Accepted Paper:

Categorizing translation strategies for smart eco-city development  


Maj-Britt Quitzau (Aalborg University Copenhagen)
Jens-Phillip Petersen (Technical University of Denmark)

Paper short abstract:

This paper provides a categorization of translation strategies applied by local authorities in order to implement energy strategies locally. The paper provides insight into the dedicated work aimed at translating generic concepts related to energy strategies into community-engaging local projects.

Paper long abstract:

The trajectory of smart eco-city development is often greatly influenced by technical interests at the national or regional planning scale. However, such generic concepts are not easily translated into local projects. Lack of translation is not only problematic, due to a lack of local integration of smart eco-city technologies, but also because this might inhibit the effectiveness of the implementation process. Recent transition studies have indicated that translation of a generic concept into a local project variation do occur, but that it requires dedicated work.

The aim of this paper is to categorize a number of translation strategies applied by local authorities in order to implement energy strategies locally on the basis of theoretical understandings of translation from STS. This categorization is carried out on the basis of a study of best practice cases of municipal initiatives for implementation of energy strategies locally. These best practice cases have been identified through partners involved in Annex 63 of the International Energy Agency.

Based on our analysis of these case studies, we show how a common feature of many of these translation strategies is based on a strong community-engaging approach to governance, including social, technical and building specific factors. The degree to which the local projects are defined by the generic concepts of technical trajectories varies. Our categorizations illustrate how very different momentum for change are used in what seems to be community-based exploitations of technical-urban synergies.

Panel T050
Conceptualizing transformational change in energy systems and the built environment