Cities as Seedbeds for Sustainability Innovations

  • Julia Affolderbach
  • Christian Schulz
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Based on framings influenced by transition studies approaches, this chapter assesses local trajectories in Freiburg, Vancouver, Brisbane and Luxembourg focusing on local and regional framework conditions. More specifically, it discusses the extent and the ways in which the four cities can be understood as seedbeds or niches that allow (or inhibit) green building innovations to be developed and adopted. Linking back to the discussed weaknesses of the transition studies literature on spatial dimensions of sustainability transitions, the discussion also emphasises the role of flows and connections beyond the cities. Based on examples from the four case study regions, the chapter proposes replacing hierarchical interpretations of the MLP with flat ontologies, that is to consider cities as places where niche, regime and landscape levels are blended. Moreover, cities not only host niches (e.g. as location of innovative projects or vanguard organisations) but can also hold niche characteristics themselves, for example, through the political and institutional context they provide. These become obvious in the individual transition trajectories identified that have shown to be highly context specific and contingent.


Multi-level perspective Green building transitions Niche-regime convergence Cities as niches 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Affolderbach
    • 1
  • Christian Schulz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geography, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HullHullUK
  2. 2.Institute of Geography and Spatial PlanningUniversity of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg

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