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  • Series: New Horizons in Regional Science series x
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Edited by Nicola F. Dotti

This book provides theories, experiences, reflections and future directions for social scientists who wish to engage with policy-oriented research in cities and regions. The ‘policy learning’ perspective is comprehensively discussed, focusing on actors promoting ‘policy knowledge’ and interaction among different stakeholders. The book also aims to provide practical insights for policy-makers and practitioners interested in research-based approaches to cities and regions.
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Edited by Leïla Kebir, Olivier Crevoisier, Pedro Costa and Véronique Peyrache-Gadeau

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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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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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Leïla Kebir

The aim of this chapter is to analyse innovation in the field of sustainable building renovation. The current context of climate change has put the renovation of the existing building stock high on the political agenda. The chapter shows the existence of mainstream building retrofitting operations aiming mainly at meeting the requirements of public authorities. It also shows the presence of other types of projects, which are seeking exemplarity and in which the symbolic dimension is here very important and structuring. It also shows that innovation is made mainly by ad hoc local innovation networks in which distant relations are very important to access to leading-edge knowledge.

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Simone Strambach and Frederik Lindner

Sustainable innovation processes gain increasing importance in global change as a response to complex environmental and social problems. These types of innovations are closely related with the institutional and cultural context in which they occur. The blending of ecological, economic and social values – a main feature of sustainable innovations – is connected with the need for combining heterogeneous knowledge bases from various actors that are often spread over different spatial scales and sectors. The aim of the chapter is to contribute conceptually and empirically to a deeper understanding of the relation between knowledge dynamics and sustainable innovation processes in international contexts. The focus is on the territorial shaping of knowledge dynamics and the emergence of new organizational forms. The empirical results are based on Sino-German sustainable innovation processes in green construction.

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Luís Carvalho, Inês Plácido Santos and Mário Vale

This case study explores the development of the PlanIT Urban Operating SystemTM, a complex middleware platform designed to link a city’s sub-systems (for example the built environment, safety and security, energy, water), harmonizing resource flows towards manifold efficiency gains. This chapter explores the spatial and organizational context of the proponent company, Living PlanIT SA, currently headquartered in Switzerland but with relevant operations in other milieus, namely in the north of Portugal. Despite the codification of the core technology, the chapter illustrates how the interaction with different milieus provided (and keeps providing) unique resources for the technology’s development, commercialization and societal legitimation.

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Miranda Ebbekink and Arnoud Lagendijk

This chapter assesses the development of the water campus and the water technology cluster in Leeuwarden from the perspective of an ‘anchoring milieu’. In doing so, the chapter makes a broader point on the nexus between cluster policies and ambitions to boost a city’s international competitive position. It focuses, in particular, on the aspect of anchoring, and on four themes which, in the authors’ eyes, bear on anchoring: ‘relational assets’, ‘club goods’, ‘strategic intelligence’ and ‘policy leverage’. Furthermore, the importance of engagement of the business community is stressed.

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Pedro Costa

This chapter analyses the role of sustainable innovations in creative milieus, studying Bairro Alto cultural district, in Lisbon. A double perspective is used, analysing, on one hand, some sustainable innovations which have been introduced during recent years with the purpose to develop quality of life and minimize use conflicts in the area; and on the other hand, a collective sustainable innovation, linked to the perception of the risks in the evolution of the territorial system and the representations agents have about it. The chapter focuses in particular on reputation and symbolic issues which challenge more traditional approaches to urban sustainable development processes and the innovative milieu concept.

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Marcello De Rosa and Ferro Trabalzi

This chapter studies two new food networks in Rome, the so-called ‘Zero-Km Initiative’ and the Elementary School Meal Program. Involving strong producer_consumer relations, these innovative networks were created by small farmers in order to benefit from the economic potentials of new consumption patterns developing in large urban areas (demand for quality food, local food, and so on). The research focuses on the dynamics of coordination between periurban farmers and local institutions as predictors for the long-term sustainability of the two networks. The research has highlighted that when coordination involves a small number of actors (Zero-Km Initiative) the resulting action is efficient and the long-term sustainability of the network is safe. On the other hand, when the network is composed of multiple actors located at different institutional levels and geographical scales such as in the Elementary School Meal Program, the capacity for coordination is weaker if not absent.