1st Edition

Cities in Transition Social Innovation for Europe’s Urban Sustainability

Edited By Thomas Sauer, Susanne Elsen, Cristina Garzillo Copyright 2016
    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    298 Pages
    by Routledge

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     Cities in Transition focuses on the sustainability transitions initiated in 40 European cities. The book presents the incredible wealth of insights gathered through hundreds of interviews and questionnaires. Four key domains—local energy systems, local green spaces, local water systems and local labour markets—have been the focus of the field research investigating local potentials for social innovation and new forms of civil society self-organisation. Examining the potential of new organizational frameworks like co-operatives, multi-stakeholder constructions, local-regional partnerships and networks for the success of such transitions, this book presents the key ingredients of a sustainable urban community as a viable concept to address current global financial, environmental and social challenges.

    Crucial reading for academics and practitioners of urban planning and sustainability in Europe, Cities in Transition is an innovative roadmap for sustainability in changing cities.

    1. Urban Prosperity without Growth: the Role of Actors and Social Innovation 2. Selecting Forty Cities 3. Patterns of Change: A General Model of Socio-Ecological Transition 4. Socio-Ecological Transitions in the Energy System: The Local Government View 5. Socio-Ecological Transitions in the Green Spaces Resource System 6. Socio-Ecological Transitions in the Water System 7. The Governance of Regional Labour Market Policies 8. Institutional Diversity 9. Governing the Multilevel Transition 10. Mobilising the Citizens for the Socio-Ecological Transition 11. Cities as Places of a New, Shared Prosperity


    Thomas Sauer is Professor of Economics at the Jena University of Applied Sciences (EAH), Department of Business Administration. His key qualifications as a researcher are urban and regional economics and the analysis of collective decision-making. He is member of several international economic associations like the International Society for Ecological Economics.

    Cristina Garzillo is coordinator for Governance and Social Innovation at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Previously contract professor at the University of Parma, she is recognized for her expertise in local sustainability processes, integrated management and governance, and her publications in the field of local sustainability, knowledge brokerage and transition.

    Susanne Elsen has worked as Professor of Sociology and Social Development at the Free University of Bolzano since 2010. She is Vice Dean for research and director of the Faculty of Education’s PhD Programme. Her main research topics are social innovation, local development and community economy, sustainability and post-growth society.

    "This is an unusual book: no cheap language on green growth, no moral appeals as to what should be done for a sustainability transition. Instead: serious comparative analysis for fourty cities in Europe, based on careful theoretical reasoning in the tradition of Ostrom and focussing on the conditions of self-organization of civil society." –Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Institute for Social Ecology Vienna

    "Cities in Transition provides a rich and innovative inventory of the decision making and organization of urban sustainable transitions. By empirically identifying the potentials of new urban organizational frameworks, the authors demonstrate the key ingredients to a successful transition towards sustainable urban prosperity." –Wiltrud Terlau, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences

    “The literature on urban bottom-up solutions to counter climate change and other environmental problems is quickly growing. This contribution is particularly attractive because of its systematic approach covering water through energy to green spaces and even local labour markets. The thorough empirical basis, involving a careful selection of relevant city case studies and their comparison, means a great step forward in comparison with previous studies. The book moreover provides an ambitious theoretical synthesis of recent thinking on such diverse issues as a multi-level sustainability transition, Ostrom’s management approach to common pool resources, and the revived debate on growth-versus-the-environment.” –Jeroen van den Bergh, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

    "This book advances the concept of urban commons by invigorating the role they play in urban sustainability transitions. With a fresh look on the institutional configurations in cities and how they challenge political processes and governance architectures, the book opens a new theoretical pathway of urban studies for sustainability." –Niki Frantzeskaki, Erasmus University Rotterdam