Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

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

Lars Coenen (), Paul Benneworth () and Bernhard Truffer ()
Additional contact information
Lars Coenen: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: PO Box 117, Sölvegatan 16, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Paul Benneworth: Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), University of Twente, Postal: PO Box 216, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Bernhard Truffer: Eawag (Acquatic Research Institute), Postal: Ueberlandstrasse 133, P. O. Box 611, 8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland

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

JEL-codes: O30

51 pages, October 1, 2010

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201008_Coenen_et_al.pdf PDF-file 

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