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Developing Knowledge-Intensive Low Carbon Transitions. Contexts, Challenges and Consequences Simon Marvin and Beth Perry

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Presentation on theme: "Developing Knowledge-Intensive Low Carbon Transitions. Contexts, Challenges and Consequences Simon Marvin and Beth Perry"— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing Knowledge-Intensive Low Carbon Transitions. Contexts, Challenges and Consequences Simon Marvin and Beth Perry Cities of Tomorrow Workshop 1: Urban Challenges European Commission, DG Regional Policy Tuesday 29 th June 2010

2 2 SURFs Work Urban and Regional Governance Urban Knowledge Exchange Knowledge Regions and Cities The Future of Universities Low Carbon Urban Futures Urban Transitions Urban Ecological Security Cities of Tomorrow

3 3 Argument Contexts: –Knowledge and Sustainability in Multi-Scalar, Multi- Actor Environments Challenges: –Eg.Greater Manchesters Attempts to Build Low- Carbon Knowledge Economies Consequences: –Knowledge for Sustainability: Populating the Missing Middle

4 4 A Framework of Understanding Economic, Scientific, Socio-Cultural, Ecological and Political Rationales Knowledge Economy and Technological Change Globalisation and (Sub)Regionalisation Climate Change and Resource Constraint Urban Paradigms ++ Models of National (Knowledge) Capitalism Governance SystemsResearch Systems Choices, Capacities and Capabilities Urban Potentials ++ Transition JourneysEmerging PrioritiesTurning Points Strengths and Weaknesses of Existing Approaches Urban Policies ++

5 5 Manchester: Low Carbon Economic Positioning Positioning Manchester as low carbon first mover –To avoid the economic costs of inaction on climate change and to move rapidly to accrue the economic opportunities and benefits –To maintain a perceived view of Manchester as entrepreneurially pre-eminent as viewed by comparator cities and national government Attracting investment and providing business support –The provision of relevant forms of support in relation to this agenda for businesses –The promotion of inward investment A test-bed for national targets –GM Dec 2009 UKs 4 th LCEA & 1 st LCEA for Built Environment –Draft prospectus claims - contribute to saving 6 million tn CO2 - support 34,800 jobs & exemplar for region & UK –Designation requires GM work with BIS, DECC, Carbon Trust, EST, NWDA etc –Position GM to attract investment – and showcase the achievement of national targets

6 6 Manchesters Knowledge/Innovation Journey Co-evolution and multi-level interactions Broad visions, traditional interpretations First-mover status; test-bed and pilot for new models Glocal aspirations: excellence, relevance Assumptions about knowledge, innovation, space and scale

7 7 An (E)Merging Agenda? Some overlaps: Innovation; scale; multi- arena partnerships E.g. IIF: carbon co-op, proposal for low carbon economic area, smart city and living labs E.g. Low Carbon Economic Area for Built Environment – inc. low carbon laboratory Conceptualisation of cities as sites of experimentation But similarities are greater in the framing of the issues than in an exploration of synergies and possibilities Knowledge economy / low carbon economy as economic opportunity

8 8 Styles of Response Table 1 Dominant ResponsesFeatureAlternative Responses Econo-centricObjectivesVaried TangibleMeasurementsIntangible Global excellenceScalesGlocal excellent relevance and relevant excellence Linear, products, supply/demand, push/pull models ProcessesEcosystems, networks and flows Narrow; disciplinary; sectoral; codified KnowledgesBroad; interdisciplinary; cross- sectoral; tacit Technological, mechanistic solutions MechanismsMultiple interventions and mechanisms Transferable modelsLearningContext-sensitive approaches Elites: corporate, governments, major institutions Social InterestsWide stakeholders, potential beneficiaries and participants DivisibleConcepts of Economic and Ecological Security Collective

9 9 Gaps in Understanding: A Missing Middle Missing Middle between expectations, capacities and capability Devolution of responsibility without resource Social processes characterised by making do or improvisation. Research resources used to inform standalone evaluation rather than city-regional learning. Poor communication amongst stakeholders about knowledge needs leads to inefficient use of resources. Weak mechanisms for mediating between stakeholders and HEIs in understanding how needs and responses could be mutually constructed An absence of a space for thinking without consequence to develop, test and critique ideas and policies in a structured and systematic way

10 10 Challenges Configuring discourses and visions? Assumptions and presumptions? Cities as passive or active, receiving or mediating sites of activity? Local experiments, upscaling and managed systemic transitions? Actors involved, how positioned, coalitions of power and interest? Capacities and capabilities of different cities to respond? Social and material consequences of transitions? Where is the space for alternatives to be discussed, conceived and implemented, by whom and with what effects? What knowledge is needed and how to inform more sustainable knowledge-based futures?

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