New article: Making the most of community energies – three perspectives on grassroots innovation

DSC02661The final, synthesis article from the CISE research project is published in the journal Environment & Planning A. The Open Access article (pdf) argues for a refocusing around the critical edges that grassroots innovations can bring to sustainability practices. It draws together findings from three years of research into community energy in the UK, as well as recent policy developments and activity in this area. The implications for analysis of grassroots innovation more generally are also considered.

Abstract: Grassroots innovations for sustainability are attracting increasing policy attention. Drawing upon a wide range of empirical research into community energy in the UK, and taking recent support from national government as a case study, we apply three distinct analytical perspectives: strategic niche management, niche policy advocacy, and critical niches. Whilst the first and second perspectives appear to explain policy influence in grassroots innovation adequately, each also shuts out more transformational possibilities. We therefore argue that, if grassroots innovation is to realise its full potential, then we need to also pursue a third, critical niches perspective, and open up debate about more socially transformative pathways to sustainability.