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2015 ESEE Conference in Leeds

WWWforEurope at the 2015 11th Biennial Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE)

Conference topic: Transformation

Leeds, UK, 30 June - 3 July, 2015


WWWforEurope Special Session: Urban Sustainability Transitions: Actors, Resources, Indicators

Thomas Sauer, University of Applied Sciences Jena
Stephanie Barnebeck, University of Applied Sciences Jena
Judith Schicklinski, Free University of Bolzen/Bolzano


A WWWforEurope Special Session on "Urban Sustainability Transitions: Actors, Resources, Indicators" was held at the 11th Biennial Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE). The underlying assumption of the session was that cities could deliver a significant contribution to sustainability transition, because they may be seen as “laboratories of transformation” with new actors appearing there which might be change agents of transformations in the sense of Karl Polanyi.

Thomas Sauer, Stephanie Barnebeck (both Ernst-Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena) and Judith Schicklinski (Free University of Bolzano) presented research results from their work on the WWWforEurope project - find all the papers for download here!

The session started with Thomas Sauer’s presentation “Cities as laboratories of socio-ecological transformation: Results of the WWWforEurope project”. The ROCSET project presents a new approach for sustainability transition analysis with a special focus on the governance of urban common-pool resources. It investigated the institutional preconditions of socio-ecological transition and explored the potential for local self-organisation and socio-ecological transition in the resources systems energy, water and green spaces.

Then, Stephan Kampelmann (Université libre de Bruxelles) presented on “Urban renovation as adaptation strategy to structural economic change: the case of Brussels’ neighbourhood revitalisation programme”. He focused on the role of bridging organisations in transition processes and on their contributions towards urban sustainability.

Returning to the WWWforEurope project, Judith Schicklinski pursued the question under what local conditions and to which extent civil society can be a transition driver in the resource system green spaces in European cities. Along empirical findings, she presented the potential of self-organisation and emerging social and solidarity economies in the governance of urban green spaces.

Stephanie Barnebeck provided a practical insight into urban sustainability strategies. Since the empirical research within the WWWforEurope project revealed that urban sustainability data is still very fragmentary, she presented results from a follow-up research on existing local urban sustainability strategies across European cities.

The session concluded with a vivid discussion on the four presented topics as well as on the importance of local change agents and the right institutional environment for a sustainability transition of European cities.

WWWforEurope researcher Sigrid Stagl was among the keynote speakers at the 2015 ESEE conference and WWWforEurope researcher Marina Fischer-Kowalksi presented "Energy transitions and social revolutions" based on the paper by her and Dominik Wiedenhofer: "Achieving absolute decoupling? Comparing biophysical scenarios and macro-economic modelling results", WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 86.