Cities as Arenas of Low-Carbon Transition? Analysing the Cases of Graz and Freiburg
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Cities as Arenas of Low-Carbon Transition? Analysing the Cases of Graz and Freiburg

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Presentation delivered by Harald Rohracher (Professor, Dept. of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden) for URBACT Training for Elected Representatives on ...

Presentation delivered by Harald Rohracher (Professor, Dept. of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden) for URBACT Training for Elected Representatives on Integrated and Sustainable Urban Development.
Seminar 3 (2-4 December 2013, Brussels, Belgium): Sustainability and change. How can cities tackle the challenges of climate change and assess their progress? And how to intervene in complex energy transitions while improving a city's quality of life?

Read more: http://urbact.eu/en/news-and-events/urbact-events/training-for-elected-representatives/

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Cities as Arenas of Low-Carbon Transition? Analysing the Cases of Graz and Freiburg Cities as Arenas of Low-Carbon Transition? Analysing the Cases of Graz and Freiburg Presentation Transcript

  • Cities as arenas of low-carbon transition? Analysing the cases of Graz and Freiburg Harald Rohracher Professor, Dept. of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change Linköping University, Sweden
  • Cities &Climate Change  Sustainability transitions: radical reconfigurations of systems of production and consumption  Energy,  mobility, food systems etc. Cities increasingly regarded critical to transitions as ‘megatrend’  Source of 70-80% of anthropogenic GHGemissions  Foremost among victims of climate change  Key sites of ‘innovative response’  Urbanisation
  • A sociotechnicalsystemsperspective  Individual transport / the car: Just a technology?  Which social, cultural and technical elements stabilise our car-based system of mobility?  Is  it just habits? Lack of technological alternatives? How are cars entrenched in our society? Why is such a system so difficult to change? View slide
  • Culture andsymbolic meanings (freedom, individuality, indepencence..) Regulationsandpolicies (rules, standards; finance, insurance…) Marketsanduser practices (preferences, expectations, mobility patterns …) Socialinstitutions, practices, meaning Socio-technicalconfiguration in personal transportation Builtenvironment (settlementstructures) Industrystructure (carmanufacturers, suppliers) Economicinterests Research Maintenance and distributionnetworks (retail, repair etc.) Sunkcosts / investments Vehicle / Artefact Road infrastructure andtrafficsystem New technologies – ICT, Smart cars, materials… Fuel infrastructure New fuels; newpropulsion technologies (ModifiedfromGeels 2004) View slide
  • Socio-technical change and stability Multi-level perspective: niches, regimes and landscapes Macro-level (landscape) Meso-level (regimes, institutions) Micro-level (Niches, projects) Source: Geels and Kemp, 2001 Socio-culturalbackground etc. - veryslowchanges Regimes providestability andresistancetochange Niches as test-beds / protected spaces for learning
  • Transitions as multi-level process Focus on transformative change – systemic innovations  Interaction between three levels is important   Destabilisation of regime; landscape pressures  Formation of niches – social learning, networkformation, shaping of expectations  Helpful for thinking about  Stability / obduracy of existing configurations  Variety of social and technical elements that have to come together to cause a regime shift  Need for integrated and long-term policy
  • How can cities shape regime change?   Infrastructures / regimes often reach far beyond city limits + limited formal power of cities ‘Soft power’ to shape change processes:  Self-governing: own operation of e.g. buildings, public procurement  Limited forms of regulation – mandates and planning  Provision of services  Enabling: facilitating, coordination & encouraging action, civil society involvement  Horizontal coordination: city networks
  • City of Graz, facts and figures  260.000 inhabitants  128 km2  Geographically situated in basin  Capital city of Styria  45.000 students
  • ‘Eco-City’Graz: historic development  External pressures on existing energy regime  Bad  air quality due to geographical situation Network of energy activists established within city administration and politics (policy entrepreneurs)  Partially  roots in anti-nuclear movement Early 1990s: From ‘smog city’ to ‘eco city’  Integrated 2000’ Environmental Programme‘Eco-City
  • Innovative Energy & Climate Policies   Ambitious aims: Cutting CO2-emissions by 50% until 2010 (based on 1987 figures) Innovative type of programmes Comprehensive and integrative perspective (policy integration)  Participatory planning (stakeholders, wider public)  Partial outsourcing to research partners  New types of instruments (economic framing; win-win)  Action oriented; concrete targets; monitoring   Integration with social and economic aims  Local companies & jobs, social housing etc.
  • International support Participation in international city networks  International attention and acclaim for its activities, e.g.  Greenpeace International Climate Protection Award in 1993  International Sustainable City Award of the European Union in 1996  Dubai International Award & Climate Star in 2002  Sustainable Energy Europe Award in 2008  Civitas City of the Year 2008   Creation of urban identity
  • Thermoprofit      Energy performance contracting for private and public buildings Includes energy supply, building envelope, building services New financial arrangements + aggregation of knowledge on energy-efficient refurbishing, models for tenant participation, legal issues, dealing with energy aspects in tendering etc. Networks of local partner companies (Thermoprofit partners) Guaranteed quality standards
  • Basic idea of contracting
  • ‘Soft power’ of institutional change  Institutional change  Strengthened department for energy and environment  Establishment of more effective intra-municipal working groups across departments and issues  Establishment of a municipal energy agency which is owned by municipality and municipal utilities, but collaborates internationally and acts (rather) independently  Importance of intermediaries at urban level  Facilitation and coordination of systemic change  Knowledge brokers; competence centres
  • Freiburg Population: 230.000 Area: 150 km² (40% forest) Density: 1435 inh./km² „Green City“
  • Priorities for an energy transition  Vision: substitution of nuclear electricity, lead in efficiency and renewables, solar industry cluster  Germany’s   ‘Solar capital’, various international prizes Policies driven by experts & citizens rather than administration (main admin-focus: PR, green image) Reduce demand by increasing energy efficiency  Pioneering enforcement of high energetic building standards (by plans, private contracts etc.)  District heating, CHP  Transport: Change in modal split achieved but anticar policy highly contested
  • Vauban district – the plan 18 Ph. Späth, Environmental Policies in Freiburg
  • ‘Lessons’ from eco-cities  Despite limited power within multi-level governance structures cities can be successful in achieving a (moderate) restructuring of the energy regime  Not so much technology development, but implementation skills, formation of actor alliances, new business clusters (e.g. energy-efficient building renovation; solar installations)  Urban governance brings together actors across energy system level in new roles – incumbents/utilities, local businesses offering new products/services, concerned citizens…
  • Cities as facilitators of systemic change  Not only niche-regime dynamics, but other socio-political dynamics important  Particular local agendas, jobs, tourism, visibility  Interactions between different governance levels  Competition between cities / networks of cities important  Despite severe constraints, cities and regions can be important social context for deviations from dominant energy system  Legitimacy for visions of more sustainable regimes  Demonstrating the viability of alternative regime
  • Cities as facilitators of systemic change  Significant governance capacity at local level…  Not only formal powers, but proximity effects, inclusion of civil society, capacity for coordination, regional identities  Strategic action at city/regional level can have (discursive) repercussions on other scales => diffusion of alternative configurations  Regions / cities as sites for  Formation of new visions and discourse coalitions  Formation of heterogeneous networks across different interests and actor types as effect of proximity / trust
  • Challenges for urban transitions  How to create learning effects across different initiatives and experiments?  Upscaling?  Systemic change? How to create long-lasting institutional change?  New instruments, standardisation, agencies, new structures for policy integration  How to broaden the actor basis?  Involvement   of civil society? Companies? How to link energy with other socio-political issues? Vision building? Urban identity? Measuring
  • Thank you for your attention! harald.rohracher@liu.se