The urban contexts are potential scenarios for decisions making process to address sustainability issues.

In this paper we present a new sociotechnical and systemic approach to urban specialization with a policy focus on challenge-led clusters. Specialization patterns are explored through urban sociotechnical systems where networks and organisations act as “transition arenas” in a policy shift to the meso regime level as a new focus of transformative innovation. It is an alternative to the traditional macro/micro split more attuned to systemic rather than singular innovation, and offers a broader definition of innovation, which highlights social, organisational, and business model novelty. It addresses the lack of capacity of different actors across domains to drive process of system analysis as well as problem structuring and envisioning. We argue that a more reflexive and inclusive approach of ‘management as learning’ can be applied to overcome this critical limitation in order to pursue local actions towards pathway creation in emergent environmentally sustainable sectors.

The study provides analytical evidence on inclusive approaches for urban low carbon
strategies as a learning approach to transform the policy agenda in European cities.
We carried out a participatory process to enable cities to articulate better their needs
and challenges through the co-creation of multi-actor clusters in three mayor areas:
energy networks, mobility and buildings. The approach focused in learning processes
by which stakeholders, experts and local authorities share and shape different perspectives and expectations while facilitate different layers of learning regarding sustainability transitions in urban socio-technical systems.

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