (see initial evidence from Australia, New Zealand and the UK in Davidson et al. 2020;Howarth et al. 2021;Nissen and Cretney 2021). ...
... However, at the same time, the locals are suspicious of attempts by a distant and potentially heavy-handed central government to compel them into courses of action that may be doomed to failure by the central government's ignorance of specific local conditions. A notable study by Huang, Westman, et al. [99] provides a culturally-led reading of the conflict between authoritarianism and the relatively invisible societal acceptance in energy transitions in China. Taking Chinese society's traditional culture and social development into consideration is beneficial to renewable energy promotion. ...