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CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University

No 2010/8:
Towards a spatial perspective on sustainability transitions

Lars Coenen (), Paul Benneworth () and Bernhard Truffer ()

Abstract: In the past decade, the literature on transitions towards sustainable socio-technical systems has made a considerable contribution in understanding the complex and multi-dimensional shifts considered necessary to adapt societies and economies to sustainable modes of production and consumption. However, transition analyses have often neglected where transitions take place, and the geographical configurations and dynamics of the networks within which transition evolve. An explicit analysis of the geography of transitions contributes to the extant transitions literature in a variety of ways. Firstly it provides a contextualization and reflection on the limited territorial sensitivity of existing transitions analysis. The majority of empirical studies have been conducted in a small number of countries, and primarily the Netherlands, UK or Scandinavia, with an increasing interest in Asian countries. Secondly, it explicitly acknowledges and investigates a variety of transition pathways. Thirdly, it encompasses not only greater emphasis but also better conceptual and theoretical devices for understanding the international, trans-local nature of transition dynamics. Drawing on recent insights from economic geography, this paper seeks to improve existing transition theory by (1) creating a conceptual framework for better understanding geographical dimensions of sustainability transitions, and (2) beginning to highlight some of the boundary

Keywords: transitions studies; economic geography; territorial innovation systems; multi-scalarity; geographies of transitions; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: O30; (follow links to similar papers)

51 pages, October 1, 2010

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