Green building in regional strategies for sustainability: multi-actorgovernance and innovative building technologies in Europe, Australia, andCanada


CALL: 2012

DOMAIN: SR - Environmental and Earth Sciences

FIRST NAME: Christian




HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Green building, sustainable regional development, climate change mitigation, adaptation strategies of city regions, urban sustainability, local and regional development, environmental innovation and technological change, governance

START: 2013-07-01

END: 2016-06-30


Submitted Abstract

With growing concerns and evidence regarding global climate change, ideas of sustainability have increasingly influenced and guided conceptual and policy debates on economic development worldwide. Policy goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions have been capturedin a number of international agreements like the Kyoto protocol as well as multinational and national initiatives including the EU sustainable development strategy (2009), Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (2010) and Australia’s National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (1992). Most recently, UNEP’s Green Economy Report (2011) provides a global assessment emphasizing the greening of economies as ‘new engine ofgrowth’ that meets environmental, economic and social goals (e.g., employment creation, poverty reduction). The building sector, discussed in a separate chapter in the UNEP report, has been identified as significant in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While it is the largestcontributor to human-related greenhouse gas emissions, it is also seen as holding greatest potential to lower emissions based on the low cost of retrofitting existing or constructing new buildings, the availability of technologies, and transition to green energy supply and demand.Despite the global character of environmental change, the local and regional scales are often identified as important arenas to tackle the challenges of sustainable development. Sustainable local and regional development research has focused on sustainable solutions including green technologies, institutional restructuring and transportation management, just to name a few, often neglecting considerations on how local or regional development is defined in the first place. An analysis of local and regional development has to take into account not only different spatial scales but also a multitude of interests. Similarly, work on the greening of industry, technological change, and green innovations has frequently over-emphasized the importance of economic actors neglecting other important interests and how they are connected at different geographic scales. Recent work has promoted political economy and institutional perspectives to overcome these shortcomings. The proposed research project focuses on green building as regional strategy for sustainability using examples from Europe (Luxembourg and Freiburg), Australia (Brisbane), and Canada (Vancouver). It seeks to contribute to understanding sustainable local and regional development in respect to technological change and innovations implementing a holistic and institutional approach that takes into account multiple interests and spatial scales. The project focuses on the interactions between economic, government, andnon-government interests at different spatial scales, and how these interactions potentially translate into ‘local and regional innovation systems’, or how they promote or hinder technological change. The chosen perspective looks beyond the business level to analyse localand regional institutions (regional context incl. norms, value systems, beliefs) that promote technological innovations and how they are influenced by external events.

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