The world’s population is currently undergoing a significant transition towards urbanisation, with the UN expecting that 70% of people globally will live in cities by 2050. Urbanisation has multiple political, cultural, environmental and economic dimensions that profoundly influence social development and innovation. This fundamental long-term transformation will involve the realignment of urban society’s technologies and infrastructures, culture and lifestyles, as well as governance and institutional frameworks. Such structural systemic realignments can be referred to as urban sustainability transitions: fundamental and structural changes in urban systems through which persistent societal challenges are addressed, such as shifts towards urban farming, renewable decentralised energy systems, and social economies.

This book provides new insights into how sustainability transitions unfold in different types of cities across the world and explores possible strategies for governing urban transitions, emphasising the co-evolution of material and institutional transformations in socio-technical and socio-ecological systems. With case studies of mega-cities such as Seoul, Tokyo, New York and Adelaide, medium-sized cities such as Copenhagen, Cape Town and Portland, and nonmetropolitan cities such as Freiburg, Ghent and Brighton, the book provides an opportunity to reflect upon the comparability and transferability of theoretical/conceptual constructs and governance approaches across geographical contexts.

Urban Sustainability Transitions is key reading for students and scholars working in Environmental Sciences, Geography, Urban Studies, Urban Policy and Planning.

chapter 1|20 pages

Urban Sustainability Transitions

The Dynamics and Opportunities of Sustainability Transitions in Cities

part I|136 pages

Characteristics and Distinctiveness of Urban Transitions

chapter 2|14 pages

Anchoring Global Networks in Urban Niches

How On-site Water Recycling Emerged in Three Chinese Cities

chapter 4|15 pages

The Governance of Transformative Change

Tracing the pathway of the sustainability transition in Vancouver, Canada

chapter 5|21 pages

Transitioning complex urban systems

The Importance of Urban Ecology for Sustainability in New York City

chapter 6|20 pages

The Role of Place-specific Dynamics in the Destabilization of the Danish Water Regime

An Actor–Network View on Urban Sustainability Transitions

chapter 7|27 pages

Village Communities and Social Innovation Policies in Seoul

Exploring the Urban Dimension of Grassroots Niches

chapter 8|15 pages

Spatialising Urban Sustainability Transitions

Eco-cities, Multilevel Perspectives and the Political Ecology of Scale in the Bohai Rim, China

chapter 9|9 pages

INTERLUDE: Urban Sustainability Transitions

Opportunities and Challenges for Institutional Change

part II|128 pages

Experimentation and Urban Sustainability Transitions

chapter 13|17 pages

Multiple transitions

Energy Precariousness and ‘Transient’ Urban Tenants

chapter 14|30 pages

Worth the Trouble?!

An Evaluative Scheme for Urban Sustainability Transition Labs (USTLs) and an Application to the USTL in Phoenix, Arizona

chapter 15|15 pages

Change and Persistency

Understanding Social-Ecological Transition in a Post-Socialist City – the Example of Leipzig, Germany

part III|71 pages

Politics of Urban Space and of Urban Sustainability Transitions

chapter 17|13 pages

Cities as arenas of low-carbon transitions

Friction zones in the negotiation of low-carbon futures

chapter 18|11 pages

Mediators Acting in Urban Transition Processes

Carlsberg City District and Cycle Superhighways

part IV|11 pages

Taking Stock and Connecting with Sustainability Transitions Studies

chapter 22|9 pages

Sustainability Transitions and the City

Linking to Transition Studies and Looking Forward