GLORIWA untersucht die bestehende Pfadabhängigkeiten in der urbanen Wasserwirtschaft, indem wir die Struktur der wichtigsten globalen Akteursnetzwerke sowie deren umgebenden institutionellen Rahmen untersuchen
The BARRIERS project aims at improving our understanding of the institutional barriers for radical innovation in UWM. It analyzes ‘lighthouse cities’ that experiment with non-grid UWM systems
Wings is an inter- and transdisciplinary strategic research program that strives to develop novel non-grid-connected water and sanitation systems that can function as comparable alternatives to network-based systems.
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Global socio-technical regimes
This paper addresses the question why socio-technical transitions follow similar trajectories in various parts of the world, even though the relevant material preconditions and institutional contexts vary greatly between different regions and countries. It takes a critical stance on the implicit methodological nationalism in transition studies' socio-technical regime concept and proposes an alternative 'global' regime perspective that embraces the increasingly multi-scalar actor networks and institutional rationalities, which influence transition dynamics beyond national or regional borders. By drawing on globalization theories from sociology and human geography, we show that socio-technical systems often develop institutional rationalities that are diffused via international networks and thus become influential in various places around the world. In so doing, we shed light on the multi-scalar interrelatedness of institutional structures and actors in socio-technical systems and elaborate on the implications for the conceptualization of transition dynamics. The paper illustrates this with the case study of an unsuccessful transition in the Chinese wastewater sector. Recent studies indicate that key decisions on wastewater infrastructure expansion were not only influenced by path-dependencies stemming from China's national context, but equally (or even more critically) by the dominant rationality of the water sector's global socio-technical regime. We conclude by discussing the contours of a new research agenda around the notion of global socio-technical regimes.
Global innovation systems - a conceptual framework for innovation dynamics in transnational contexts
This paper proposes a framework for the analysis of technological innovation processes in transnational contexts. By drawing on existing innovation system concepts and recent elaborations on the globalization of innovation, we develop a multi-scalar conceptualization of innovation systems. Two key mechanisms are introduced and elaborated: the generation of resources in multi-locational subsystems and the establishment of structural couplings among them in a global innovation system (GIS). Based on this conceptualization, we introduce a typology of four generic GIS configurations, building on the innovation mode and valuation system in different industry types. The analytical framework is illustrated with insights from four emerging clean-tech industries. We state that a comprehensive GIS perspective is instrumental for developing a more explanatory stance in the innovation system literature and developing policy interventions that reflect the increasing spatial complexity in the innovation process.
Path creation as a process of resource alignment and anchoring: industry formation for on-site water recycling in Beijing
Where and how new industrial paths emerge are much debated questions in economic geography, especially in light of the recent evolutionary turn. This article contributes to the ongoing debate on path creation with a new analytical framework that specifies the formation of generic resources in embryonic industries. It suggests that path creation processes are not only conditioned by preexisting regional capabilities and technological relatedness but also by the way firm and nonfirm actors mobilize and anchor key resources for industry formation. Our framework elaborates on the early industry development phase, extending the focus on regional knowledge spillovers in evolutionary economic geography (EEG) literature with recent insights on industry formation dynamics from innovation studies. It understands early path creation as conditioned by four systemic resource formation processes—knowledge creation, investment mobilization, market formation, and technology legitimation—that can be mobilized both from inside or anchored from outside the region. The use and value of the analytical framework is illustrated by a case study on on-site water recycling technology (OST), based on interviews with 40 experts in three Chinese city regions. The findings suggest that, despite possessing the least favorable initial conditions, a sizable OST industry developed only in Beijing. This is explained based on the specific anchoring process of the four key resources in the early development stage of the industry. Our results imply that EEG would profit from incorporating a broader set of variables than knowledge-based relatedness in explanations of regional industrial path creation.
Beyond user acceptance: a legitimacy framework for potable water reuse in California
Water resource managers often tout the potential of potable water reuse to provide a reliable, local source of drinking water in water-scarce regions. Despite data documenting the ability of advanced treatment technologies to treat municipal wastewater effluent to meet existing drinking water quality standards, many utilities face skepticism from the public about potable water reuse. Prior research on this topic has mainly focused on marketing strategies for garnering public acceptance of the process. This study takes a broader perspective on the adoption of potable water reuse based on concepts of societal legitimacy, which is the generalized perception or assumption that a technology is desirable or appropriate within its social context. To assess why some potable reuse projects were successfully implemented while others faced fierce public opposition, we performed a series of 20 expert interviews and reviewed in-depth case studies from potable reuse projects in California. Results show that proponents of a legitimated potable water reuse project in Orange County, California engaged in a portfolio of strategies that addressed three main dimensions of legitimacy. In contrast, other proposed projects that faced extensive public opposition relied on a smaller set of legitimation strategies that focused near-exclusively on the development of robust water treatment technology. Widespread legitimation of potable water reuse projects, including direct potable water reuse, may require the establishment of a portfolio of standards, procedures, and possibly new institutions.
Harris-Lovett, S. R.; Binz, C.; Sedlak, D. L.; Kiparsky, M.; Truffer, B. (2015) Beyond user acceptance: a legitimacy framework for potable water reuse in California, Environmental Science and Technology, 49(13), 7552-7561, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b00504, Institutional Repository
Why space matters in technological innovation systems-mapping global knowledge dynamics of membrane bioreactor technology
Studies on technological innovation systems (TISs) often set spatial boundaries at the national level and treat supranational levels as a geographically undifferentiated and freely accessible global technological opportunity set. This article criticizes this conceptualization and proposes instead to analyze relevant actors, networks and processes in TIS from a relational perspective on space. It develops an analytical framework which allows investigating innovation processes (or 'functions') of a TIS at and across different spatial scales. Based on social network analysis of a co-publication dataset from membrane bioreactor technology, we illustrate how the spatial characteristics of collaborations in knowledge creation vary greatly over relatively short periods of time. This finding suggests that TIS studies should be more reflexive on system boundary setting both regarding the identification and analysis of core processes as well as in the formulation of policy advice.
Conceptualizing leapfrogging with spatially coupled innovation systems: the case of onsite wastewater treatment in China
A rapid implementation of potentially more sustainable sector structures in newly industrializing countries (NICs) is of key importance to reach global sustainability. The conceptual basis for assessing such "leapfrogging" potentials is however still rather weakly developed. The present paper elaborates an encompassing conceptual framework drawing on the technological innovation systems literature and adding an explicit geographical focus that embeds an NIC's innovation system in its international context. From this, we derive six ideal-type leapfrogging trajectories. The framework is applied to the case of a potential transition to onsite wastewater treatment in China. Empirical evidence is based on 30 expert interviews with representatives from companies, universities, authorities and associations in China and Europe. Our results suggest that leapfrogging in the Chinese wastewater sector might develop in either an integrated "international innovation system" trajectory, where Chinese and international actors closely interact, or in an "international competition" trajectory, where Chinese actors endogenously build up technological leadership in strong competition to international actors. We conclude by outlining policy implications and by discussing future research priorities for leapfrogging and transition studies.
Binz, C.; Truffer, B.; Li, L.; Shi, Y.; Lu, Y. (2012) Conceptualizing leapfrogging with spatially coupled innovation systems: the case of onsite wastewater treatment in China, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 79(1), 155-171, doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2011.08.016, Institutional Repository