Accepted Paper:

Building urban sustainable green niches - multi-level niche development in Vancouver, Canada   

Authors:

Kirstie ONeill (University of Hull)
Julia Affolderbach

Paper short abstract:

Green building is increasingly being seen as a core approach to reducing cities' greenhouse gas emissions. Using Vancouver as a case study, this paper draws on transitions theories to explore how niches co-exist at a variety of scales within the city, and beyond.

Paper long abstract:

Green building is increasingly being seen as a core approach to reducing cities' greenhouse gas emissions. Not only that, but green building is seen as a means to demonstrate innovativeness and highlight technological advances in green building methods. Using Vancouver, Canada as a case study, this paper draws on transitions theories to explore how niches co-exist at a variety of scales within the city, and how these niches relate to others both locally and beyond. Over the last 20 years or so, Vancouver has adopted a range of green building policies and initiatives and implemented these at a range of scales to demonstrate its leadership in this sphere and to promote Vancouver as a sustainable urban space. Looking specifically at the green building developments at the University of British Columbia and South East False Creek, using both primary and secondary research data, this paper argues that Vancouver can be viewed as a cluster of local scale niches, as well as a broader level niche at the citywide level promoting a Vancouver-specific style of green building approaches. To date, whilst the role of space in socio-technical transitions research is becoming more prominent, the absence of empirically grounded examples remains unaddressed, and we attempt to address this by paying attention to the influence of places and spatial scale in transition processes.

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