Replication Vs Mentoring: Accelerating The Spread of Good Practices for the Low-Carbon Transition

Replication Vs Mentoring: Accelerating The Spread of Good Practices for the Low-Carbon Transition


Department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum Bologna, Italy

Department of Human Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt/M, Germany

1 February 2018
| Citation



The challenge of making cities more sustainable is one of the major constraints that has to be addressed at all political levels. Many innovative planning solutions are now underway in various European cities of any scale. One way of making the transition to low-carbon cities happen is the approach of replicat- ing successful demonstration projects. During several years of participatory observation in European projects and municipal consultancy as well as through qualitative interviews with municipal technical staff working on climate change, we observed that replication is seen by the European Commission as well as national governments as a major solution for speeding up the transition EU wide. The research includes an evaluation of already funded EU projects using a replication approach. It is commonplace that replication is not likely to happen 1:1, because each city has its own challenges. Nonetheless, the process behind replication attempts leads to considerable learning effects. We found out that learning from good examples serves several purposes for managing the transition, e.g. inspiration and motiva- tion of technical staff, mobilisation of stakeholders or political commitment. The paper concludes with an analysis of success factors and barriers for replication drawing on real life examples. The find-  ings recommend making supporting schemes more effective by evolving the concept of unstructured replication towards a mentoring approach based on scientific steering.


climate change, good practice, learning, mentoring, replication, urban sustainability transition.


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