Key to creating a sustainable city is innovation, done in a purposeful way that contributes to our societies, cities and our regions. And that, says Professor Coenen, is where Australia needs to raise its game.
Professor Lars Coenen delivered this year's annual MSSI Oration on Tuesday 20 November. As his research on innovative cities and regions in Europe and Australia shows, Coenen highlights that we urgently need to rethink what innovation is and how to go about it.
Urban Living Labs (ULL) are considered spaces to facilitate experimentation about sustainability solutions. ULL represent sites that allow different urban actors to design, test and learn from socio-technical innovations. However, despite their recent proliferation in the European policy sphere, the underlying processes through which ULL might be able to generate and diffuse new socio-technical configurations beyond their immediate boundaries have been largely disregarded and it remains to be examined how they contribute to urban sustainability transitions.
Creating a sustainable bioeconomy—which takes advantage of unused or underexploited bio-resources, turns them into replacements for fossil-based fuel, energy, and products and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the protection of local environments—is a truly monumental task. It depends on companies entering into an uncertain field where they do not know if their production technologies will work, how high their production costs will be, or if their products will meet a receptive market.