On 18 May 2021, the WP6 “Sustainable Urban Transformation” Science Workshop took place with about 60 participants.
The main aim of this event was to discuss the WP6 research plan, its milestones and related activities during B4P Research and Development phase (2021-2025) to the local Cambodian research partners. Also, theoretical and normative approaches of sustainable urban transformation were introduced.
However, without doubt, the highlight of this event were two keynote presentations from internationally renowned scholars in the field of sustainable urban transformation.
At first, Prof Dr Harald Rohracher, Linköping University / Sweden presented about the topic “Creating an innovation eco-system for sustainable buildings”. He argued that the development of a more sustainable and energy-efficient building stock is not just a matter of getting building design and technologies right, but needs to be accompanied by a changing social, economic, cultural and political context. A successful diffusion of low-carbon buildings requires adaptations of building codes and regulations needs the development of new network of actors in the building industry and their related competences and expectations, which can be facilitated by new kinds of intermediary actors supporting knowledge transfer and coordination. This requires not least changes in the behaviour and understanding of people living in these buildings. Overall, one can argue, such a transformative change towards low-carbon buildings can be best understood as a whole new innovation eco-system in the building sector, an eco-system which is not only characterized by new actors, institutions and technologies, but also new processes of involving stakeholders, of experimenting with new socio-technical arrangements, and of designing new policy mixes supporting the transition.
This was followed by an intriguing presentation of Dr Eduardo Noboa, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador & BMW Foundation, RISE Cities Program Munich / Germany about the topic “Designing knowledge-action networks for supporting sustainable urban development: Interfacing science, policy, and transformation processes towards sustainability in municipalities”. Based on a case-study example from Latin America, Eduardo argued that sustainable urban transformation requires the articulation of multi-level and multi-sectoral networks that produce knowledge and apply it in policy and projects. It also requires giving value to different visions, narratives and understandings of risks and social justice. Therefore, universities, research institutions, and knowledge-action networks have a key role in promoting a dialogue between science, policymaking and citizens, strengthening of capacities that accelerate the learning curve and facilitate climate action.