Cities and Sustainable Technology Transitions
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Cities and Sustainable Technology Transitions

Leadership, Innovation and Adoption

Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri

This enlightening book elucidates the leadership challenges of various cities in emerging transitions towards higher levels of sustainability. It examines elements of three socio-technical systems, energy, transport and healthcare, while addressing technology invention, commercialization, mass-production and adoption. The book breaks new ground in the analysis of topical issues such as local ‘cradle’ conditions, incentive schemes, niche-development, living labs, impact bonds, grass-roots intermediation and adaptive policy making. It offers a broad coverage of global systems of cities, with a particular focus on Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Korea, Japan, the US and Canada.
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Chapter 12: Urban intermediaries and the governance of energy transition: two case studies in Amsterdam

Marloes Dignum

Abstract

This chapter addresses local initiatives supported by city governments. It introduces urban platform intermediaries (UPIs) as strategic intermediaries enhancing the realization of sustainable energy aims, and it investigates their roles, actions and organizational position. With socio-technical transition as a starting point, a reflective framework to evaluate UPIs is developed, using two contrasting examples in Amsterdam: NewNRG and its spin-off ‘We’re Getting Chickens’ and Amsterdam Smart City and its project City-Zen. Amsterdam has high ambitions with regard to sustainable energy, but which is complicated by the need for degasification of the housing stock. With similar tasks of connecting actors, the initiatives show substantial differences in position. NewNRG has a bottom-up, grassroots character, and attracts mostly newcomers; however, it struggles to attract funding and organizational stability. ‘Established’ Amsterdam Smart City and its incumbent actors have the potential to upscale inventions and make innovations grow, but they are unlikely to initiate radical activities.

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