Outscaling Urban Sustainability Innovations: Present and Desired Future Roles of Global Organisations and Networks
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In order to take on the sustainability challenges of the Anthropocene, transformative innovations need to be scaled along different pathways. While global organisations and networks operate at a scale and with a mandate which can contribute to generating sustainability transitions at large, the roles they fulfil and the limitations of these roles are not well understood. Notably, existing research has been confined to the study of (particular) roles of organisations or networks in scaling processes within local or regional contexts, leaving the global context mostly out of scope. To fill this gap, this thesis contributes a pragmatic understanding of the present roles and desired future roles of global organisations and networks involved in the outscaling of innovations. This is applied to the urban setting. To analyse current shortcomings and future desired roles, this thesis first develops a theoretical and conceptual framework of the different types of roles and global organisations and networks involved in outscaling urban sustainability innovations, based on existing transitions literature and extended with findings of an empirical inquiry into existing organisations and networks operative in this field. Using the findings of the empirical inquiry, barriers to outscaling innovations as well as desired future roles of global are outlined, and contextualized within the current state of understanding of these topics. The thesis’ main findings are threefold. First, it is found that there are many different roles at play in outscaling urban innovations, fulfilled by a myriad of different type of global organisations and networks. Moreover, global organisations and networks involved in scaling urban innovations are highly dependent on each other when it comes to successfully scaling out innovations. The barriers to success around present roles on the one hand and desired future roles on the other are therefore closely connected, and mostly hinge around topics of (a lack of) pro-activity and (financial) cooperation. This thesis ends with practical recommendations for actors involved in outscaling innovations, as well as recommendations for further research.