About the ESRC Research Seminar


Given the recent rapid expansion and mainstreaming of eco-city initiatives, it is timely to explore the political, social and economic governance of eco-city innovation. This includes analysing how effective eco-city development is achieved through the coordination and integration of the work of designers, engineers, planners and policy-makers; what issues of political legitimacy and socio-economic feasibility may arise; and how various stakeholders and users get involved. There have been several cases in recent years where significant governance tensions and challenges have arisen in the design, planning and implementation of eco-city developments. At the same time, there are several examples that provide lessons about the importance of effective coordination across policy sectors and political leadership.


This ESRC Research Seminar series considers eco-cities as a multi-faceted innovation process, rather than a set of fixed forms and outputs. It emphasises the dynamic and co-evolutionary nature of knowledge creation, design, technological development and systems management. It explores how these processes are steered, coordinated, institutionalised and legitimised.

A total of five seminar events were held over a two-year period (2011-2012). The seminars targeted researchers, experts and policy-makers from diverse backgrounds with a mutual interest in exploring various conceptual, analytical and methodological perspectives of governance of eco-city innovation. The project sought to contribute to research capacity building through the support of early career researchers and professionals.


This project was led by a consortium of researchers and experts from seven organisations: Aarhus University, Arup, Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, United Nations Habitat Program, University of Westminster, University of West of England, and Vaxjo City Council. The lead coordinator is Professor Simon Joss, University of Westminster.

Click here for ESRC grant webpage, which lists the project's outputs.

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