Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 15: Sustainable innovation as a challenge for urban governance

Harald Rohracher and Michael Ornetzeder


As cities increasingly turn into key players of climate change mitigation, urban innovations for sustainability move to the centre of interest. A general characteristic of such innovations is that they aim at the systemic transformation of socio-technical configurations and infrastructures in cities towards more sustainability. The proximity and high density of interconnections in cities are conducive to innovations reaching across infrastructure sectors, such as the integration of electric vehicles in smart electricity grids. Urban initiatives to generate sustainable innovations are often framed as ‘urban laboratories’ or set up as sustainable model districts focusing, for example, on car-free living or the increased integration of ICT in smart city districts. In this chapter we will work out the characteristics of transformative urban sustainability innovations and emphasize some of the challenges of governing sustainable urban change. As an empirical illustration we will discuss the development of a Smart City district in Vienna.

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