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Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri

This chapter presents the theme, theoretical approaches and overview of the chapters in the book. The theme is the contribution of cities (their actors) to increased sustainability in social-technical systems, eventually by accelerating sustainability improvements. The selected systems are energy, transport and healthcare. Cities may act as the cradle of key inventions, as places of up-scaling and commercialization and as places of quick adoption, though few individual cities take up all these roles. Next, several urban innovation theories are introduced, including agglomeration and cluster theories, and the relational (collaboration) approach, with the aim to ‘position’ the chapters. Specific attention is given to the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Complementary approaches are institutional and governance perspectives, in particular with respect to cities acting as institutional innovators. A final approach is the evolutionary approach, as invention, up-scaling, commercialization and adoption of new technology are concerned with long time-lines and manifold uncertainties.

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Leïla Kebir, Véronique Peyrache-Gadeau, Olivier Crevoisier and Pedro Costa

As an introduction to this book, this chapter provides insights on the evolution of innovation patterns, and in particular when dealing with sustainable issues. It highlights the relationship between territory and sustainable innovations and identifies the relationships that such innovations (re)build with territory, as well as the forms of localization that they induce. It presents the four dimensions of sustainable innovation identified in the case studies presented in the following chapters: product, institutional, territory and flagship dimensions. Finally the chapter concludes with some considerations on the innovative milieu concept in regard to the present context of innovation and territorial development.

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Edited by Leïla Kebir, Olivier Crevoisier, Pedro Costa and Véronique Peyrache-Gadeau

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Christian Livi, Pedro Araujo and Olivier Crevoisier

Based on two case studies, this chapter studies the articulation between sustainable innovations and territories. Using the conventionalist approach, and in particular the idea of the sustainability convention, this chapter analyses the territorial, economic and social dynamics of sustainable innovations in Western Switzerland’s photovoltaic industry and sustainable finance. The main result is that, contrary to ‘classical milieus’ where the innovative efforts are mainly on the supply side, sustainable innovations redefine considerably the relations with consumers, users and even citizens. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the concept of innovative milieu and its cognitive, financial and discursive aspects.

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General introduction: the return of social innovation as a scientific concept and a social practice

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch

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Edited by Tan Yigitcanlar, Kostas Metaxiotis and Francisco Javier Carrillo

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Tan Yigitcanlar, Kostas Metaxiotis and Francisco Javier Carrillo

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Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander