The acceleration of transitions to urban sustainability: a case study of Brighton and Hove

Durrant, Rachael, Barnes, Jacob, Kern, Florian and MacKerron, Gordon (2018) The acceleration of transitions to urban sustainability: a case study of Brighton and Hove. European Planning Studies, 26 (8). pp. 1537-1558. ISSN 0965-4313

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Cities raise major challenges and opportunities for achieving sustainability. Much literature on urban sustainability focuses on specific aspects such as planning practices, urban policy or the diffusion of more sustainable technologies or practices. However, attempts at understanding the mechanisms of structural change towards sustainability have resulted in the emergence of an interdisciplinary field of sustainability transitions research. Transitions research has developed a phase model of transitions in which predevelopment, take-off, acceleration and stabilization phases are distinguished. However, the acceleration phase has received limited attention so far. This is a crucial gap as policy makers are keen to accelerate transitions. This paper aims to enhance our understanding of how local actions contribute towards accelerating urban sustainability transitions. It does so by testing an acceleration mechanisms framework through exploring the collective agency of local initiatives in urban sustainability transitions. Drawing on a case study of the city of Brighton & Hove (UK), the paper finds that despite favourable local political conditions, there is a lack of evidence of acceleration apart from in individual domains such as food or mobility. Progress is found to depend on the agency of initiatives to both scale up sustainable practices and embed these practices into local governance arrangements.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Sustainability transitions; acceleration; cities; collective agency
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Research Centres and Groups: The Sussex Energy Group
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Florian Kern
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2018 12:54
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2019 02:00

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
ARTS - Accelerating and Rescaling Transitions to Sustainability (DRIFT lead)G1281EUROPEAN UNION603654 - ARTS