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Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2415-2436; doi:10.3390/su7032415

Lost in Transition or Geared for the S-Curve? An Analysis of Flemish Transition Trajectories with a Focus on Energy Use and Buildings

1,†,* and 2,†
1
Unit Smart Energy & Built environment, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Boeretang 200, BE 2400 Mol, Belgium
2
VITO Transition Platform, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Boeretang 200, BE 2400 Mol, Belgium
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 20 December 2014 / Revised: 18 January 2015 / Accepted: 16 February 2015 / Published: 27 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1503 KB, uploaded 27 February 2015]   |  

Abstract

In recent years, many cities have adopted action plans to become climate neutral in the coming decades. Hereby, a strong motivational factor has been the goal to realize a win-win situation in the long term: climate neutrality and sustainable functioning are not only beneficial for the environment, but are equally beneficial for society and for the economy if well-integrated trajectories are adopted. Nevertheless, as actors across the fields start to implement these plans, many practical obstacles have arisen. These barriers are typical of a systemic transition: dominant practices are characterized by path dependencies, vast institutional frameworks and vested interests that are hard to break through. At the same time, relevant initiatives typically show some elements of uncertainty and a long term return, factors that make it difficult to attract financial investments. The present article addresses the state of the art for current transition experiments in the region of Flanders, Belgium, focusing on actions related to energy and buildings in cities. A brief overview of the state of affairs in several cities and provinces is presented, and some important opportunities and bottlenecks are identified. The resultant findings are tested against the framework of transition theory and related literature on the subject. Subsequently, a set of possible strategies to overcome the above mentioned barriers is formulated. These strategies focus on effectively mobilizing actors and investments. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban transitions; climate neutrality; energy and buildings urban transitions; climate neutrality; energy and buildings
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vandevyvere, H.; Nevens, F. Lost in Transition or Geared for the S-Curve? An Analysis of Flemish Transition Trajectories with a Focus on Energy Use and Buildings. Sustainability 2015, 7, 2415-2436.

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