The role of social movements in the sustainability revolution
Mobilising the values of citizens in grassroots innovation: the case of online free reuse groups
Authors: Chris Martin, Paul Upham
Abstract: New conceptual tools are needed within socio-technical transitions theory to explain the role of values in the development, diffusion and impacts of grassroots innovations. We report ongoing research developing a framework for analysing how citizen’s values are mobilised within grassroots innovations, drawing on an empirical study of free reuse groups. The case study applies a mixed-method approach integrating insights from a survey measuring the values of citizens participating in free reuse groups and an ethnographic study of how these values are mobilised. We find that free reuse groups mobilise citizens with diverse values, including citizens with pro-social values that are typical of the general population. This in turn has implications for theorising the role of values in the diffusion of grassroots innovations. Furthermore, we believe the role of values merits closer attention in transitions theory: values underpin agency and can have a powerful role in motivating and hindering change.
Alternative Food Initiatives for Environmental Justice: Marginal or Transformative?
Authors: Zeynep Kadirbeyoglu, Nazli Konya
Abstract: Access to healthy and affordable food on the consumer side and the ability to make a decent living by producing food crops are important areas of exclusion in today’s corporatised food governance regime. Alternative food initiatives (AFIs) have been established worldwide in order to re-conceptualize production, distribution and consumption processes. These initiatives attempt to address a set of multi-layered issues by creating counter-institutions and practices which can be conceptualized under the general theme of environmental justice. This paper adopts an environmental justice and diverse economies approach in order to evaluate whether AFIs can play a transformative role by focusing on three AFIs from Turkey. Transformative role refers to whether AFIs are able to challenge unjust corporate controlled agricultural practices to bring about a more just production, distribution and consumption relations/processes.
The enthusiasm for urban farming from a cultural political economy perspective
Authors: Karin Dobernig, Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, Bernd Bösel
Abstract: Urban food growing has spurred much interest and enthusiasm among urban citizens, NGOs, and city governments of the Global North in recent years. While not a new practice per se, urban food growing is nowadays positioned at the nexus of a broad range of issues seen critical for urban sustainability, including ecological resilience, public health, community engagement, and education. In this paper we aim to provide three contributions. First, we explore the affective and dispositional roots of this enthusiasm around urban food growing. Second, we identify and describe the carriers of this enthusiasm from a political economy perspective. Third, we discuss the cultural potential of the practice of urban food growing to invoke or enhance a socio-ecological transformation through building stable assemblages of change.
WORKING CLASS COMMUNITIES AND ECOLOGY: Reframing Environmental Justice around the Ilva steel plant in Taranto (Apulia, Italy)
Authors: Emanuele Leonardi, Stefania Barca
Abstract: In July 2012, a local Preliminary Hearing Judge ordered the closing of the most polluting furnaces of the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, the largest and one of the oldest such factories in Europe, finding its management guilty of environmental and public health disaster (Barca 2014a). After decades of imperturbable – if unequal – balance amongst social actors, the confiscation set in motion an unprecedented conflict between environmental and community activists, on the one hand, and the company owners, backed by government support, on the other. The conflict inevitably extended to the Metalworkers’ unions confederation, sparking a profound and irreversible crisis; its initial manifestations of loyalty and support to the company – in continuation with decades-long attitudes of quiescence towards the job blackmail – encountered the unexpected opposition of substantial parts of the rank-and-file, causing the union to lose much of its credibility and a significant number of affiliates.
Urban Sustainability Transitions: Actors, Resources, Indicators
Cities as laboratories of socio-ecological transformation: Results of the WWWforEurope project
Authors: Thomas Sauer
Abstract: Cities appear to be particular interesting laboratories of socio-ecological transformation: Here transformation fields of climate protection like energy, urbanisation and land use are closely connected with other earth-system processes – like freshwater use, biodiversity loss, and chemical pollution. Thus, it makes sense to investigate the institutional setting of common-pool resources in urban areas exploring leading research questions as: What kind of new institutional arrangement could be observed here? Could they be interpreted as new forms of governance of the urban commons? Are such processes driven by self-organisation and cooperation of citizens from below – or are they initiated by government or business actors as participations process aiming to involve the civil society actors only as a matter of legitimation of their own actions? And finally, which role does such new institutional arrangements play in the context of a multi-level transition towards a socio-economic system respecting the planetary boundaries?
URBAN RENOVATION AS ADAPTATION STRATEGY TO STRUCTURAL ECONOMIC CHANGE: THE CASE OF BRUSSELS’ NEIGHBOURHOOD REVITALISATION PROGRAMME
Authors: Stephan Kampelmann, Paula Vandergert, Sarah Van Hollebeke
Abstract: While the literature on the governance of social-ecological systems increasingly recognizes a general role of bridging organisations (BOs) in transition processes, our paper provides a more nuanced understanding of specific BO activities and their contributions towards urban sustainability. Our analysis is based on applying methodological triangulation (drawing on geolocalised data, interviews and action research) to 20 years of urban renovation investments in the city-region of Brussels. We distinguish between multi-scale, multi-actor and multi-dimensional tensions in urban renovation programmes and link these tensions to three different mediation roles for BOs. Empirical observations suggest that the three types of tensions/mediations form a trilemma rather than a trilogy: the BOs in our case study have mediated one tension by de facto exacerbating another. Lessons from action research suggest that a wider use of temporality and conceptual translations in urban renovation projects could attenuate the mediation trilemma faced by BOs.
Exploring social innovation in green spaces governance across European cities
Authors: Judith Schicklinski
Abstract: Across European cities, the use of urban green spaces is highly controversial and subject to diverging interests, yielding a high conflict potential. Ecological resilience and further ecological and social outcomes of the resource system green spaces are endangered by a persisting economic growth logic manifesting itself in ongoing city over-mineralization and urban sprawl due to infrastructure and development pressure, often linked to scarce public resources. Yet, preserving the availability of bio-diverse green spaces is crucial for the socio-ecological transition of cities. Against this background, this research focuses on social innovative civil society dynamics on the grassroots level and on citizen participation in the governance of green spaces in several European cities, asking for the role of civil society actors in the post-growth debate, examining their position vis-à vis state and market players and exploring their activities’ impacts on the local level.
Performance monitoring of local sustainability concepts in European cities
Authors: Stephanie Barnebeck
Abstract: Local governments are confronted with a variety of social, environmental and economic challenges these days. Many European cities therefore developed urban sustainability concepts or plans to lead their transitions towards a resilient future. Urban sustainability indicators are important control instruments in monitoring the implementation of the goals defined there. The question arises, if urban sustainability indicators are necessary as communication instruments with citizens and other stakeholders or whether other methods could also measure or describe sustainability in an appropriate way. Derived from the empirical research within the WWWforEurope project on socio-ecologic transitions of European cities the question arises, why urban sustainability data is still very fragmentary respectively what hinders a comprehensive data collection and systematisation. Depending on local capabilities, especially urban sustainability indicators—used for the quantification of target achievements of sustainability plans—should be designed as simple as possible to enable cities to measure these.
Ecological citizen on the barricades: Right to the city movements in Southern Europe
Authors: Mine Islar
Abstract: Social movements, as powerful channels of political expression and mobilization, have become global phenomena with potential to reshape societies and politics around the world. The purpose of this paper is to produce an interdisciplinary study of right to the city movements by analyzing the re-politicization of the citizens engaged in Spanish ‘Indignados’ and Turkey’s Gezi movements. Firstly, the paper aims at analyzing how processes of urban and ecological re-politicization feature in these movements. Both movements became landmarks of contemporary socio-ecological struggles manifesting themselves as mobilizations against urban transformation. The struggles targeted mega-projects that were leading to enclosure of urban/rural commons, but at the same time they also created ruptures, generating spaces of hope, cooperation, and the reclamation of right to the city.Secondly, the paper aims at exploring the concept of ecological citizenship. This will be done by analyzing strategies and potentials of the movements regarding socio-political change and citizenship practices.
The societal implications of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP)
Authors: Giovanni Bernardo, Simone D’Alessandro
Abstract: This paper aims to investigate the societal implications of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) at the local community level on the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. Local government plays a crucial role because it has to decide a strategy able not only to stimulate energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources on their territories, but also to achieve other important goals such as the improvement of quality of life, wellbeing and local economic development. For this reason it is crucial to develop tools able to assess the effects of environmental and energy policies on the socio-economic system and to assist policymakers in identifying the most effective choices. We present a system dynamic model based on stock-flow feedback able to capture the potential implications of energy policies for sustainable development goals.
Eco-villages - Ecological economics in practice?
Authors: Ove Daniel Jakobsen, Stig Ingebrigtsen, Are Severin Ingulfsvann, Øystein Nystad
Abstract: Instead of reducing negative symptoms, ecological economics focus on how to develop structures and systems that, prevent the accelerating negative symptoms to develop, and lead to societies with high quality of life within sustainable nature and healthy economy. Ecological economics has focus on changes both on individual and systems level. To exemplify these changing processes we penetrate on Hurdal eco-village in Norway. In Hurdal eco-village the goal is to foster a culture of mutual respect, sharing, inclusiveness, positive intent, and fair energy exchange. We elaborate the assumption that eco-villages are examples of communities that unite life in small, supportive, healthy societies with a sustainable path for economic development. We conclude by a reflection on to what degree the practise in Hurdal eco-village is in accordance with the main principles in ecological economics.
Experimenting with Commons: Management of Semi-Public Urban Spaces
Authors: Michal Maco, Tatiana Kluvankova, Eva Streberova, Maroš Finka
Abstract: Empirical evidence (Poklembová, 2013) has outlined that the effectiveness of public space management proportionally depends on the degree of community involvement. Semi-public spaces as shared resources represent a very specific combination of private and common property regimes, resulting into a social dilemma. Users have stronger relations and demands towards these spaces. However, they face similar problems of resource degradation, overuse, free-riders or conflicts between actors. Decision-making is confronted by the clash of individual and collective interests. The main objective of the paper is to demonstrate if and how behavioural approaches based on experimental techniques could substantially contribute to the governance of the natural and urban commons and to the design of effective management strategies under the given complexity, multiple actors and decision-making levels. We are focusing on sustainable management models of shared semi-public spaces, applying CPR principles, using experimental approaches to examine how incentives and institutions affect decisions.
A complex but necessary interplay: Complementing intrapersonal and systemic sustainability transitions
Intrapersonal conflicts – lock-ins for sustainability transitions? Consequences for policies and governance
Authors: Felix Rauschmayer, Christine Polzin, Ines Omann, Ines Thronicker, Anke Fischer
Abstract: We argue that environmental governance approaches give insufficient consideration to the psychological dimension of (intentional) behavioural change. Within this dimension we focus on intrapersonal sustainability-related conflicts that may arise when people are aware that different actions have different social and environmental effects, but taking a decision for the more sustainable option may not be evident e.g. due to conflicting attitudes, values or knowledge. We herewith aim to explore new psychology-informed governance approaches that may empower people to cope individually and collectively with such conflicts in ways that foster sustainability-enhancing behaviours. We will first provide an overview of governance approaches investigating them from a psychological perspective. We will then consider their blind spots. The empirical work consisting of qualitative interviews around sustainable lifestyle initiatives in Europe will follow a grounded theory approach, keeping in mind the goal to address the potential for sustainability initiatives to scale up.
Exploring intrapersonal conflicts in sustainability transitions from an integral perspective
Authors: Ines Omann, Felix Rauschmayer
Abstract: Exploring intrapersonal conflicts in sustainability transitions from an integral perspective Sustainability transitions require changes on different levels. Some argue that they start within the individuals, starting in the inner dimension by reflecting upon values, needs or culture and leading to changes of behaviour and lifestyles. However, if individuals aim for more sustainable lifestyles they are often confronted with intrapersonal conflicts due to conflicting motivations or trade-offs between different needs. This paper aims first to explain those conflicts in more detail and second show one method, which allows addressing them in an integral way by looking underneath the behavioural level and linking the individual with the collective interior and exterior levels.
Exploring governance designs for intrapersonal sustainability transitions: the role of mindfulness
Authors: Christine Polzin, Felix Rauschmayer
Abstract: Governance theories on sustainability transitions have so far neglected the (intrapersonal) individual level and do not address questions regarding the ways in which individuals may be supported in adopting sustainable behaviours. This paper aims to bridge the gap between transition governance theories and psychology by investigating (1) what kinds of governance designs could activate caring and affiliative motivations in order to support individuals in adopting and maintaining sustainable behaviours, and (2) whether or not (if so, how) this may be facilitated through incentivising cooperation. We will focus specifically on how governance may strengthen (compassionate) mindfulness, which has been linked, inter alia, to a reduced importance on materialistic values and a greater emphasis on intrinsic aspirations, thus potentially contributing to more sustainable ways of life. The paper will be largely conceptual and theoretical in nature.
Subjectivity and Politics of Transformation in Climate Change Adaptation
Authors: David Manuel-Navarrete, Mark Pelling
Abstract: Human agents and their individual life trajectories are integral components of socio-ecological systems dynamics and adaptation pathways. In this view, climate adaptation requires attending to the subjectivities involved in deliberate (political) efforts of human agents to affect socio-ecological change. However, climate adaptation tends to emphasize system-level dynamics that appear to be independent from human subjectivity. Inspired by Margaret Archer’s work on human reflexivity, this paper explores how human agents’ internal conversations mediate socio-ecological system-level dynamics. Agents’ internal deliberations about their own lives are elicited and explored through life-story interviews and narrative analysis. The paper shows how tourism actors in Akumal, a coastal enclave in the Mexican Caribbean, construct dynamic narratives about past transformations. These evolving narratives become, in turn, part of processes leading to the next transformation. Understanding the cognitive processes involved in the construction of these narratives is crucial for addressing the political dimension of socio-ecological pathways.
Making sense of sustainability transitions locally: how action research contributes to addressing societal challenges
Authors: Niko Schäpke, Julia Wittmayer, Ines Omann, Frank Van Steenbergen
Abstract: Today’s society is facing a broad array of societal challenges, such as an unstable economic system, climate change and lasting poverty. There are no straightforward solutions, rather these challenges ask for fundamental societal changes, that is, sustainability transitions. Faced with the question of how these challenges can be understood and dealt with, we argue for action research as a promising approach. Focusing on their localized manifestations, we ask whether and how action research can support understanding and addressing societal challenges and making sustainability meaningful locally. We tackle this question on the basis of two case studies in local communities based on principles of transition management. Our main finding is that societal challenges, sustainability and sustainability transitions acquire meaning through practice and interactions in the local context. Action research can offer a space in which alternative ideas, practices and social relations can emerge to further a sustainability transition.
Getting the unpalatable message across: Matching environmental communication with expectations
Authors: Janne Hukkinen, Miklós Antal
Abstract: Since the general public resents making high personal sacrifices to deal with environmental threats, it makes sense to search for cognitively consonant framings of environmental communication. We will study whether this approach could increase support for decisions facilitating sustainability. We will conduct an Internet-based survey among Finnish and Hungarian university students in the spring of 2015 on the future of energy systems in the two countries. We choose these two countries because of their polarized energy policy discussion on renewable versus nuclear energy. We ask four respondent groups to each read one of four differently framed texts presented as an expert opinion on the nation’s future energy challenges and a particular solution to it. The respondents are then asked to present their solutions. We hypothesize that framing a cognitively dissonant environmental message in a cognitively consonant way is more likely to influence thinking and behavior than one without such framing.
Best Practice Results of interpersonal Real Life Experiments for an Integral Sustainable Way of Living. Empirical Observations in selected Ecovillages.
Authors: Iris Kunze
Abstract: One of the main observations for realizing sustainable development within modern, industrialized societies is the difference between knowledge and action; despite a high degree of knowledge and awareness lifestyle patterns, political and economic structures remain unchanged. Hence is becomes crucial to ask how we can research personal, intrapersonal and systemic options for sustainability transitions. In this contribution I condense research findings from a decade of examining ecovillage experiments in their trials for a more sustainable way of living. The approach of ecovillages has an integral potential of development because it triggers (1) transition of the individual consciousness and (2) behavior as well as (3) of the culture of communication, interaction and governance and (4) finally of the economic, structures with commons and gift economy. In conclusion, best practices of integral transition methods developed in long-term experience of ecovillages will be highlighted.
Urban Sharing: From Anecdotal Practice to Business Models
Authors: Patrycja Dlugosz, Yuliya Voytenko, Oksana Mont
Abstract: Global urbanisation aggravates environmental and social challenges but cities offer innovative solutions to unsustainable consumption. While urban sharing is a well-known phenomenon, the role of sharing business models for more sustainable living was not studied sufficiently. This article provides a better understanding of the “sharing city”, its role in enabling sustainability transitions and institutionalisation for urban sharing. Case studies include San Francisco, Berlin and Seoul. Data is collected via literature analysis and ten semi-structured interviews. Data analysis is guided by neo-institutional theory, and explores the legitimacy levels of sharing in each city. Reasons for emergence of sharing include global economy shifts, changes in attitudes to consumption and ownership, and ICT development. Urban sharing can benefit economic, environmental, social and democratic dimensions of urban communities. While a viable strategy for institutionalisation of sharing is through gaining cognitive and socio-political legitimacy, a precaution must be taken when scaling up sharing business models.
The role of cities and scale in achieving sustainability
The sustainability of the informal city: An urban metabolism approach
Authors: Louise Guibrunet, Vanesa Castán Broto
Abstract: This presentation explores urban sustainability by focusing on the informal city. Cities are responsible for 75% of the global resource consumption and urbanisation is a defining feature of our society. In many world cities urbanisation takes place in the context of informality; as a result infrastructure construction and environmental policies have to understand informal practices and their role in shaping urban sustainability. The informal economy in particular plays a crucial role in managing urban infrastructure and delivering urban services (such as waste management or transport). We propose to analyse the contribution of the informal city to urban sustainability through the lens of urban metabolism (the study of flows of resources and materials through the city). We present an urban metabolism framework that allows for an in-depth analysis of urban informal practices and their contribution to sustainability.
Multilevel governance featuring local and regional carbon markets - Insights from theory and the cases of Tokyo and the US Northeast
Authors: Sven Rudolph
Abstract: Despite of some progress, global climate policy still appears largely deadlocked. The same is true for ambitious federal level carbon pricing in major emitting countries such as Japan and the US. So do bottom-up local and regional carbon markets represent a promising sup-plement to global and national level market-based climate policy? This questions is dis-cussed in the paper by, first, reviewing the literature on multilevel governance with a special focus on environmental federalism. Second, the paper evaluates the economic and environ-mental performance of Tokyo’s and the US Northeast’s carbon markets and tests the hy-potheses of the environmental federalism debate. It is mainly argued that sub-national car-bon pricing is a valuable contribution to climate policy. In sum, the paper gives an overview of the environmental federalism debate and provides respective empirical evidence from two major sub-national carbon markets in countries, where federal level carbon pricing has failed.
Community scale greenhouse gas accounting
Authors: Susan Carstairs
Abstract: In addition to national greenhouse gas emission reporting, there has been growing interest in developing sub-national accounts. A new protocol for community scale accounting was issued in draft in 2012 through the Greenhouse Gas Protocol project and this has been used to develop an account for a rural area in the Scottish west Highlands. This work highlighted the areas where good quality data is readily available and others where more work is needed. The results showed higher than average per capita emissions and the possible reasons for this are reviewed. The protocol offers a practicable way for communities of all levels to engage in accounting for emissions as a basis for considering options for action.
Urban spatial structure and environmental emissions: a survey of the literature and some empirical evidence for Italian NUTS-3 Regions
Authors: David Burgalassi, tommaso luzzati
Abstract: This paper addresses the relationship between urban spatial structure and emissions. By surveying the most relevant literature, first we discuss the concept of spatial structure, focusing in particular on polycentricity and dispersion, and then we summarise the possible links between spatial structure and emissions. The survey provides the framework to explore the empirical evidence for Italy concerning CO2 and PMs emissions originating from private transport and house heating. Results suggest that spatial structure affects CO2 emissions from private transport and PMs from housing emissions. There is no evidence for polycentricity to reduce emissions.
Sustainable transportation: Understanding the complex rebound effects of transportation choices
Authors: Jukka Heinonen, Juudit Ottelin
Abstract: Densification is held as one key mean to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from private driving. However, the overall mitigation results are actually likely to fall short from expectations due to the rebound-effects related to changes in transportation patterns. Possessing, operating and maintaining a private vehicle requires a significant investment of money. For the majority, this investment reduces other consumption possibilities and thus the emissions caused elsewhere. This phenomenon can be called the rebound-effect of private driving. While early evidence seems to highlight the importance of this perspective, the problem is far but fully understood. We aim to provide a small step to the state-of-the-art within this issue by studying the transportation patterns in relation to other consumption choices, and by producing the greenhouse gas elasticity of private driving in different types of urban settings. This kind of understanding could significantly help in the future in designing more sustainable human settlements.
Developing resilience of systems, businesses and communities
Experiencing natural disasters: how this influences risk aversion, trust and the demand for microinsurance
Authors: Oliver Fiala
Abstract: Climate change is likely to increase extreme weather events, their frequency and intensity. Especially developing countries are more vulnerable to the increasing likelihood of natural disasters. Insurance is one risk management tool, which removes or reduces the financial risk arising from natural hazards. Even if microinsurance in general appears to be a promising tool to protect vulnerable populations, the overall enrolment rates remain low.
This paper is supposed to investigate the link between natural disasters, individual behaviour particularly risk aversion and trust – and the demand for microinsurance products. For that a field experiment with a trust game and a risk game to measure personal risk aversion have been performed with populations in rural areas of Cambodia’s Battambang province. In addi-tional a survey in combination with a discrete choice experiment has been conducted.”
Defining and Modelling Resilience along the Food Supply Chain
Authors: Jamie Stone, Elliot Woolley, Shahin Rahimifard
Abstract: Food supply chains face a number of unique vulnerabilities compared to other supply chains and there is concern that, as operating environment volatility increases, current “lean” supply chain management strategies may no longer be fit for purpose. There is a need to manage food supply chains in such a way that a return to the original state, or preferably an improved state, after being disturbed is possible. However, whilst the literature reveals a relatively large amount of work on resilience in supply chain management, there is poor consensus over how to define and implement a system of resiliences. In response, this paper explores the current complexity of food supply chains, highlighting key dependencies, failure modes and key performance indicators. It then examines the interdependencies between capabilities and vulnerabilities in allowing balanced resilience and presents a framework to bring together and aid understanding of these factors across food supply chains.
Measuring resilience and vulnerability of SMEs to climate-related events: Evidence on why they need to go hand by hand
Authors: Paola Sakai, Andy Gouldson
Abstract: SMEs play a crucial role in the economic system. If their existence was to become affected by climate-related impacts, social and economic development could be compromised. The objective of this paper is to investigate to what extent SMEs are vulnerable or resilient to climate change. Moreover, it examines the relationship between the concepts of vulnerability and resilience. These conceptualisations were operationalised with a number of variables, which were used to construct two indices, one for vulnerability and another for resilience. The analysis reveals that these two concepts are not simply opposite sides of a coin. This paper argues that an organisation that possesses coping capacities and resilient traits has the potential to manage climate events and incorporate these experiences by learning, adapting and renewing. This has important implications, since the efforts to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience need to go hand by hand in order to promote change and transformation.
Building resilience to climate change in agriculture: the role of robust appraisal methods
Authors: Ruth Dittrich, Anita Wreford
Abstract: Research can support farmers to enlarge their portfolio of adaptation options to climate change. We focus on appraising adaptation options to climate change, helping to decide to which extent measures should be implemented. We conclude that a large part of measures in the agriculture will be reactive, as many management decisions are made over short decision horizons. Appraisal can occur through standard cost-benefit analysis. Anticipatory adaptation, implementing adaptation options before the climate change occurs is needed for capital-intensive investments with a long lifetime. However, the uncertainty about climate change impacts make appraisals challenging. For anticipatory adaptation measures, we therefore suggest the use of ‘robust decision-making methods’ for appraisal. Robust approaches deliver adaptation goals by selecting projects that meet their purpose across a variety of futures and are thus particularly suited for uncertainty. We provide concrete examples on how these could be accomplished technically as guidance to decision-makers in the agriculture.