Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth
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Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth

Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling

Today, economic growth is widely understood to be conditioned by productivity increases which are, in turn, profoundly affected by innovation. This volume explores these key relationships between innovation and growth, bringing together experts from both fields to compile a unique Handbook.
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Chapter 32: Green Innovation

Philip Cooke


Philip Cooke INTRODUCTION In this chapter an attempt is made to present the main theoretical perspectives concerning ecological thinking about economic geography, and innovation related to it. This involves identifying, first, work that considers policy inputs and outputs favouring ‘green’ interests as if these formed a ‘regime’ of power and influence over city government decisions. It elaborates an earlier and critical view of urban governance which saw city decision-makers captured by powerful economic interests and accordingly producing outcomes that favoured economic ‘booster’ ideology. As reinterpreted through ‘ecological modernization’ perspectives that see benign influences being brought to bear by such ‘green’ political influence, this approach is really of only limited value to an understanding of most green innovation. However, it can be utilized to highlight forces at play in cities, more than regions, that display coherent and effective policies to seek reductions in the greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are widely understood to be major contributors to climate change. Thus the cities of Copenhagen, Denmark, Vancouver, Canada and Austin, Texas are known for their portfolios of green policies ranging from using local, organic food networks to supply municipal canteens, schools and healthcare facilities to green building codes and renewable energy consumption. That cities mainly influence the urban practices of their citizenry by constraining consumption norms is well understood and a feature of their make-up, which historically has not emphasized production of innovation to the same extent. In the second perspective to be discussed in the chapter, this is less the case. ‘Co-evolutionary...

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