Analyzing international city networks for sustainability: A study of five major Swedish cities
2016 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 134, no part A, 61-69 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article studies five Swedish cities, their membership in international city networks, the different motivations for such membership, and their administrations’ expected and perceived benefits. Particular focus is put on sustainability, environmental technology, and municipal companies as potential beneficiaries of such network membership. This study is motivated by the fact that city networks can potentially contribute to global sustainability goals by accelerating the diffusion of innovations, giving members access to bidirectional information flows, improving the user-producer relationship, and providing legitimacy in the potential recipient regimes.
The study relies on a documentation review, the collection of data from the websites of the studied cities and numerous international city networks, and interviews with city officials responsible for international city networks. It was found that four of the five studied cities are active members of international networks for sustainability, but also that there are large gaps between the two largest cities and the rest when it comes to the number of memberships and the geographical outreach they have through the networks they belong to.
Some city officials claim that it is easier to be active in national networks than in international networks, due to time requirements and coordination among so many members. However, city officials see benefits for their municipal companies when they are members of international networks, and these companies are usually independent when it comes to choosing and administering their memberships. It was found that it is difficult to measure direct benefits from network membership, and link improvements in the studied cities to participation in a particular network (with the exception of groups created for a specific infrastructure project, reported as “networks” by the administrations). In addition, there is no apparent direct correlation between membership and diffusion of environmental solutions from municipal companies. However, the administrations expect indirect benefits such as gaining legitimacy and access to milieus where they can share information and best practices, which could lead to the improvement of both local and global environmental conditions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 134, no part A, 61-69 p.
Legitimacy;Information Flows;Knowledge Sharing;Municipal Companies;Environmental Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121814DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.093ISI: 000382409700007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121814DiVA: diva2:859484
Funding agencies: Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA); Swedish Energy Agency; Tekniska Verken AB2015-10-072015-10-072016-09-27