Greening regional cities: The role of government in sustainability transitions

Simon Wright, Samantha Sharpe, Damien Giurco

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The scale and complexity of the ‘wicked problems’ posed by sustainability are forcing collaborations between unlikely partners. In many instances, government is choosing to play a critical role in the sustainable innovation process. Yet much of the innovation literature pushes to the fore the ingenuity of the firm, leaving government to play a secondary supporting role. Drawing on ideas from innovations and transitions theory on the role of government in supporting green niches, this paper analyses the example of an evolving biomass project in regional NSW. In particular, the paper focuses upon the role that regional government plays in supporting this community-led collaboration. Based on circular economy principles, the project aims to achieve energy independence whilst simultaneously generating bio-products for the agricultural sector. Utilising a case study methodology including in-depth semi-structured interviews with more than 20 key stakeholders from government, business and the local community, analysis of the data suggests that government is a critical actor in the innovation process; plays a multiplicity of roles across the network; and that these roles vary to a greater degree than previously suggested in the literature. A number of factors are also identified that shape these roles at different stages of the innovation process. This paper sheds new light on the critical role played by government in facilitating and leading sustainability transitions and contributes to our knowledge of sustainable innovations more broadly. It also highlights a need for more research to improve our understanding of appropriate actors at different stages of sustainability transitions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSustainable development research in the Asia-Pacific region
    Subtitle of host publicationEducation, cities, infrastructure and buildings
    EditorsWalter Leal Fiho, Judy Rogers, Usha Iyer-Raniga
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319732930
    ISBN (Print)9783319732923, 9783030103491
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018

    Publication series

    NameWorld Sustainability Series


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